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Updated: 48 min 42 sec ago

ICYMI: Tom Jensen discusses where things stand in 2016

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 13:15
With the 2016 election campaign already well underway and early voting for the March 15 North Carolina primary scheduled to commence March 3, Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling catches us to speed on where things stand and what’s likely to happen both on the state and national level.

Costly tax cuts drain resources for investments in NC’s education pipeline

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 12:50
A report released today by Budget & Tax Center highlights that state support for early childhood development, public schools, and public colleges and universities remains below investment levels prior to the Great Recession. This trend will persist under the current budget passed by state lawmakers that North Carolinians must live through until July of 2017. ...

BTC Brief: Tax cuts hurt education for all

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 12:10
Tax cuts in North Carolina’s biennium budget will cost the state $841.8 million through June 2017, according to a new report from the N.C. Budget & Tax Center. Gutting these funds would deal a heavy blow to support for programs in areas like early childhood development and public schools. Check out the full brief here.

The latest, you-can’t-make-this-up action by NC’s so-called environmental regulator

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 07:10
It’s one thing for the state’s conservative advocacy “think tanks” to be virtual subsidiaries of the fossil fuel industry and plutocrats like the Koch Brothers, but it’s  distressingly clear these days that the same can also be said for the state agency leaders whose supposed job is to protect the environment. How else to explain ...

June Atkinson calls for 10 percent salary increase for teachers

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 14:43
It’s a long, long way from action on the N.C. General Assembly floor, but N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson today called for a 10 percent raise for all teachers in North Carolina. “We need to get at the core reasons why teachers leave the classroom or go to another state,” said Atkinson. It’s ...

Community Leaders to Host Vigil Outside of Wake Detention Center in Protest of Immigrant Raids

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 12:00
Several immigrant rights groups across the Triangle will stage a vigil this afternoon to protest recent immigrant raids. This event is one of several actions occurring simultaneously across the Southeast. In Washington, DC members of the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN) will be delivering a petition of 66,000 signatures asking President Obama to stop the raids. ...

Watch today’s Crucial Conversation luncheon with pollster Tom Jensen online

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 10:23
If you can’t make today’s Crucial Conversation luncheon with pollster Tom Jensen, be sure to check the NC Policy Watch twitter feed a little after 12:00 noon as we hope to broadcast the event live via Periscope for our followers.

Convicted felon and current probationer to keynote Pope-Civitas event

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 08:45
You’ve got to hand it to the Pope-Civitas Institute. The group is not afraid to do whatever it takes to advance the right-wing message — even if it means setting new standards in gall and hypocrisy. The latest exhibit: It was announced yesterday that the keynote speaker as this year’s “Conservative Leadership Conference” will be ...

Five fast facts about this week’s Obamacare open enrollment (video)

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 05:30
This Sunday (January 31st) is the deadline to enroll for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace. Nearly 570,000 North Carolinians have  signed up so far for coverage. That compares to nearly 212,000 South Carolinians who have signed up. Nationally, about 8.8 million consumers have enrolled  for health coverage through Nine ...

States asks SCOTUS to block Clean Power Plan

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 16:49
Twenty-nine states and state agencies, including the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block enforcement of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The move follows the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s refusal on Friday to enter such a stay. The petition, filed this afternoon, is here. ###

For Planned Parenthood, turnabout is fair play

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 15:52
The irony was lost on no one late yesterday when a Texas grand jury — initially impaneled to investigate Planned Parenthood — handed down indictments instead of two individuals responsible for undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials illegally trafficking in fetal tissue. Here’s more from Ross Ramsey at the Texas Tribune: Some people thought ...

N.C. Association of Educators hits back at State Controller’s office

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 13:42
The N.C. Association of Educators, one of the leading teacher advocacy groups in the state, is hitting back against the state’s latest attempt to revoke the group’s ability to deduct dues from members’ payroll checks. NCAE President Rodney Ellis, a frequent critic of the N.C. General Assembly’s education policies, accused the Office of the State ...

North Carolina school to spend half-million to fix coal ash-filled playing field

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 10:43
And in perhaps this week’s most bizarre news: The Wilmington Star-News reported Sunday that school officials in Brunswick County, a rural county south of Wilmington, will be spending nearly a half-million dollars to clean up a middle school playing field that sits atop coal ash. In case you’ve been living under a rock in the last ...

Wake Forest researchers: NC should close the Medicaid gap now

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 09:17
Still more experts have weighed in in favor of following the lead of dozens of other states and expanding Medicaid in North Carolina. A new report by a pair of Wake Forest University professors of health law says that North Carolina leaders are making a mistake by refusing to act. Click here to read “Medicaid ...

Flint water crisis: A model for conservative privatizers?

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 08:01
It’s an open secret that many modern American conservatives want, as one of their ideological leaders put it with horrific and violent imagery a few years back, to shrink government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” And here in North Carolina, we can attest that the plan is fully ...

Hilarious video exposes North Carolina’s rigged electoral system

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 16:07
The good people at Common Cause North Carolina distributed this very funny video today about the outrage of North Carolina’s gerrymandered political map. Please enjoy and share widely.  

Education advocates call for end to test-based teaching evaluation

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 12:15
Here is a conversation worth following at both the state and national level. Following last year’s Every Student Succeeds Act, an update of 2002’s No Child Left Behind Act, which imposed rigorous standards and accountability measures for struggling schools, state schools now have the freedom to do away with some federal oversight measures that were ...

Seven things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 10:50
Voter ID – The challenge to the state’s voter photo ID law heads to trial in Winston-Salem federal court today. The latest arguments come about six months after the court wrapped up the trial concerning most of the challenged provisions of the so-called “monster voting law.” Readers might also remember last week, U.S. District Judge ...

Outgoing Reynolds Foundation director authors devastating takedown of NC’s school grading system

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 10:10
In case you missed it, the best op-ed of the weekend was written for the Charlotte Observer by outgoing Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Executive Director Leslie Winner. In “A school that’s trying, succeeding – and gets a D,” Winner offers a devastating takedown of North Carolina’s absurd school grading system (i.e. the one that Senator ...

Editorial: McCrory must clarify changing story re: “pay-to-play” meeting with prison contractor

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 08:06
This morning’s “must read” is the lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer. It concerns the nagging “Keith gate” story surrounding Gov. Pat McCrory, his Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry and the allegations regarding the demands of one of his big campaign contributors. Here’s the N&O: “Frank Perry, the former senior FBI agent ...