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Updated: 2 hours 55 min ago

The lowdown on NC’s new fracking rules

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:09
As you may have heard, North Carolina’s Mining and Energy Commission held the last in a series of meetings last Friday during which they considered public feedback on the draft fracking rules. Despite having received over 200,000 public comments over the last few months, the Commission only made a few little changes to the rules. ...

Disastrous 2013 tax cuts continue to undermine, damage public services

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 08:08
It seems like a long time ago, but it was just the beginning of last year that North Carolina’s newly-elected governor promised state “tax reform” that would be “revenue neutral.” In other words, while the Guv was promising tax cuts, he was also calling for tax modernization that would enhance revenues in other areas — ...

Concerns rise about a looming shortage of NC public school teachers (video)

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:34
If you missed last week’s Fitzsimon File on North Carolina’s looming teacher shortage, make time this week to listen to Policy Watch’s recent radio interview with Keith Poston, executive director of the Public School Forum.  Poston discusses North Carolina’s troubling teacher turnover rate and how to retain our best educators. For a preview of Poston’s ...

Petition drive launched to save life of schizophrenic death row inmate

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:45
It’s tragically absurd that people have been forced to resort to this, but the family, friends and advocates helping Texas death row inmate Scott Panetti have launched a petition drive to help promote his effort to gain clemency. The following description of Mr. Panetti’s situation comes from the good folks at the Texas Defender Service: ...

UNC sued for use of race in admissions

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 11:24
Edward Blum must have found his plaintiffs. Blum is the retired stockbroker who, with the financial backing of several conservative donors, has been pumping named plaintiffs into some recent high-profile civil rights challenges that have landed before the U.S. Supreme Court — namely, the Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case and the Shelby County ...

Greensboro veteran dies from injuries following hotel attack

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 10:49
The man found in a Greensboro hotel beaten and with burns on over 50 percent of his body has died from his injuries. Stephen Patrick White, 46, died Saturday from the burns and injuries he sustained Nov. 9, when police believe Garry Gupton, 26, attacked White in a hotel room, according to QNotes, a Charlotte-based ...

Beasley – Robinson Supreme Court race goes to a recount

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 10:25
Winston-Salem attorney Mike Robinson, who challenged sitting Justice Cheri Beasley for her seat on the state Supreme Court, has asked the state Board of Elections for a recount of the votes cast in that race, according to the board’s public information office, Josh Lawson. The latest posted results from the SBOE show Beasley ahead by ...

Prof speaks out: Time to fight back against attacks on higher ed

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 08:48
In case you missed it over the weekend, ECU English professor Robert Siegel made a compelling case in Raleigh’s News & Observer for a more energetic resistance from the higher education community against the sustained attack being waged by the state’s conservative political leadership. In particular, Siegel faults UNC administrators — saying they’ve “confused access ...

Sen. Soucek sees marriage equality as “special right”

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 07:18
Sen. Dan Soucek seems to think that allowing same-sex couples to get married is not about equality, but is giving them special rights—whatever that means. Here’s what Soucek told the Avery Journal over the weekend. “I think the most disturbing thing about this is how it’s being stretched to not give some people fair privileges, ...

Ethics forms will be online in 2015, with personal contact information withheld

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 15:47
The State Ethics Commission will put a searchable database of economic interest forms back online in 2015, though without including the personal contact information of filers. The Commission voted Friday to approve an amended version of the form – which doesn’t include home address and contact information – which will be made available  in 2015 ...

NC Unemployment Insurance Debt Paid Down by Workers

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:39
North Carolina’s unemployment insurance debt is being paid down, but a little recognized fact is that it is workers who have contributed the most towards its repayment not employers. The debt itself was a result of the historic job loss of the Great Recession and the tax cuts that were provided to employers during good ...

Seats going fast for next week’s election look-back, December’s anniversary event

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 10:19
Tickets are going fast for two upcoming NC Policy Watch events that you won’t want to miss. First is next week’s election post mortem Crucial Conversation: “What happened? Why? What now?” featuring Chris Fitzsimon, Dan Blue III, Tom Jensen and Carol Teal. Here are the details: When: Wednesday, November 19, at noon — Box lunches ...

Study shows high percentage of Hispanic children in NC are uninsured

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 09:21
As enrollment begins again, on Saturday, for Affordable Care Act health insurance, it is crucial to note that an important population—children—are still often uninsured. More than five million children in the United States lack any form of health insurance. In North Carolina, this is particularly a problem within the Hispanic population. The state ranks among ...

Berger and Tillis: Governor’s lawsuit ‘costly’ and ‘ignores history’

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 22:38
Governor Pat McCrory and two of his predecessors have filed suit against the General Assembly, arguing that their creation of various commissions usurps the authority of the governor’s office and violates the separation of powers clause in the North Carolina Constitution. “These commissions make government less accountable to the will of the people. Citizens and ...

Charter Day School relents, turns over salary data to the state

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 16:43
A group of Wilmington-area charter schools has given up on its fight to keep secret the salary information of its employees. On Thursday, Charter Day turned over the data requested more than a month ago by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, allowing the management company to be removed from “financial probationary status” which had ...

State’s newly privatized economic development group gets new board members

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 16:24
The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina released the names of the 17 board members Friday that will oversee the state’s new privatized job recruitment system. The partnership officially launched in October when the state contracted out much of its job recruitment and tourism division to a private group. A central piece of Republican Gov. ...

Powerful report underscores success of Clean Water Act and efforts to save it from corporate polluters

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 14:59
The good people at Environment North Carolina and their national allies released a powerful new report today that’s worth your time to check out. It’s called “Waterways Restored: The Clean Water Act’s Impact on 15 American Rivers, Lakes and Bays” and it does at least two extremely important things: 1)  It demonstrates the amazing success ...

Bar Association president blasts judicial secrecy in the state’s courts

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:49
Remember the “Star Chamber” bill, signed into law last summer by Gov. Pat McCrory? That’s the bill rushed into last minute passage giving the justices of the state Supreme Court the sole authority to discipline judges — including themselves – and allowing them to decide if, when and who to discipline in secret. Aside from support from ...

Greensboro man arrested after victim he met at gay bar found seriously beaten, burned

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:24
A Greensboro man is in jail facing charges of seriously beating and burning a man he met earlier at a gay nightclub. Garry Joseph Gupton, a 26-year-old Greensboro water resources employee, is facing a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflicting serious injury, according to jail records and  ...

Selling off our coast to oil and gas companies? Editorial blasts McCrory team’s secrecy

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:04
This morning’s Winston-Salem Journal is on the mark in decrying the McCrory administration’s inexcusable and all-too-predictable secrecy in discussions surrounding oil and gas development along the North Carolina coast. As the editorial notes: When it comes to North Carolina’s coast and processes that affect all of us, the McCrory administration needs to stop meeting behind ...

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