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Editorials: Only two possible solutions to NC’s gerrymandering mess

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 07:33

This morning’s lead editorial in the Fayetteville Observer (“Gerrymandering proceeds in an endless loop”) gets it right when it says it decries Republican foot dragging in drawing fair and constitutional electoral maps: “It doesn’t matter to Republican leaders that courts found 28 of the state’s House and Senate districts were illegally gerrymandered on a racial ...

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Making sure students aren’t hungry should be a top priority for N.C.

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 16:14

The healthy development of children is essential to building and sustaining a prosperous society.  Still, 1 in 5 North Carolina children face food insecurity each day, which threatens their well-being and life outcomes.  Nationally, North Carolina is the 8th most food insecure state in the country, with 1 out of every 6 households being food insecure ...

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Greensboro looks to learn from nationwide study on police review boards

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 14:30

If you’ve been following the tensions between the Greensboro Police Department, the community and the police complaint review board, you should read Susan Ladd’s latest column. The columnist for Greensboro’s News & Record looks at a study of citizen boards for police oversight across the country – and what Greensboro and other N.C. cities can ...

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Democratic state senators call on budget chairs to preserve key ACA protections

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 13:34

A group of Democratic North Carolina senators is calling on the chairs of the conference committee that is negotiating the final state budget bill to protect the health are of hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who could be harmed if Congress makes good on its threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In a ...

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Federal wildlife officials want to hear from you about the fate of the endangered red wolf

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 12:30

                    . The Cypress Moon Inn in Kitty Hawk overlooks the Albemarle Sound and in the distance, to the southwest, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, among the stomping grounds for the endangered red wolf. An Outer Banks resident for 43 years, Greg Hamby co-owns the inn ...

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Voters gather at Legislature to demand fair maps in wake of U.S. Supreme Court’s gerrymandering ruling

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 12:00

North Carolina voters gathered Monday afternoon in front of the Legislature downtown to demand that lawmakers begin drawing fair maps immediately to correct the racially gerrymandered ones. Just a week before the gathering, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that 28 of North Carolina’s House and Senate Districts were unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered. The order that the ...

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New report: Immigrants a key to economic growth for NC — both now and in the future

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 11:00

The latest installment in the N.C. Budget and Tax Center’s “Prosperity Watch” series (“Immigrants projected to drive labor force growth for years to come”) highlights the key role immigrants play (and will continue to play) in North Carolina’s economic growth. Check it out below. A recent report by the Pew Research Center points to the ...

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House wants to give retirees a bonus, Senate wants to cut benefits for future retirees

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 10:09

Stark differences exist between how the budgets passed by the North Carolina House and Senate would treat retired public servants. While the House wants to provide a one-time bump in pension payments, the Senate contemplates eliminating retiree healthcare coverage for future state employees. The House proposal is a modest step in the right direction and ...

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House and Senate’s draconian central office cuts would disproportionately harm poor, rural school districts

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 08:10

Among the elements necessary for a well-functioning school district, central office staff are often overlooked. However, a functioning central office is vital. These professionals ensure that money is spent in accordance with the law, provide technical assistance to low-performing schools, comply with the numerous data and reporting requirements imposed by state lawmakers, implement state programs, ...

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Report: North Carolina’s state budget needs to plan for at least $13 billion more over the next 10 years to address federal funding cuts

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 17:08

As the N.C. House and Senate continue their Conference Committee to talk about the state budget, federal funding cuts loom overhead. President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would cut non-defense programs by an estimated $2.5 trillion nationally over the next decade – the largest dollar cuts to programs for low-and moderate-income people proposed by any president’s ...

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State Supreme Court Chief Justice talks court technology, legislative current events

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 16:10

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin spoke today at the John Locke Foundation about the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice he convened and the future of the court system. Martin talked mostly about court technology and an e-filing system that is in the process of being implemented but he ...

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Former DPI budget chief says N.C. school districts may have to “beg” again next year for class size funding

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 15:30

North Carolina school districts may have obtained something of a reprieve from state lawmakers’ controversial class size mandate this year, but the longtime budget chief for the state’s top public school agency says schools seem likely to face a similar crisis next spring. “They’re going to have to come back again and beg next year,” ...

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Environmental Working Group finds unregulated contaminant in 20 North Carolina drinking water supplies

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 15:00

An unregulated toxic contaminant has been detected in 20 drinking water supplies in North Carolina, including those serving Greensboro, Dunn and Wilmington. Fluorinated chemicals, also known as PFCs or PFAS,  have been found in public drinking water supplies serving 15 million Americans in 27 states, according to a joint study between the Environmental Working Group ...

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Six amendments, six funerals, and one lackluster House budget

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 14:22

The NC House’s quick turnaround in debating and passing its proposed two-year state budget reflects the priorities and choices of House leadership. In less than 24 hours, House lawmakers gave two favorable votes for its proposed budget, but not before rejecting and dismissing a number of proposed amendments that would have boosted public investments that ...

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Indivisible activists to rally at the General Assembly this afternoon for new electoral maps

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 12:12

Progressive activists with the Indivisible movement will rally and address the media at the General Assembly this afternoon as they work to push the General Assembly to adopt constitutional electoral maps. This is from a press release announcing the event: “NC Voters to Descend on State Legislature to Demand: Follow the Constitution. End Racial Gerrymandering! ...

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Editorial: Senate should bury reckless concealed carry bill

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 06:34

The lead editorial in this morning’s Winston-Salem Journal gets it right: The bill passed last week by the North Carolina House to completely deregulate the concealed carry of weapons by individuals 18 and older is a dreadful idea. That’s right: Under the bill, North Carolina would now allow young people too young to buy a ...

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Breaking: Court tells parties in racial gerrymandering case it intends to act promptly

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 19:00

A three-judge federal District Court panel intends to act promptly once the U.S. Supreme Court transfers jurisdiction over a case involving racially gerrymandered legislative maps. A court document released late Friday informs parties in the case, North Carolina v. Covington, of the court’s plan. The motion was in response to the plaintiff’s in the case filing ...

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The violent results of historic underinvestment in our state’s schools on display as “Infrastructure Week” ends

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 16:13

A recent video by EdNC documented the struggles of Edgecombe County community residents in the wake of the devastating hurricane that swept through the region last fall. The disaster has a particularly acute and devastating effect on children- many of whom remain displaced and who lack reliable and consistent access to basic necessities such as ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 15:00

  1. U.S. Supreme Court agrees NC legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered based on race The U.S. Supreme Court is sending a clear message to North Carolina lawmakers: racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional. The nation’s highest court handed down its third decision in three weeks regarding a North Carolina racial gerrymandering case — North Carolina v. ...

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Expert: Now is the time for voters, courts to hold legislators accountable in redistricting process

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 14:44

The top news this week, other than the former FBI Director’s enthralling testimony, has undoubtedly been the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that 28 of North Carolina’s legislative districts are unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered. The local political battle that ensued in the day’s following the court’s ruling has been just as captivating, but like election law, North ...

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