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Updated: 20 min 17 sec ago

Senate committee to meet first about judicial redistricting, not merit selection, two-year judicial terms

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 11:16

The agenda for the Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting leaves out two key points Republicans have either recently discussed or threatened: merit selection and a proposed constitutional amendment to shorten all judges and justices terms to two years. The committee will meet for the first time today at 1 p.m. in room ...

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More encouraging electoral news: Maine votes overwhelmingly to expand Medicaid

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 10:10

In case you missed it, yet another important piece of good news from last night’s elections came from the state of Maine. This is from an article in this morning’s New York Times: “Voters in Maine decided on Tuesday to expand access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, making the state the first in ...

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Progressive resistance up, Trumpism down in Tuesday’s election results

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 08:01

The verdict being delivered by national political analysts is that yesterday’s election results — particularly in the closely contested state of Virginia — represent a sharp rebuke of Donald Trump and his divisive policies. Here’s the Associated Press: “Seizing his party’s first major Trump-era victory, Democrat Ralph Northam beat back a charge from Republican Ed ...

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Oil and gas commission will meet (for real) on Thursday — oddly, at the same as the Energy Policy Council

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 14:02

The state Oil and Gas Commission, whose previous meeting derailed because it was illegally convened, is scheduled to meet Thursday in Sanford. However, there remain some statutory questions about who called the meeting and if they did so in writing, as required. The meeting will be held at the McSwain Education & Agricultural Center, 2420 ...

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Controversial virtual charter school seeks funding boost, permanent status

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 12:58

The head of a controversial virtual charter school wants North Carolina lawmakers to funnel more cash into the program and clear operations beyond the 2019 sunset of its four-year pilot program. Nathan Currie, superintendent at N.C. Connections Academy, pitched his K-11 program—which is affiliated with international, for-profit education giant Pearson—to state lawmakers and charter school ...

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Dr. Jesse White: Partisan takeover of Board of Governors risks disaster for UNC

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:30

In case you missed it, there was an excellent op-ed this past weekend in Raleigh’s News Observer about the far right’s hostile takeover of the UNC Board of Governors by veteran academic and public servant, Dr. Jesse L. White, Jr. In “‘Partisan creep’ brings UNC to the edge,” White, a native of Mississippi who came ...

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NC Court of Appeals OKs Senate confirmation hearings for Cooper nominees

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:28

The North Carolina Senate has the power to hold confirmation hearings to approve Gov. Roy Cooper’s Cabinet nominees, according to the state Court of Appeals. A three-judge appellate panel on Tuesday published a favorable opinion to lawmakers in Cooper v. Berger, a separation of powers lawsuit over the Senate’s right to have a say in ...

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Nov. 15 Policy Watch luncheon to examine the war on the courts

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 07:34

Crucial Conversation – North Carolina’s independent judiciary: Will it survive the current partisan battle? Register here There is an unprecedented war underway over the future of the North Carolina’s judiciary. For some time now, conservative supermajorities in the General Assembly have been advancing legislative proposals to dramatically remake the state courts in a number of ...

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UNC Police officer went undercover to gather information on “Silent Sam” protests

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 16:00

Last week, a group of students and faculty protesting the “Silent Sam” Confederate statue on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus told the UNC Board of Governors they have endured mocking, racial slurs and threats as they demonstrate in front of the statue. In and around the same time they were speaking to the board, they also ...

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Democracy NC compiles responses to legislature’s attempts to change the courts

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 15:13

The North Carolina General Assembly has honed in this year on changing the makeup of the state’s judiciary, and a lot of folks have had a lot to say about it. Democracy North Carolina recently compiled a seven-page document that highlights responses from judges, Bar leaders and other judicial stakeholders. “Politicians in Raleigh have tried ...

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WRAL: State schools superintendent complains of “disturbing” spending at Department of Public Instruction

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 14:00

The head of North Carolina’s public school administration says he’s found “disturbing” spending within the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), according to a WRAL report Monday. Johnson, a Republican elected last year, took aim at DPI expenditures following suggestions by State Board of Education members that he was lax in defending the K-12 agency from ...

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Study: Yes, your vote really can make a difference in Tuesday’s elections (Audio)

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 13:30

If you think your vote won’t matter in tomorrow’s local elections and are planning on staying home, think again. A recent study from the nonpartisan voting rights group Democracy North Carolina shows that in a surprising number of cases a handful of votes can determine who wins or loses, especially in odd- year municipal elections. ...

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House GOP tax plan: Benefit for richest 1% in North Carolina grows over time

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 12:45

A 50-state analysis of the House tax plan released last week reveals that in North Carolina the wealthiest 1 percent of North Carolinians will receive the greatest share of the total tax cut in year one and their share would grow through 2027. Further, the value of the tax cut would decline over time for ...

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AFL-CIO formally joins fight against climate change

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 12:00

Good news from the good folks at the NC League of Conservation Voters: Climate change action gains key ally Thanks to collaboration between citizen conservationists, labor, and other progressive voices, action to address climate change has just gained a very important ally. At its annual national convention in late October, the AFL-CIO, the nation’s leading ...

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Texas A.G. is wrong: We can’t give into despair after latest assault weapon massacre

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 07:15

The temptation in the aftermath of America’s latest horrific assault weapon mass murder is to simply throw up one’s hands and/or duck for cover. With yet another 26 men, women and children lying dead this morning at the hands of deranged man wielding one of the tens of  thousands of assault weapons that infest our ...

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House Majority Leader alleges court corruption in redistricting case at GOP fundraiser

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 16:04

House Majority Leader John Bell IV alleged corruption in a recent racial gerrymandering case at a GOP fundraiser in Goldsboro. The event was hosted Oct. 24 by the Lenoir-Wayne Republican Men’s Club at the Walnut Creek Country Club. Bell spoke about a number of topics, but notably indicated that he felt like lawmakers would “lose” ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 15:04

1. Worried about environmental damage, Pleasant Garden residents gear up to fight a proposed granite mine Gerald Hall stood in his farm field, where the collards nearly reached his knees. On about three and a half acres between them, Hall and one of his brothers grow myriad greens, like Swiss chard and kale, and in ...

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UNC Board of Governors discuss hiring own employees

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 14:02

The second day of the UNC Board of Governors’ meetings in Chapel Hill was fairly tame Friday. A long day of committee meetings Thursday and the desire to adjourn and begin the weekend seemed to keep members from lingering too long on any one report or discussion. But the seeds of the recently contentious board’s ...

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With Robeson elementary mulling closure, N.C.’s Innovative School District left with no schools to take over?

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 13:56

The Robeson County elementary school tapped for North Carolina’s controversial Innovative School District (ISD) is likely to close, the county’s school board chair tells Policy Watch, potentially leaving the state’s new charter takeover program without a school to take over in its first year. “The state has failed us,” said Peggy Wilkins-Chavis, chairwoman of the ...

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Conservative business leaders to UNC Board of Governors: Let Spellings do her job

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:34

It seems hard to imagine, but UNC president Margaret Spellings — a conservative Republican who served as U.S. Education Secretary under President George W. Bush and often raised the ire of progressives in that position — is not enough of a true believer for many of the hard right ideologues who are increasingly dominant on ...

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