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Much ado about nothing: DEQ Sec’y Michael Regan has potential conflicts of interest; so did John Skvarla

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 12:39

Before Republican lawmakers get lathered up over State Ethics Commission findings that Michael Regan, nominee for NC DEQ Secretary has “potential for a conflict of interest,” they should re-read history.  The commission made the same findings in 2013 for former NC DEQ Secretary John Skvarla, nominated by Gov. Pat McCrory. ABC11 reported the findings about Regan today. Unlike Skvarla, though, Regan ...

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In Wilson, media shut out of FERC public listening session on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 10:49

Just 15 minutes after the doors opened last night, the auditorium at Forest Hills Middle School — a public school — in Wilson was beginning to fill with people. But the “public” listening session about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline wasn’t really public. And only select people could listen. Hosted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, ...

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Phil Berger’s idea of an HB2 “compromise”

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 09:10

North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger appears to have rejected Governor Roy Cooper’s latest effort at a compromise on HB2. Despite Cooper’s offer of an actually enforceable bathroom safety law plus a requirement that local officials give a month’s notice before moving to enact any kind of non-discrimination ordinances (two provisions that both the Human ...

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N.C. Supreme Court grants Cooper’s request to halt Elections Board, Ethics Commission merge

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 07:30

The State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission merger has once again been put on hold, this time by the North Carolina’s highest court. The state Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of a Court of Appeals ruling that overturned a lower court’s preliminary injunction on the first part of Senate Bill 4. Gov. Roy ...

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Lawmakers seek to stash revenue away for a rainy day when NC needs an umbrella today

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 15:42

Policymakers seek to make changes to the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Two companion bills – House Bill 7 (HB 7) and Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) – have been introduced that would alter how deposits are made into the fund and that would place restrictions on the ability of policymakers to use the fund. A ...

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3-judge panel rules Senate confirmation hearings for Cooper’s appointees can continue

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 14:35

A three-judge panel has ruled that the North Carolina Senate can move forward with confirmation hearings for Gov. Roy Cooper’s eight appointed cabinet members. The six-page order denies Cooper’s request for a preliminary injunction — which would halt the hearings until the conclusion of his lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the hearings — and dissolves a ...

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No vote Tuesday, but N.C. lawmakers cite urgent need for school funding reform

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 13:45

Members of the House Education Committee may have adjourned Tuesday morning with no vote on assembling a task force to remake North Carolina’s complicated system of public school funding, but lawmakers seemed largely in agreement that urgent action is needed. “At some point, we need stop talking it to death and come up with a ...

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Grover Norquist trying to sell more bad ideas to North Carolina lawmakers

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 12:57

Right-wing anti-government crusader Grover Norquist issued a template opinion piece the other day to North Carolina leaders and voters in support of the tax cut that will be delivered to the wealthiest taxpayers when the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Norquist was a key proponent of our state’s tax cuts in 2013, arriving on the ...

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Editorial blasts Berger-Moore effort to control Cooper’s cabinet

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 08:04

The lead editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal this morning has an on-the-money take on the effort of state legislative leaders to dictate to Governor Roy Cooper who can serve in his own cabinet. As the editorial rightfully observes: “We appreciate the discernment of the three N.C. Superior Court judges who last week issued a temporary ...

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Dallas Woodhouse, HB2 and the GOP’s trans problem

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 16:42

Over the weekend Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, apologized for re-tweeting an article from a right wing website that calls transgender people mentally ill and/or perverts. Woodhouse claimed he did not read the article – titled ““Justice Department Kills Obama’s Pervs-In-The-Girls-Bathroom Rule” – closely enough before sharing it. The reaction ...

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Clerk refuses to name appellate judges who overturned halt on Election Board, Ethics Commission merge

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 13:45

WRAL published an article Friday about the North Carolina Court of Appeals refusing to disclose the names of the three judges who issued an order in an ongoing dispute between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and top GOP lawmakers. That’s despite that fact that Phil Berger Jr., who was elected to the court in November, is the ...

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State report recommends calendar flexibility for low-performing schools

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 12:30

A newly-issued report from North Carolina’s nonpartisan Program Evaluation Division recommends state lawmakers sidestep wholesale changes to the state’s long-debated school calendar. But it does offer at least one major sweetener for public education leaders by advising that lawmakers provide broad local flexibility to districts with low-performing schools, many of them situated in low-income regions of ...

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Environmental news to watch for this week: Endangered Species Act, Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 11:35

Federal energy officials have scheduled three “drop-in sessions” this week for public input on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Atlantic Coast Pipeline, built by Dominion Energy. These sessions won’t be conducted like many traditional public meetings — citizens petitioning their government openly and in front of a crowd. Instead, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will ...

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ICYMI: McCrory defends HB2 on Meet The Press, claims Trump protesters are paid

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 10:25

If you spent most of Sunday outdoors enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, chances are you missed former Governor Pat McCrory’s appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press. In his role as a political pundit, McCrory continued to defend his decision to sign HB2 into law. McCrory telling host Chuck Todd that other cities have legislation similar ...

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Trump’s Supreme Court nominee shouldn’t be allowed to have it both ways

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 07:50

In addition to being a far right ideologue who would, if confirmed, do his utmost to roll back critical constitutional rights, Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch is also, quite apparently, a two-faced politician. How so, you ask? Well, consider  the nominee’s recent reaction to Trump’s latest attack on the judiciary in ...

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Undecided about taking part in Saturday’s 11th annual Moral March? Then just listen to its founder

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 23:36

Reverend William Barber, president of the NC NAACP and Moral Monday movement, recently discussed with Policy Watch why North Carolinians should participate in 11th annual march on downtown Raleigh. Click below to hear that interview. http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/News-and-Views-for-2-5-2017-SEGMENT-TWO.mp3 Saturday’s March begins at 9:00 a.m. at Shaw University.

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NC’s revenue challenge persists despite latest revenue forecast

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 19:08

The ongoing economic recovery has bypassed many North Carolinians and communities across the state. This isn’t surprising news, but it is the reality that we should keep in mind when thinking about how to use $552.5 million in public revenues that are expected to be collected above state’s official’s initial projection. This revenue forecast is ...

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Judges deliberating halting Senate decisions on Cooper’s appointees until lawsuit resolution

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 17:33

A three-judge panel did not decide from the bench Friday whether to temporarily block the Senate from making decisions on Gov. Roy Cooper’s cabinet appointees. The panel issued a temporary restraining order earlier this week but heard arguments Friday about whether to issue a preliminary injunction for 25 days until the overall case is resolved. Cooper’s ...

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This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 14:30

  1. Despite GOP questioning, class-size legislation advances past House budget committee Despite suggestions from some GOP members that local school districts may be misusing funded positions, a House budget committee gave its approval Thursday to legislation allaying a looming class-size crisis for North Carolina school districts. Policy Watch reported in November that last year’s ...

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