NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 8 min ago

Why draft HB2 “fix” comes up woefully short

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 12:33
Yesterday, in what appears to have been a premature release of a legislative leadership bill hopefully designed to begin the process of eventual repeal of HB 2, the press reported on a draft bill which, among other provisions returns the right of North Carolina citizens to sue for race, sex, ethnic, and religious discrimination as ...

Budget takes one step forward, two steps back on job training

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 11:39
North Carolina’s workers have been waiting for weeks to see how state legislators would address their needs, and now that the wait is over, they’re getting very little besides bad news. Not only does the compromise budget eliminate workplace health and safety inspectors at the NC Department of Labor, it also represents a missed opportunity ...

Shameless: Predatory manufactured home dealers push last minute anti-consumer bill

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 09:41
[This post has been updated.]  Things are getting very dark and dangerous right now over at the North Carolina General Assembly. With the final days of the 2016 legislative session in full swing, shameless corporate lobbyists are lining up with their shovels and wheelbarrows to load up and carry off whatever they can detach and ...

Equality, civil rights advocates blast proposed last minute, “backroom deal” on HB2

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 08:22
As reported here and other places, a proposed “compromise” emerged yesterday that would purports to make minor adjustments to HB2 and then commission a group appointed by the authors of the law to “study” further changes in the future. Not surprisingly, equality and civil right advocates are blasting the proposal. This is from Lambda Legal ...

ANER budget doubles down on marketing, spreads a few modest investments around

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 17:00
The Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources (ANER) budget makes one thing clear: North Carolina has image problems. Scattered throughout this section of the budget are a variety of additional funds to support marketing, promotion, and public relations work. New funds are made available to market North Carolina’s agricultural products overseas, to boost the state’s ...

Highlights of Justice and Public Safety Budget in joint budget agreement

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 16:24
The joint budget for Justice and Public Safety for the upcoming fiscal year entails a 3.5 percent increase to the original JPS budget passed by state lawmakers last year. Despite unmet needs in North Carolina such as re-entry services for ex-offenders returning into local communities, little progress is made beyond funding for pay raises and one-time ...

Highlights of Higher Education budgets in the joint budget agreement

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 15:30
Under the joint budget, state support for higher education – the UNC System and Community College System – fails to ensure that adequate resources are available to provide quality education services to the more than 400,000 students enrolled in public colleges and universities across the state. The joint budget includes a new fixed-tuition payment option ...

BREAKING: First look at House’s proposed HB2 amendments is not encouraging

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 15:11
Reporter Nick Ochsner of WBTV is reporting that leaders of the North Carolina House have put together a draft bill that would seek to walk back some of the state’s internationally derided LGBT discrimination law known as HB2. A preliminary look at the draft, however, offers little encouragement that anything truly meaningful will ultimately result. ...

First look at the Health and Human Services Budget in the joint budget agreement

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:07
The joint budget relies on two particular sources of dollars for narrow expansions to targeted programs and services that promote the health and well-being of North Carolinians through Health and Human Services. The first is the $318 million reduction in Medicaid that   is largely due to projections that suggested the demand for Medicaid services would ...

Lowlights of General Assembly’s education budget proposals

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:16
The General Assembly’s Conference Committee budget proposal (special provisions can be found here; changes to funding can be found here) contains a number of education proposals that are worth highlighting: Opportunity Scholarship voucher program:  The conference proposal combines the changes that were included in both the House and Senate versions of the budget.  That is, ...

State budget compromise offers teacher raises but expands controversial private school voucher program

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:01
A $22.34 billion budget compromise by GOP leaders in the N.C. General Assembly includes a nearly 5 percent raise for teachers, but also bundles in a laundry list of conservative wishlist items sure to rankle Democrats and public school advocates. The plan, announced by state Senate and House lawmakers late Monday, includes an average 4.7 percent raise ...

Follow the Money: How the joint budget is funded

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 11:50
Last night, the House and Senate held a press conference, and they subsequently released their joint budget agreement, which will be voted on over the next week or so in both chambers. The final budget holds to the rigid formula of population plus inflation, spending only $22.3 billion to operate core public services, as well ...

N.C. Senate one vote away from approving charter takeover of low-performing schools

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 09:19
North Carolina Senate lawmakers have moved one vote away from approving a controversial bill clearing the way for a charter takeover of a handful of low-performing schools. House Bill 1080, the product of long negotiations over the fate of some of the state’s most chronically under-performing schools, is due for one final vote in the ...

Last minute attacks on civil liberties advance at General Assembly

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 09:08
We must be getting close to the end of the 2016 legislative session because, as has become an annual phenomenon, state lawmakers are doing the worst to rush through bills that would undermine civil liberties. A pair of statements released late yesterday by the folks at the ACLU of North Carolina explain, respectively, the latest ...

Senate, House reach budget deal, rush to approve $22.34 billion plan (video)

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 07:55
The state Senate will take the first vote today on a $22.34 billion budget compromise. House and Senate leaders offered highlights of the spending plan in a Monday evening press conference, with the corresponding documents not being made available until hours later. The budget compromise is now available here. The budget’s money report is here. ...

Statement from Budget & Tax Center Director Alexandra Sirota on final state budget

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 20:30
All of the state budget proposals this year have fallen short of what it will take to get North Carolina back on track. The final budget agreement appears to be no exception based on the press conference releasing topline details this evening. Rather than respond to what families, communities and the economy need to thrive, policymakers ...

Statement from Alexandra Sirota on tentative approval of HB3 in Senate

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 17:11
House Bill 3 represents a deep confusion about the role of Constitutions in our lives. Constitutions are overall frameworks for governing, not the place for public policy choices to bind future generations. That’s why we elect leaders: to debate and decide what makes sense to do today to make our communities work better and our ...

Improving North Carolina’s charter school oversight policies

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 15:39
Oversight of low-performing charters is a pressing issue in North Carolina.  In the 2014-15 school year, 13% of charter schools received a school performance grade of F, compared to only 6% of traditional schools.  Historically, political pressures from the General Assembly have made it difficult for the State Board of Education to close failing charter ...

A constitutional amendment on hunting and fishing? Why not baseball, bird watching and bowling?

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 15:14
If you needed compelling evidence that past it’s time for North Carolina lawmakers to end the 2016 session and get the heck out of town, consider the fact that the state Senate is seriously considering an amendment to the state Constitution to guarantee the right to hunt and fish. As syndicated columnist Patrick Gannon explains ...

HB3’s Rainy Day Fund provisions aren’t going to save NC from fiscal challenges

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:54
Among the various changes to the state Constitution proposed in House Bill 3 are a series of Rainy Day Fund provisions that reflect unnecessary and counterproductive limits to the ability of lawmakers to use these savings to protect North Carolina communities and families from the brunt of a natural disaster or an economic downturn. The ...

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