NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 55 min 9 sec ago

Policy Watch’s comprehensive coverage of North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 08:00
Copy of the lawsuit challenging HB2

Thankfully, the Right surrenders on another “culture war” issue

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 07:08
In case you missed it, there was some encouraging news from the good people at NC Child yesterday. Once again, after stubbornly holding out for decades, the Right is on the verge finally giving way on an important issue of the culture wars — corporal punishment.: Corporal Punishment Disappearing from the NC Public Education Landscape ...

Back to school: A competitive pay plan for North Carolina teachers

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 15:31
This is the third of a Back to School blog series (see Part 1 and Part 2) that highlight various issues to be aware of as the 2016-17 school year kicks off. Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum understand that teachers are the most important classroom factor when it comes to improving student performance.  ...

Fracking wells closed, pipelines opposed: A tough week for natural gas

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 12:30
During one of the peaks of the North Carolina legislative fracking wars in 2015, then-state Rep. Mike Hager made a glib, yet telling remark about an amendment he was trying to force through: “Have you ever known me to regret anything?” according to a WRAL report at the time. Hager might not have regrets about fracking, but Oklahoma likely does. The state ...

National LGBT commentator skewers McCrory’s claim that HB2 is “irrelevant”

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 10:51
It’s increasingly difficult to keep up with the various and conflicting claims Gov. Pat McCrory is making about HB2. One day, he’s defending the state’s all-purpose LGBT discrimination law as “common sense” and an effort to guarantee “bathroom safety” and the next he’s characterizing the law as “irrelevant” because of federal lawsuits and actions taken ...

Editorial: Panel of judges maps the way to nonpartisan redistricting

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 07:29
The lead editorial in this morning’s Fayetteville Observer has some on-the-money praise for the recent efforts of a panel of retired judges (working with the nonprofit watchdog, Common Cause) to bring forth a nonpartisan congressional redistricting map for North Carolina. Here’s the conclusion: “Encouraged by years of court decisions affirming that it’s OK to draw ...

Afternoon map time: Bee kills in North Carolina

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 15:49
The bees are bummed. First, a new study shows that their habitats are threatened by the biofuels industry, which demands more land for corn and soybeans rather than pollinator-friendly plants. Corn, according to the study, which was cited by The Washington Post, is a poor forage crop for honeybees. Plus, corn and soybeans are often treated with pesticides, ...

North Carolina takes step forward in addressing worker misclassification

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 15:09
Workers in North Carolina received some welcome news last week – the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the NC Industrial Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor that should make it easier for both agencies to investigate cases of employee misclassification. The term misclassification refers to workers whose employers have incorrectly treated them ...

Gov. McCrory berates federal government over Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 12:28
Gov. Pat McCrory, who rarely misses an opportunity to accuse the federal government of overreach, is now targeting the Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over regulations on a national wildlife refuge. Yesterday McCrory and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler toured Tyrrell and Washington counties, where Tropical Storm Hermine dumped five to 10 inches ...

State of Working North Carolina: The Recovery’s Limited Reach (audio)

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 12:02
If you missed it over the holiday weekend, be sure to check out the Budget & Tax Center’s annual look at how workers are faring in our state. This year’s report is titled the “State of Working North Carolina 2016: Don’t call it a comeback.” NC Policy Watch sat down with BTC economic analyst Patrick ...

The best editorial of the weekend

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 09:15
Yesterday’s lead editorial on gets it right when it comes to the vital importance of keeping North Carolina’s beaches completely and permanently public in light of a state Supreme Court case delving into the matter. Here’s the excellent conclusion: Support for assuring North Carolina’s beaches remain public has brought together about as diverse coalition ...

Labor Day 2016: The hard truth about the supposed “Carolina Comeback”

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 10:03
The North Carolina Budget and Tax  Center released the “State of Working North Carolina 2016” today and, as in recent years, the story it tells about the North Carolina economy is not an especially pretty one. The following is from the release that accompanied the report: Hard work is supposed to provide the income to ...

Labor Day 2016: Jewish community leader reflects on “Labor Sabbath”

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 08:00
The good people at Carolina Jews for Justice are promoting “Labor Sabbath” in anticipation of the Labor Day holiday on Monday. The following essay lifts up that effort. Jewish Community Leader Reflects on “Labor Sabbath” By Ari Naveh — Member, Carolina Jews for Justice As we celebrate this Labor Day, members of the Jewish community ...

Inside NC’s “monster” voting law

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 15:11
The Washington Post takes a deep dive into the creation of North Carolina’s “monster” voter ID law – which recently had a stake definitively put through its heart. The piece reconstructs the law’s origins from e-mails from and between North Carolina General Assembly members and their staffs, painting a pretty grim picture of just how ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 15:01
1. The bizarre and telling reaction of GOP leaders to non-gerrymandered districts If you are looking for confirmation that the current system of drawing districts for Congress and the General Assembly is ridiculously broken, legislative leaders unwittingly provided it this week with their bizarre and bitter reaction to congressional maps drawn as an exercise by ...

Bipartisan agreement to address persistent poverty

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 14:16
The persistence of poverty in certain regions and communities across the country and within North Carolina has long held back the broader economy from performing at full capacity and delivering the greatest benefit to the most people.  In North Carolina, there are still 10 counties where poverty rates have remained above 20 percent for more ...

Rainy day read: Trees chat with each other in underground conversations

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 13:32
This story out of Yale about how trees use underground networks of fungi to talk and share nutrients is remarkable. Ecologist Suzanne Simard says that trees even recognize and nurture their sapling offspring. And when a tree is old or sick, say from a lightning strike, or an invasion of ash borers or hemlock woolly adelgids, they bequeath their nutrients ...

Good government watchdogs call on State Board of Elections to do the right thing on early voting

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 13:03
In the aftermath of the recent court rulings striking down North Carolina’s “monster” voter suppression law and the subsequent efforts of the state GOP to promote “party line” decisions at local boards of election with respect to early voting hours, the good government watchdogs at Common Cause NC are calling on the State Board of ...

Tropical Storm Hermine reminds us why FEMA wants federally funded construction on higher ground

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 11:05
Go ahead, build on the lip of the shoreline, but don’t expect the feds to loan you any money for the project. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has proposed rules that would require homeowners and commercial construction companies that want federal funding to build on higher ground. With Tropical Hermine bearing down on North Carolina, the State of Emergency declared for 33 counties ...

Access to health care services promotes student success

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 09:32
This is the second of a Back to School blog series (see Part 1) that highlight various issues to be aware of as the 2016-17 school year kicks off. Investing in school-based and school-linked health services would help ensure that students receive the physical and behavioral health care they need to reduce chronic absenteeism and ...