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Editorial: It’s time to rethink NC tax cuts

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 12:35
State budget writers are currently grappling with the task of ironing out a final budget in the face of last year’s huge tax cuts that are hampering our ability to invest in the building blocks of a strong economy. As we entered into the new fiscal year without a revised budget, the News and Observer Editorial Board ...

Voting rights open the week’s legal news

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 12:26
Here’s a look at a few of the stories headlining courts and law news this Monday. The challenges to the election law changes enacted last summer get their first real test this week, as hearings begin in federal court in Winston-Salem. Following what is expected to be a week-long presentation of witnesses and evidence, U.S. ...

Lack of Education Investment Blocks Students’ Path to Success (Infographic)

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 11:25
The good folks at the N.C. Budget & Tax Center are out with a new information graphic this week detailing the roadblocks facing students on their way to a high-quality education. The graphic (below) follows students as they travel through the K-12 system toward a two- or four-year college degree, showing how budget choices by ...

More advocates pan coal ash legislation

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 11:23
As this morning’s “Monday Numbers” make clear, the coal ash clean-up legislation making its way through the General Assembly falls short in numerous ways. This statement from the League of Conservation Voters expands on this conclusion: Legislative Watch: Not Good Enough on Coal Ash “We could and should have done better for the citizens of ...

Editorial: The time to reinstate teen voter preregistration is now

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 07:29
As the U.S. Department of Justice and several civil rights groups head to court in Winston-Salem to challenge North Carolina’s monster voting-law, the Charlotte Observer writes that it’s time to reinstate preregistering of teenage voters. Here’s more from the paper’s editorial board: This is what happens when politics and ideology overrule common sense. In their zeal ...

More casinos in NC? RSVP today for Charlotte luncheon with national expert

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 11:09
With North Carolina leaders looking more and more to the expansion of gambling in the state — perhaps even with the development of a new casino west of Charlotte — NC Policy Watch will be bringing one of the nation’s experts on the subject to North Carolina on Wednesday, July 16 for a special Crucial ...

Riverkeepers sound off over weakened coal ash bill

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:08
The Riverkeepers for the Cape Fear and the French Broad are among the latest environmentalists to speak out against the coal ash management bill that won final approval in the NC House on Thursday. The Cape Fear’s Kemp Burdette and the French Broad’s Hartwell Carson say the revised version of the Senate’s coal ash bill ...

Your holiday read: Detroit Free Press’ investigation of Michigan’s unaccountable charter schools

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:00
Reporters at the Detroit Free Press have dug deep for the past year to uncover the facts surrounding how Michigan has spent $1 billion on charter schools, yet failed to hold them accountable for their results. Among the investigation’s findings:  Michigan’s charter schools spend $1 billion per year in state taxpayer money, often with little transparency.  Some charter schools ...

House coal ash bill falls well short of what’s necessary

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 13:39
The North Carolina House passed a weakened version of the already inadequate Senate coal ash plan today and environmental experts quickly labeled the legislation as wholly inadequate. Here’s the rather measured statement from the folks at the NC Sierra Club: “After weeks of expectation and speculation, the House missed the opportunity to build on the ...

Itchy days ahead for North Carolina

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 12:10
It might be time to stock up on bug spray. North Carolina is poised to do away with what remains of its state-run mosquito control program, if proposals to eliminate $185,992 in funding are adopted in the final budget. The likely elimination of the vector control program in the N.C. Department of Health and Human ...

Vigil held in Raleigh for 60,000 endangered immigrant children (Photos)

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 11:53
Yesterday in Raleigh, El Pueblo, Inc. joined forces with several volunteers to hold a vigil for the approximately 60,000 children currently attempting to escape the poverty, violence, and fear of their hometowns in Central America to find relief, security, and freedom in the U.S. As Mike Figueras of El Pueblo informed me, for each child’s body ...

National economic news good; NC situation not so encouraging

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:53
As Dean Baker notes this morning, the national economic news is encouraging. In addition to the record high Dow Jones average, Baker points out: “The economy added 288,000 jobs in June, making it the fifth consecutive month in which the economy added over 200,000 jobs. This is the longest stretch of 200,000 plus job growth ...

This morning’s “must read”: Get up to date on state of voting law and court challenges

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 07:29
If you’ve found yourself having trouble keeping up with the details of North Carolina’ new Monster Voting Law, its implementation and the court challenges that have ensued, you owe it to yourself to read Sharon McCloskey’s latest article that was published this morning: “Voting gets its day in court” over on the main Policy Watch ...

Before the Fourth, a third vote on coal ash clean-up bill (video)

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 23:00
Before leaving for the July 4th holiday, the NC House is expected to give final approval Thursday to a revised plan to clean-up North Carolina’s coal ash sites. The legislation would require Duke Energy to remove the ash from four high-risk sites by 2019. Low-risk ponds would be targeted for closure by 2029.  Critics note ...

We are still not beyond eugenics

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 16:44
You would think that living in the twenty-first century, we would have progressed beyond the barbarity of eugenics programs in the U.S. in previous centuries. That assumption would be false. Eugenics–the systematic implementation of social Darwinian procedures such as sterilization and segregation in order to “purify” the human gene pool–complemented the ideology behind the Nazi ...

Editorial: NC HHS dropping the ball on Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 15:05
In case you missed it, there’s been a very worrisome outbreak of the deadly infection known as Legionnaire’s Disease in Wilson County with at least 11 individuals contracting the disease. Unfortunately, as today’s editorial in the Wilson Times notes, the response of the North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (and its policies for ...

New report details benefits of closing the health insurance coverage gap in North Carolina

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 13:49
The White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report today detailing the health and economic consequences of refusing to accept federal Medicaid money to expand insurance coverage in North Carolina. If the state accepted federal funds we could provide insurance coverage to 377,000 more people. This influx of federal money would also create jobs ...

Progress made in conference budget negotiations, hashed out in rare public debate

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 13:45
North Carolina Senate and House budget writers met today in a rare public meeting to break the budget logjam and iron out a final budget deal for the 2015 fiscal year (FY)—which began yesterday. Because lawmakers approved a two-year budget last year as part of the biennial budgeting process, vital public services and programs are ...

New research: New NC voting laws produce confusion, little confidence

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 10:56
The voting and good government experts at Democracy North Carolina have taken a look at the impact of the state’s new “Monster Voting Law” on the May primary election. Here is their initial take: “Data Highlight: New Voting Law, Little Information, Less Confidence Volunteers with Democracy North Carolina and other groups conducted a large Exit ...

Eastern North Carolina housing non-profit accused of sexually exploiting clients

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 10:01
Here’s a disturbing story today from WNCN  in Eastern North Carolina about a non-profit housing authority based in Laurinburg where administrators are accused of demanding sexual favors from women seeking housing help. Lawyers from Legal Aid of North Carolina’s fair housing division, who are representing the victims in the case, are asking a federal judge ...

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