NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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10 environmental fiascos that broke the FUBAR meter this year

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 12:59

Environmental reporting in 2016 was like shooting two-headed fish in a toxic waste barrel: It’s tough to miss. With just three days left in the year, this is an occasion for the airing of environmental grievances. For the sake of time, we had to limit ourselves to 10.   The saga of coal ash Two ...

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Editorial agrees: NC “not a full democracy”

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 12:22

This morning’s lead editorial in the Greensboro News & Record does a good job of highlighting and explaining the recent column by UNC Chapel Hill Professor Andrew Reynolds in Raleigh’s News & Observer decrying the sad state of North Carolina’s struggling democratic institutions. “North Carolina ranks with authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies in terms of electoral ...

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Democratic Governor. GOP Legislature. A look at what may come

Wed, 12/28/2016 - 11:00

Worth your time today: The New York Times’ Trip Gabriel takes a look at the possible future of North Carolina’s new political reality:  a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature. The consensus among experts: It’s going to be tough road for Cooper, but not impossible. From the piece: Still, it is not yet clear that ...

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Congressman Mark Walker – new position, still unpredictable

Wed, 12/28/2016 - 10:00

Back in November U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, a Guilford County Republican, was made chair of the U.S. House Republican Study Committee – an influential conservative caucus in the U.S. House. Walker’s ascension to that position is the occasion for a new profile of Walker by McClatchy’s Anna Douglas. Douglas’ piece, which is worth your time, ...

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Congressional Republicans’ plan to keep decorum could silence live streaming of sit-ins, protests

Wed, 12/28/2016 - 08:30

House Democrats captured headlines last June when they staged a sit-in to demand a vote on gun control legislation. But events like that streamed online could become far less common under a new Republican House proposal. The initiative that will go before the U.S. House for a vote next month could result in members of ...

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State Board of Education meets to discuss response to new law that shifts their power

Wed, 12/28/2016 - 08:08

The State Board of Education will hold a conference call this afternoon to discuss their response to House Bill 17. The legislation, which Gov. Pat McCrory has signed, takes authority away from the board and hands it to the newly-elected Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction. Outgoing Superintendent June Atkinson is opposed to the power-shift. She ...

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Op-ed explains close connection between gerrymandering and HB2

Tue, 12/27/2016 - 12:25

There’s a great op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer that reminds us once again of the disastrous impact of gerrymandering on the North Carolina General Assembly. As Common Cause North Carolina Executive Director Bob Phillips observes: “When state lawmakers couldn’t come together to repeal House Bill 2, it was just another ...

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Raleigh man pushes for police to carry heroin antidote; Coalition reports more than 5,000 saved since 911 law

Tue, 12/27/2016 - 10:00

More than 5,000 people have been saved from heroin overdoses since the General Assembly passed the 911 Good Samaritan Law in 2013, according to the N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition. The law allows limited immunity to people seeking medical help for an overdose and grants immunity to anyone who administers naloxone, an opioid antidote also known as ...

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Lt. Gov. Dan Forest: “Trump knows agriculture.” Yet PEOTUS flails in nominating USDA secretary

Mon, 12/26/2016 - 15:45

During a campaign event in late September, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest  told a crowd of farm families at the Duplin County Event Center that, “Donald Trump knows agriculture.” It was a puzzling assertion about a New York real estate mogul who likely doesn’t know the difference between revolving debt and rotating crops. Could Forest have meant Trump’s grape ...

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Legislators in surprise special session considered provision to give McCrory health care for life

Mon, 12/26/2016 - 14:00

The News and Observer reported on Christmas Day that legislation drafted but not enacted at a recent surprise special session would have kept outgoing Gov. Pat McCrory on the State Health Plan after he left office, meaning he would have received free health coverage for life. The health care provision would have also made any outgoing ...

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ICYMI: Outgoing state Superintendent June Atkinson reflects on her years in office, HB17 power grab, and the state of public education

Mon, 12/26/2016 - 11:35

If you missed Policy Watch’s weekend radio interview with State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, be sure to check it out the podcast below. Atkinson discusses House Bill 17, Republican-drafted legislation that reshuffles the duties of the state Board of Education. Atkinson also discusses her proudest moments as Superintendent and the challenges facing K-12 ...

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PhD candidate tells story of voter fraud accusation in NC governor’s race

Mon, 12/26/2016 - 10:00

Brooks Sterritt found out he was accused of voter fraud in the most recent election via a Google Alert. The PhD candidate in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago wrote about his experience and what it taught me about belonging and exclusion in America for New Republic. His name had appeared ...

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Editorial celebrates career of truly great government watchdog

Mon, 12/26/2016 - 09:45

It’s the day after Christmas so a lot of people are taking a bit of a break from politics and policy today, but if you do feel an urge to devote a few brain cells to the state of the world, here’s a brief and uplifting item to check out. The lead editorial at WRAL.com ...

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Another day, another leak from a coal ash basin

Fri, 12/23/2016 - 08:43

An undocumented metal pipe is leaking water from a closed coal ash basin at the Allen Steam Station, Duke Energy told state regulators Wednesday. The Allen Steam Station is near Belmont in Gaston County. WBTV in Charlotte broke the story yesterday, noting that it was the Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins who alerted Duke Energy to the leak. ...

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This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 12/23/2016 - 08:00

1. Three simple truths about the legislature’s failure to repeal HB2 Here are three simple truths about yesterday’s on again, off again circus at the state Legislative Building at which state lawmakers wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars and person hours and further damaged the state’s reputation in an unsuccessful special session that was supposed to ...

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Reader Questions on Failed HB2 Repeal

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 16:53

Since yesterday’s failure to pass a repeal of HB2 in a hastily arranged extra session of the North Carolina General Assembly, we’ve gotten a number of questions from readers via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Wherever you stand on the underlying issues, it’s be easy to get  confused about some of what’s happened in the last ...

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President Obama signs water projects bill into law; includes provisions for coal ash

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 10:20

States can now develop their own coal ash disposal rules, as long as they are at least as stringent as federal ones. President Obama signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 on Dec. 16. As NCPW reported in September, states could establish their own technical standards, even if they deviate from federal ...

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The ins and outs of the failure to repeal HB2

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 09:16

If you’re looking for an thorough, down-the-middle, on-the-spot look at the forces that led to the failure of HB2 repeal in North Carolina General Assembly Wednesday, you can’t do better than this breakdown by WRAL’s Mark Binker. The argument over who is to blame for the wheels coming off Wednesday’s effort will likely rage into ...

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ACLU condemns legislature for not repealing HB2

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 09:00

The ACLU and Lamda Legal released a statement last night condemning the legislature for not repealing House Bill 2 during the fifth special session of the year. The sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation was promised to be repealed if Charlotte repealed a non-discrimination ordinance it had in place. After a nine hour session, the House and Senate ...

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Three simple truths about the legislature’s failure to repeal HB2

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 07:42

Here are three simple truths about yesterday’s on again, off again circus at the state Legislative Building at which state lawmakers wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars and person hours and further damaged the state’s reputation in an unsuccessful special session that was supposed to have repealed North Carolina’s all-purpose LGBT discrimination law, HB2: #1 – ...

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