NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 31 min ago

Obama gives fourth graders a year’s worth of free admission to National Parks

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 10:34
It’s been a very cold week in North Carolina, and many families are likely going a bit stir crazy now that school has been out for nearly a week in most locales thanks to an ice storm and record-breaking cold weather. So, you might be thinking: when can we get the kids to the park?! ...

As budget shortfall grows, legislative leaders try to spin their way out of it

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 09:23
Faced with the hard reality of a growing state budget shortfall resulting from their ill-advised tax giveaways to wealthy individuals and profitable corporations, state legislative leaders have apparently opted to try to spin their way out of the mess. House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam was the latest to try out a little song and ...

Boger, Nichol remind us of why they are heroes (and why the Right is so fearful of their criticism)

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 15:22
In case you haven’t yet read them yet, do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read the statements issued yesterday by UNC Law School Dean Jack Boger and Professor Gene Nichol in response to the the recommendation of a special committee of the UNC Board of Governors to close the UNC Center ...

Watch UNC BOG member Steven Long criticize Chapel Hill-based Center for Civil Rights

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 13:35
Yesterday’s meeting of a special committee of the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors included passage of a much-awaited report about centers and institutes, with recommendations that a poverty-focused center run by an outspoken law professor be shut down. You can read my full report about the recommendations here, Though the closure of the ...

For criminal justice reform, the left and right try working together

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 10:45
Add reforming the country’s criminal justice system to the list of things that make strange bedfellows. In an announcement expected today, the Center for American Progress and Koch Industries — arch enemies in the political arena — will disclose their backing of the newly-formed Coalition for Public Safety, an organization designed to launch “a multimillion-dollar campaign on ...

Daily Beast politics writer lampoons NC Ethics Commission’s approval of lawmaker-lobbyist sex

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 10:33
The national embarrassments just keep on a comin’ for North Carolina.  Political writer Olivia Nuzzi of the national website The Daily Beast is the latest to make light of how far things have sunk in the Old North State with this column entitled: “North Carolina Lobbyists Can Officially Screw Politicians Legally.” As Nuzzi explains: Yes, ...

Governor blinks, puts politics and bureaucracy ahead of human lives in the worst decision of his governorship

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 07:29
Governor Pat McCrory announced a disastrous and destructive decision yesterday in an interview with an AP reporter. When asked whether he would recommend closing the insurance gap that currently leaves a half-million North Carolinians too poor to qualify for Obamcare subsidies and too well-off to qualify for Medicaid, the Guv said: “I will not make ...

Poverty Center one of three groups on UNC Board of Governors’ chopping block

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 14:47
A committee for the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors issued a much-anticipated draft report on centers and institutes Wednesday, recommending that three centers on university campuses be shut down in the near future. The report also recommends tightening existing university system policies banning political participation and limiting advocacy work. Among the three recommended ...

The North Carolina labor market needs real solutions

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 12:40
The House is poised to to introduce an “economic development” bill that they claim will boost the economy, but almost certainly will fail to provide real solutions to the lack of available jobs and long-term economic mobility needed by North Carolinians. While the full details of the bill have not been released, reports suggest it ...

Duke Energy hints at $100 million settlement of coal ash investigation

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 11:34
In case you missed it, WRAL is reporting that Duke Energy disclosed negotiations with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh for a possible $100 million settlement of the pending coal ash criminal investigation that office is conducting. Per WRAL: The details were contained in an earnings report filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. ...

Rachel Maddow to Sen Jeff Jackson: “Get back to work!” (video)

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 09:52
NC Policy Watch wasn’t the only one who noticed Sen. Jeff Jackson’s “takeover” of the Republican-led state legislature during Tuesday’s inclement weather. Jackson’s social media checklist caught the attention of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow as well. And with many of the legislative committed meetings postponed this morning (and presumably many members of the leadership staying home ...

Lt. Governor Forest pushes “Koch”amamie teacher pay plan

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 08:56
You’ve got to hand it to Lt. Governor Dan Forest. The Lite Guv is clearly the most conservative statewide elected official in North Carolina in decades — especially when it comes to social issues, where in his less-well-guarded moments, he can make Pat Robertson sound like a secular progressive. And yet, despite this, Forest is ...

As lawmakers await the big thaw, a ‘must read’ on NC incentives (with audio)

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 05:30
For a second day in a row, inclement weather has cancelled numerous appropriation committee meetings that had been scheduled for today at the General Assembly. Legislators, like most of us, are waiting it out at home until temperatures can rise and clear away the icy patches on bridges and roadways. With a few extra hours ...

Today on NCPW: One man stands between poor NC’ians and health care, plus McCrory’s weird claim about workers’ comp

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 15:08
In case you missed them while scraping your windshield earlier today, there are two new lead stories  over on the main Policy Watch site today that will be worth a few minutes of your time. This morning’s Weekly Briefing is an open letter to the one man in North Carolina politics with the clout (and, ...

With the N.C. legislature shut down, one Dem. lawmaker takes over

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:14
State Sen. Jeff Jackson managed to make it into work this morning —  one of the only people to do so after ice and snow shut down the Republican-led state legislature. The Charlotte Democrat, an attorney with less than a term under his belt, unexpectedly found himself the most powerful person in the building. He ...

Editorial: Seniors, poor need relief from NC tax “reform”

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 10:50
In case you missed it yesterday in all the hubbub surrounding the winter weather, the Wilmington Star-News had a fine editorial critiquing North Carolina’s misguided 2013 tax “reforms” and highlighting some hardships it has brought on: “Once again this year, Rep. Rick Catlin is sponsoring legislation to help senior citizens who two years ago lost ...

While NC shivers, slips and slides, state DOT Secretary Tata plugs his novel

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 08:31
One would have to think that some state officials are having second thoughts this morning about laying off 500 or so Department of Transportation employees as the state Senate proposed last week. As one look out the window will remind all of us, these are the kinds of days on which it’s hard to have ...

Texas federal judge blocks Obama immigration action

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 07:04
A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, saying that the president failed to adhere to basic administrative procedures when issuing orders that would have provided sweeping relief to as many as five million undocumented immigrants. The order, which came a little before midnight from U.S. District Judge ...

Results of UNC centers and institutes review could be revealed soon

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 14:32
The targets of a controversial review of centers and institutes in the University of North Carolina system may find out this week if they’ll be on the chopping block. A UNC Board of Governors’ committee will hold a public meeting at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the UNC General Administration building in Chapel Hill to discuss ...

School voucher hearing at Supreme Court postponed

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 13:24
For those thinking about attending tomorrow’s scheduled state Supreme Court has oral arguments on the state’s school vouchers law, the court has rescheduled until NEXT Tuesday due to the inclement weather. let’s hope the justices spend some of their time reading op-eds like this one that ran in Greensboro News Record over the weekend. As ...

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