NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 2 hours 51 min ago

Today’s “must read” op-ed

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 11:45

In case you missed it, there’s a great essay in today’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer that deserves to be shared widely. Written by a Hillsborough physician named Aparna Jonnal, it  includes some hard and important truths about poverty, inequality and the first and most obvious way to tackle those problems. This is from ...

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The mind reels: Civitas, foe of EPA and government regulation, demands EPA enforce Clean Water Act re: GenX

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 10:53

Ultra-conservative think tank the Civitas Institute, which has never met an environmental regulation it didn’t want to obliterate, is now invoking the Clean Water Act to keep GenX and other chemicals out of the Cape Fear River. In a letter to the EPA, Chemours and the NC Department of Environmental Quality, Civitas Executive Director Francis ...

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Lawmakers return today; Cooper vetoes of small loan, “garbage juice,” casino nights and newspaper bills at risk?

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 07:04

The North Carolina General Assembly takes yet another step toward becoming a more or less full-time legislature today as it returns for its umpteenth special legislative session in recent years. To make the whole exercise that much more fun and in keeping with the way things have run during recent so-called “regular” sessions, no one ...

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Retired UCC minister debunks Bible-based opposition to reproductive freedom

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 14:16

In the current environment in which conservative religious advocates in the U.S. and elsewhere continue to justify their opposition to reproductive freedom for women as somehow grounded in divine directives, many knowledgeable people of faith are pushing back. One such keen observer and advocate recently shared the following essay with NC Policy Watch: The Bible, ...

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Economist: Taxes aren’t nearly as important to business as they’re cracked up to be

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 11:33

The good folks at Higher Education Works have an excellent post this morning that highlights a recent story in the Winston-Salem Journal about the mythology that’s grown up around taxes and “business-friendliness.” This is from the post – “Economist challenges business rankings based on tax cuts”: A recent report in the Winston-Salem Journal highlighted the ...

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Editorial: Outer Banks blackout reaffirms need for renewable energy

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 08:09

Anyone paying attention already knew that the era of giant fossil fuel consuming power plants is on the way out. Preservation of life on the planet in some form akin to what we know depends on it. But as an editorial in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer reminds us, the transition to a ...

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At the beach? Put down the umbrella drink and head to a public meeting about offshore drilling

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:45

North Carolina’s coast, which has so far eluded capture by the energy companies, is again in the crosshairs for offshore oil and gas exploration. And this time, the rigs could be just three miles from the shoreline. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is preparing its 2019–2024 national Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing ...

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A must-see documentary on North Carolina’s heroin epidemic

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:00

This evening WRAL-TV airs the documentary Searching for a Fix that explores the path from prescription opioids in North Carolina to the much cheaper and more readily available heroin. Documentary producer Clay Johnson sat down with NC Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon over the weekend to give us a preview of the hour-long special. Click below ...

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Editorial: Lawmakers should approve emergency funding to address GenX water pollution crisis

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 14:34

There’s a fine new website that’s publishing a steady stream of solid progressive commentaries on North Carolina policy and politics. Carolina Commentary is spearheaded by a team of four veteran North Carolina journalists and aims to “provide commentary that minimizes polarization and promotes a collaborative approach to solving public policy problems.” So far, they’re off ...

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Cooper taps assistant public defender for Durham district court judgeship

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 10:47

Gov. Roy Cooper has appointed an assistant public defender to serve as district court judge in Durham County — the seat held by former judge and now Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham). “Amanda brings extensive legal experience and a true commitment to improving the Durham community to her new appointment,” Cooper said. “I’m pleased to appoint ...

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Clean Air Carolina, SELC sue Trump administration over rollback of pollution standards

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 09:25

Four environmental groups, including two from North Carolina, are suing the Federal Highway Administration over its sudden suspension of key greenhouse gas rules. Those rules would have required states to track and reduce pollution from cars and trucks — a major source of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Clean Air Carolina, based in ...

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Lawyer who defended HB2 now the Trump administration’s top civil rights chief

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 07:59

Another day, another outrage from the Trump administration. This is from a story by Rebekah Entralgo of Think Progress entitled “New civil rights chief at Justice Department has spent his career undermining civil rights”: Thomas Wheeler, the Assistant Acting Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) division that handles policing, discrimination, and voting rights ...

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Federal three-judge panel orders lawmakers to draw new maps by Sept. 1; denies special election request

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 19:39

A federal three-judge panel has ordered the North Carolina General Assembly to draw new legislative maps by 5 p.m. Sept. 1. The panel denied a request for the state to hold a special election to remedy the constitutional violations of 28 racially gerrymandered State House and Senate districts. “The court’s decision affirms the urgency with ...

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Proposed changes to voter protest process become sticking point at public hearing

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 16:47

The Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, once members are appointed, will consider making changes to some of its rules and processes. The agency held a hearing Monday for public input. While not all of the proposed changes were discussed (the 15-page list is here), there were several suggestions for more tweaks and ...

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Duke report: Despite federal law, majority of North Carolina school districts impeding enrollment for undocumented children

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 14:26

Despite federal laws that guarantee access to public education for undocumented children, the majority of school districts in North Carolina are impeding enrollment, a new report from the Children’s Law Clinic at Duke University finds. According to the report, which was released Monday, about 60 percent of North Carolina districts “inhibit” enrollment in at least ...

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Five things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 13:57

#1 Black Women’s Equal Pay Day  – Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day making it a good time to learn about the wage discrepancy between black women and their white counterparts. Here are a few fast facts: More than 50% of Black mothers bring in 1/2 or more of their families’ income. 40% of ...

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Anthony Scaramucci thought HB2 was “shameful”

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 12:15

Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump’s new communications director, was not a fan of HB2, the sweeping anti-LGBTQ law passed by the General Assembly last year. Scaramucci tweeted his disapproval on March 23, 2016, the day that the Republican majorities in the House and Senate met in a one-day special session to approve the discriminatory law in ...

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A win for seniors and the home health workers who take care of them

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 09:46

Sometimes good news is buried in the fine print. While the recently passed state budget undoubtedly sets North Carolina back on education and many other key investments, the spending plan also provides some very targeted assistance to seniors and adults with disabilities. And as a bonus, home healthcare workers—some of the lowest paid workers in ...

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Editorials blast GOP redistricting dodge

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 08:30

North Carolina Republicans may be doing everything in their power to block and/or delay the enactment of fair and constitutional legislative maps, but no one is fooled by the GOP’s sudden desire to hold lengthy hearings on the matter. Here’s Raleigh’s News & Observer over the weekend: With their delays, Republicans are embarrassing themselves and ...

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NC’s Payton McGarry on proposed military transgender ban

Sat, 07/29/2017 - 09:04

If you follow NC Policy Watch, you’ve read the name Payton McGarry. As a young transgender man, the 21-year-old UNCG student was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging HB2 – and is a plaintiff in the amended lawsuit against its replacement, HB142. He recently announced a run for Greensboro City Council. He’s also, ...

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