NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 57 min ago

What is Dallas Woodhouse really afraid of?

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 07:16
The big story in North Carolina today is the blatantly partisan effort of state Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse (pictured at left in his Americans for Prosperity days) to suppress voter turnout in the November election. As Colin Campbell of Raleigh’s News & Observer reported yesterday afternoon, Woodhouse has sent directives to all of ...

Great news from Greensboro as city adopts paid parental leave policy for city workers

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:49
There was great news in Greensboro last night as North Carolina’s third largest city moved into the 21st Century (the 20th in other advanced parts of the world) in an important area of public policy: leave for new parents. The good people at Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, report: Greensboro City Council ...

Expert: Why McCrory’s (very expensive) lawyer faces an uphill battle at the Supreme Court

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 10:56
U.S. Supreme Court chronicler Ian Millhiser has another fascinating post at Think Progress on the “emergency” appeal that Gov. Pat McCrory filed 17 days after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s discriminatory “monster” voter suppression law. As Millhiser notes in “North Carolina Hires One Of America’s Most Expensive Attorneys To Defend ...

It’s past time to halt program that subsidizes discrimination against LGBT North Carolinians

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 08:43
A few weeks back, Chris Fitzsimon was the first commentator in the state to call attention to the fact that North Carolina’s badly misnamed “Opportunity Scholarship” (i.e. school vouchers) program is funneling public money to private religious schools that discriminate against LGBT children and/or kids whose parents are LGBT. Happily, since that time, mainstream news ...

New analysis: NC teacher pay still mired near the bottom (state-by-state chart)

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 15:07
The most recent edition of the NC Budget and Tax Center’s “Prosperity Watch” feature by BTC Director Alexandra Siroat has more sobering news on teacher pay in North Carolina: Prosperity Watch: N.C. teacher pay still lagging as they go back to school As children, families, teachers and communities prepare to head back to school, the ...

Blatant voter suppression efforts continue as local conservative officials work to limit early voting

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 11:58
Despite somewhat encouraging results in Guilford County last week, efforts by conservatives around the state to limit early voting in the fall election continue apace. This is from today’s Charlotte Observer: “Despite pleas not to curtail early voting, Mecklenburg County elections officials voted Monday to cut the overall number of hours from the 2012 election ...

What a way to live: Raleigh mall panic highlights the terror (and costs) of a society awash in guns

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 09:27
News outlets are reporting today that there is still no definitive evidence that gunshots were actually fired this past weekend at a Raleigh mall. This is from Raleigh’s News & Observer: “Police are still trying to determine what caused the ‘loud noise’ reported as gunshots at Crabtree Valley Mall on Saturday afternoon and are asking ...

McCrory appeals to Supreme Court to restore voter ID ahead of fall elections

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 06:39
Governor Pat McCrory has formally requested U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts stay a ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and reinstate North Carolina’s Voter ID law. “Allowing the Fourth Circuit’s ruling to stand creates confusion among voters and poll workers and it disregards our successful rollout of Voter ID in the ...

Parents, teachers: NC state spending not meeting needs for school supplies

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 16:40
Last week, we shared an op-ed from a Wake County teacher bemoaning the increasing financial burden for North Carolina teachers who, lacking proper funding from the state, oftentimes spend their own cash to provide for their pupils. Today, The News & Observer is wading into the issue for parents and teachers as many students prepare to ...

Supreme Court expert: It’s as if NC lawmakers “were trying to get caught” on voting rights

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 15:20
Ian Millhiser, the extremely knowledgeable Supreme Court observer/analyst at the Center for American Progress, has some advice for the lawyers representing Gov. Pat McCrory and the other defenders of the state’s voter suppression law that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a couple of weeks ago. This is from his new post: “Is ...

Panel of scientists, including several from N.C., disagree with EPA’s rosy fracking report

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 14:24
More than two dozen scientists, including several from N.C. State and UNC Chapel Hill, have criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 draft fracking report, stating it downplays the risks that horizontal drilling poses to local water supplies. This is conclusion of the EPA’s independent science panel, which recently released its own report  asking the agency to incorporate its findings, according ...

The ultimate insult? N&O blasts Tillis as “cable’s friend”

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:40
As we reported here last week, a federal appeals court in Ohio issued an unfortunate ruling on the matter of local governments establishing public broadband networks that compete with cable monopolies. There’s still hope that further appeals could overturn the decision, but for now the cable company giants have won a big victory and one ...

Six things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 09:29
Stumping across North Carolina – Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine will keep the intensity of the 2016 election season high with visits this week in Buncombe and Cumberland counties. Kaine will be in Asheville today promoting Hillary Clinton’s economic plan with a 6:30 p.m. rally at the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center.(Doors ...

Best editorial of the weekend: Investigate McCrory administration’s water safety scandal

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 07:53
The Winston-Salem Journal minced few words this weekend in an editorial calling for an independent investigation of the McCrory administration’s handing of the ongoing scandal surrounding water safety near coal ash facilities. Here’s the excellent conclusion: “In a perfect world, McCrory, a former employer of Duke Energy, would initiate that independent investigation to dispel concerns ...

Rep. Mike Hager resigns; GOP to meet to suggest replacement

Sat, 08/13/2016 - 12:22
  The House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Hager (R-Burke, Rutherford) has resigned just three months before the November election. A former Duke Energy employee before he took office, Hager worked on several bills that favored fossil fuels and Duke, in particular. A three-term House member, introduced a bill that would have repealed the state’s renewable portfolio standard. He ...

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 14:21
1. McCrory’s determined efforts to make it harder for certain people to vote After listening to Gov. Pat McCrory talk about the recent decision by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn much of the voter suppression law he signed in 2013 you are left with only two explanations. Either he hasn’t read the ...

Who’s who at the EnergySure Coalition, backers of the Atlantic pipeline headed for North Carolina

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 12:31
  While North Carolina is rightfully focused on the coal ash scandal, another environmental tug-of-war is strengthening in some of the state’s poorest areas. Co-owned by Duke Energy, Dominion, PSNC and AGL Resources, The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would ship natural gas 550 miles, from the fracking hotspot of West Virginia through sensitive, federally owned land in Virginia, and then into eastern ...

Teacher op-ed blasts legislature for lack of funding for classroom supplies

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 12:12
In the coming weeks, students are preparing to return to the classroom in schools using the traditional school calendar. And, according to this Raleigh teacher’s op-ed in The News & Observer this week, getting students ready for “back-to-school” in North Carolina  is more of a challenge than ever. The author, Yolanda Barham, is a first-grade ...

Editorials criticize McCrory administration over clash with scientists

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 07:49
Multiple newspaper editorial pages are calling out the McCrory administration yet again this morning — this time over its troubling actions on the matter of drinking water polluted with coal ash chemicals and the interactions with scientists Ken Rudo and Megan Davies. The Fayetteville Observer: “On Thursday, McCrory was in Fayetteville, opening a new segment ...

Democracy advocates: Nonpartisan redistricting is essential in light of latest court ruling

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 16:50
The good government advocates at Democracy North Carolina issued the following statement this afternoon in response to today’s ruling by a three-judge panel that North Carolina legislators unconstitutionally used race when they drew legislative boundaries for state House and Senate members. Click here to read the ruling. “Today’s federal ruling overturning North Carolina’s racially-gerrymandered legislative ...

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