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In Robeson County, local paper endorses controversial charter takeover

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 13:30

A controversial state plan for charter takeover of a struggling Robeson County elementary earned a rude reception from many residents and public officials in recent weeks, but the local newspaper writes in an editorial that local opposition to the Innovative School District is “weakening.” Members of the Robeson Board of Education have until February to ...

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NC Utilities Commission reaches partial settlement with Duke Energy over rate hikes; still disagree on coal ash

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 12:20

The public staff of the NC Utilities Commission went behind closed doors with Duke Energy Progress today to hammer out a partial settlement agreement regarding the utility’s request for a 16.7 percent increase in residential rates. These private negotiations occurred instead of a public evidentiary hearing, which was scheduled for today at 1 p.m. That ...

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Report: AOC to mail 615 monthly waivers to prepare for change in court fines, fees

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 11:00

A budget provision that will make it more difficult for judges to waive court fines and fees for indigent defendants goes into effect Dec. 1, but the Administrative Office of the Courts has found a way to lighten the load. The provision mandates that no court may waive or remit all or part of any ...

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Lawmakers still object to special master; Covington plaintiffs offer incumbency tweaks to new plan

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 08:45

The legislative defendants in the racial gerrymandering case that involves state House and Senate districts opposes the federal court’s appointment of a special master and alleges abuse of discretion in a motion filed Friday. “The process under which the special master is proceeding is irregular and inappropriate,” the motion states. “It defies precedent, ignores state ...

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The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 07:00

There have been a lot of editorials lamenting the poor environmental protection enforcement that allowed the GenX chemical disaster to hit southeastern North Carolina, but this Sunday’s Fayetteville Observer really hit the nail on the head with its assessment of why and how lax North Carolina law is at fault. Simply put, the editorial blasts ...

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Chemours plant in Fayetteville is leaking like a sieve, this time into the air

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:52

Late this afternoon, the state Department of Environmental Quality is investigating reports of an air emissions leak at Chemours’ Fayetteville facility and whether the leak constitutes a violation of the company’s air permit. According to an agency press release, Chemours’ officials reported on Wednesday morning that the leak occurred Tuesday at 5:40 p.m. in the ...

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Center for American Progress highlights effects of NC judicial changes on judges of color

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:10

Lawmakers are hellbent on changing the judiciary one way or another before the 2018 elections, and though it’s still unknown what exactly will happen, the proposals that have been floated result in a whitewashing of the bench. Judges of color are already underrepresented on the bench and a recent NC Policy Watch analysis of House ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 14:09

1. The Right wages class warfare in Washington Will Burr and Tillis really vote for this? For much of the 20th Century, one of the labels that American politicians of a progressive bent feared most was the accusation that they were engaging in “class warfare.” Even for many on the left, the concept of class ...

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BREAKING: New analysis shows GOP tax plan would be “devastating” to North Carolina nonprofits

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 13:30

This is usually the time of year during which conservative politicians undertake a hypocritical pivot from their ideological crusade against all things public and pay a smidgen of lip service  to the notion of helping out nonprofits who help people in need. You know how this goes: Day One though Nine – vote to slash ...

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Opponents, supporters turn out in force over air permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 10:02

The deadline for public comment on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s air permit is Monday, Nov. 20: publiccomments@ncdenr.gov At Garysburg Town Hall, 60 or so people had arranged themselves as if at a wedding, where the families of the bride and groom sit on opposite sides of the aisle. Already, the marriage was doomed. “Is this the ...

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Busting Tim Moore’s myths about public schools

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:00

Be sure to check out the lead editorial on WRAL.com this morning, in which North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore is taken to task for his mythologizing about public education in a recent opinion column. In Moore’s column, he makes the following claims in the second sentence: “Changes already in effect include four consecutive teacher ...

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DEQ will revoke Chemours’s discharge permit, citing several violations; criminal probe begins

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:01

For state environmental officials, the latest spill by Chemours was the last straw. The NC Department of Environmental Quality had tried cajoling, cooperating, dangling the carrot instead of brandishing a big stick. But after Chemours covered up an Oct. 6 chemical spill at its Fayetteville Works plant, DEQ announced today that it is moving to ...

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New Elon Poll looks at NC views on opioid crisis

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:03

If you’ve followed NC Policy Watch’s ongoing coverage of the opioid epidemic and the state’s reaction to it, you’ll want to check out the results of the latest Elon University Poll. Among its findings: about one in three North Carolinians surveyed have been personally affected by opioid dependence or has a close relationship with someone ...

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Must read: Did Trump’s federal court nominee for NC lie to the Senate?

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 14:17

Be sure to check out a story in Durham’s Indy Week by reporters Tommy Goldsmith and Erica Hellerstein about Raleigh lawyer Thomas Farr — Donald Trump’s controversial nominee to fill the decade-old vacancy on the federal district court in North Carolina’s Eastern District. This is from the story “Did Former Helms Lawyer Thomas Farr Lie ...

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Senate tax plan would eliminate health insurance coverage for millions to pay for tax cuts for richest Americans

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 10:34

The Senate tax bill released last week follows the same framework proposed by the U.S. House and the Trump Administration: delivering large tax cuts to the richest Americans while paving the way for cuts to schools, health care and the infrastructure that helps communities thrive. Now, in what is perhaps the most disturbing recent development, ...

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Farm workers, civil rights groups file federal lawsuit over NC Farm Act

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 08:00

North Carolina farm workers and a coalition of civil rights groups filed a federal lawsuit this week challenging a state law that inhibits the ability of farm workers to organize and make collective bargaining agreements with employers. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the only farm workers’ union in the state — the Farm ...

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A long night ahead in Garysburg: Public hearing on Atlantic Coast Pipeline air permit

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 15:00

Fifty-six tons of methane — a potent greenhouse gas — entered the air over Northampton County in 2015, and that amount could increase if a compressor station is built there as part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Co-owned by Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, the controversial $5.5 billion project would pipe natural gas from a fracking ...

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Expert urges caution as North Carolina lawmakers consider school funding overhaul

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:30

An expert in school funding models told North Carolina lawmakers Wednesday they should tread lightly to avoid “unintended consequences” as they consider a major face-lift for K-12 funding. Michael Griffith, a school finance strategist with the Education Commission of the States—an interstate compact for K-12 policymaking—said legislators should also court public feedback. “The  more you ...

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New University polls show NC opinions on Trump, Cooper, gun laws

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 13:33

New polls from both Elon University and High Point University are out this week. The live-call polls, featuring the opinions of North Carolinians, shed light on state opinions on the jobs being done by President Donald Trump and Gov. Roy Cooper, as well as shifting views on gun laws in the wake of the most ...

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SCSJ’s Anita Earls to run for NC Supreme Court seat in 2018 election

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 11:03

A prominent civil rights attorney announced Wednesday morning that she will make a bid to move to the other side of the bench next year. Anita Earls, who is the Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), will run for a North Carolina Supreme Court seat in the 2018 election, challenging incumbent ...

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