NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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NC congressman: EPA employees should not be allowed to fly on business trips

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 12:45
Ho hum, another day, another embarrassing action from a member of North Carolina’s mostly reactionary congressional delegation. Natasha Geling at Think Progress has the details on the latest nutty proposal — this one from Congressman Richard Hudson (pictured at left) of suburban Charlotte: “Congress is getting ready to dole out funds for the Environmental Protection ...

Lawsuit against State Senator’s farm highlights sadly typical treatment of farmworkers

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 11:57
In a recent article in Durham’s Indy Week (“Can N.C. Farmers Mistreat Their Guest Workers with Impunity?”), author Paul Blest highlighted a lawsuit brought by seven farmworkers against their employer (State Sen. Brent Jackson of Sampson County) and used it as a starting point to discuss some of the injustices that are often visited upon ...

Responding to the violence: The best editorials of the weekend

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 07:00
Editorial writers and columnists  tried to do what they could over the weekend to give voice to the collective sense of anger and grief that so many caring and thinking people feel right now with respect to the senseless and destructive racism and violence that are plaguing our nation. Here were three essays that stood ...

WATCH: Congressional Black Caucus calls for vote on gun control following police shootings

Sat, 07/09/2016 - 10:07
The Congressional Black Caucus, led by North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield, called on Congress Friday to take action on gun control legislation. Their emotional appeal follows a week of tragic, police-involved shootings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. Watch the full press conference here on C-SPAN. “If we fail to act, this will be ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 14:30
1. Making the grade –  Which education bills passed, which got held back in the short session Asked to sum up the 2016 short session of the N.C. General Assembly, Mark Jewell, president of the N.C. Association of Educators, takes very little time. “Disappointing,” he grouses, roughly three days after state lawmakers wrapped up the ...

Vigils planned statewide in aftermath of police shootings

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 14:00
Vigils will be held across the state this weekend to mark the recent fatal shootings of Philando Castile in St. Paul,  Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and five police officers in Dallas. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and we hope you will contribute to this post as other events are scheduled: In ...

Responding to Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 13:38
The tragedies of Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas serve as the latest reminders to all of us that we are our brother’s keeper, and that when we fail to talk with, understand, and care for one another, our prejudices and anger take over. The result is all too foreseeable. With remarkably easy access to ...

N.C. State Board of Education “moving with deliberate speed” on achievement school districts

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 11:31
Members of the State Board of Education indicated in a conference call Thursday that, given Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to approve a controversial bill authorizing a for-profit, charter takeover of five low-performing schools, they intend to move quickly in implementing the legislation’s reforms. “We’re moving with deliberate speed here because there’s a lot to be done ...

Higher education group: NC lawmakers failed to do their jobs in 2016

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 10:29
In case you missed it, the folks at Higher Education Works published a roundup/review of the recently adjourned 2016 legislative session as it related to the state’s colleges and universities this week. The basic take: Lawmakers deserve, at best, an “incomplete” grade for their performance (or lack thereof). Here’s the introduction: “2016 General Assembly took ...

The gun madness will continue until we take action

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 08:23
It would be much too simplistic to suggest that the absurdly easy and widespread availability of high-powered weapons in our country is the only explanation for the drumbeat of mass murders that continues to plague us in 2016. That said, last night’s horrific assassinations of police officers in Dallas, Texas were yet another reminder of ...

Stomach turning report: The astounding quantities of water pollution coming from Smithfield Foods

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 15:38
Let your lunch digest before reading the latest report from the folks at Environment North Carolina and Environment America: “Corporate Agribusiness and the Fouling of America’s Waterways.” Here’s one of the many revolting facts contained therein: According to the report, Smithfield Foods discharged 3.6 million tons of toxic pollutants from its hog slaughtering operation at ...

Controversial new ECU chancellor blocks Twitter critic; decries social media “rudeness”

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 13:34
In May, Policy Watch dove into the winding, controversial background of new East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton. Staton was one of the first major university appointments under UNC System President Margaret Spellings. It was criticized by some who questioned hiring an individual with a lengthy political background in a primarily academic position. In our story, we ...

2016-17 budget includes false statement on average teacher salaries

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 12:22
The 2016-17 North Carolina budget includes a problematic line that has become a prominent Republican talking point. Under the item explaining the change in teacher salaries, it reads: “Together, these increases provide, on average, a 4.7% increase for educators, and increase the expected average salary for educators from all fund sources to over $50,150 in FY ...

The costs of HB2 continue to pile up

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 11:13
In case you missed it last night, WRAL.com has a solid story about the growing negative impact of HB2 on North Carolina travel and tourism. This is from the story – “HB2 could cost Raleigh up to $40M in convention business”: “Raleigh could lose as much as $40 million in convention business from the state’s ...

Duke Energy’s dangerous assault on nonprofits

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 07:04
Be sure to check out the excellent and important op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by Richard Clerkin, the Executive Director of the Institute for Nonprofits at N.C. State entitled “Duke Energy’s worrisome move to silence nonprofits.” In it, Clerkin decries Duke’s recent efforts to force environmental groups challenging its construction ...

WSJ Editorial: Legislation shielding police footage from public a “deplorable decision”

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 14:52
The Winston Salem Journal is joining the  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina in urging Gov. Pat McCrory to veto House Bill 972. The legislation titled Law Enforcement Recordings/No Public Record would bar police dash-cam video and body camera footage from being public, unless of course there is a  court order. The editorial ...

A perfect summary of HB2

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 07:20
The editorials about the failure of the General Assembly to repeal HB2 continue to roll in from across the state and outside it. The Virginian Pilot weighed in today with a piece with an apt title, “NC GOP Lawmakers flee from responsibility.”  The whole editorial is worth your time but this sentence says it all ...

Charlotte and High Point commended for seeking common-sense solutions on immigration

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 14:01
For all of the incendiary rhetoric around immigration this election year, some communities have not forgotten what decency and hospitality are all about. Charlotte and High Point were recently commended for their efforts to help immigrants to integrate into their communities. As reported in the Charlotte Observer: “The local governments being honored…represent the leading edge ...

N.C. charter bolstered by Chinese investors, according to the Charlotte Observer

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 13:56
Here’s an illuminating piece in Monday’s Charlotte Observer on a surprising $3 million investment in a troubled Mecklenburg County charter by Chinese investors.  According to the paper’s Ann Doss Helms, the “startup” funding from Chinese investors for Thunderbird Preparatory Academy in Cornelius comes as state officials consider the school’s finances. The State Board of Education is ...

Charlotte increases minimum pay for city workers, anticipates reaching $15/ hour by 2020

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 12:57
Like local governments across North Carolina, the City of Charlotte passed its budget a few weeks ago in time for the start of a new fiscal year last Friday.  Like a growing number of City leaders across the state, the City Council and Mayor approved a budget that sets the minimum pay for a city ...

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