NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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$140 million in new taxes on the horizon for North Carolinians

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 11:00
Read my lips, MORE NEW TAXES ARE ON THE WAY FOR NORTH CAROLINIANS. This will be the latest reality if state Senate leaders get their way. Members of the Senate Finance Committee met yesterday and discussed a bill that would make even more services subject to the sales tax. Senate Finance leaders claim that they ...

Making College Affordable by Possibly Killing off Public Universities

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 10:56
One of the major issues that Senator Berger and Brown have heard from their constituents is that the rising cost of tuition at the state’s public universities is making it difficult for parents to send their kids to college or for kids to complete their degrees. The Senate’s answer in the form of Senate Bill ...

Editorial: Disastrous TABOR proposal should be postponed indefinitely

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 10:41
As this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing explains, North Carolina lawmakers appear to be seriously considering a plan to follow up on the disastrous HB2 experiment by making the state a fringe outlier in yet another area — fiscal policy. This morning’s lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer echoes those concerns. Here is an ...

Glazier neatly sums up what Fourth Circuit decision means for HB2

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 07:50
In case you missed it late yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dealt another huge body blow to HB2 when it refused to rehear the decision it issued in April in the case of a transgender Virginia schoolboy. N.C. Justice Center Executive Director Rick Glazier sums up what the decision means ...

Senate budget proposal fails to meet state needs: Statement from Alexandra Sirota, Director, Budget and Tax Center

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 17:25
RALEIGH (May 31, 2016) — The Senate seems to have taken the most extreme approach to the state budget yet, putting forward a proposal that fails to meet community and family needs and holds our state back from a brighter future. While we have yet to see the full details, it is very likely that ...

BREAKING: Fourth Circuit denies rehearing in case of transgender student (Updated)

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 17:13
Great news from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The twitter account Equality Case Files has tweeted this afternoon that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to grant an en banc review of the April decision upholding restroom access based on gender idenity in the case of a Virginia. schoolboy named Gavin Grimm. ...

Senate leadership rolls out teacher pay, big expansion for vouchers in budget

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 17:10
As promised, state Senate leaders rolled out additional “highlights” of their budget plan Tuesday afternoon. The plan, as explained by Senate President Phil Berger, “dramatically” increases teacher pay, expands the state’s controversial private school voucher program, hires close to 1,000 additional first- and second-grade teachers to reduce class sizes, and “fully funds” teaching assistants, in addition to ...

Top 5 Reasons why TABOR is wrong for North Carolina

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 15:25
There are at least 10 million reasons that the House shouldn’t change North Carolina’s constitution to arbitrarily limit what the state can do to build a stronger economy in every community: the 10 million people of North Carolina who deserve leadership that finds out what our state needs and what it will reasonably take to ...

Teacher advocates demand details on Senate pay plan

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 14:00
Last week, state Senate President Phil Berger trumpeted the announcement that his chamber’s budget proposal will include sizable raises for teachers. Now, with Senate leaders reportedly preparing to announce “highlights” of their budget plan this afternoon, progressive groups like Progress N.C. Action are calling for answers on how Berger and Senate GOP leaders plan to ...

The growing movement for sane gun violence policies: Don’t miss next Monday’s luncheon

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 11:47
Don’t miss next week’s very special Crucial Conversation luncheon: A year after the Charleston tragedy: Growing hope for saner anti-gun violence policies Register here It’s been nearly a year since the horrific tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina in which nine attendees at a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were shot down and ...

New study: Voucher students doing significantly worse than public school counterparts

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 10:20
Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Mark Dynarski is out with a new report that summarizes some damning new findings about the performance of students receiving school vouchers. The report, “On negative effects of vouchers,” looked at data from Indiana and Louisiana. This is from the executive summary: “Recent research on statewide voucher programs in Louisiana and ...

Editorial: It’s time to move past petty politics and clean up the coal ash mess

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 07:28
In case you missed it over the holiday weekend, the Greensboro News & Record featured a fine editorial about the confusing ongoing battle between the General Assembly and the Governor over coal ash. The basic message: stop the petty feuding over who’s in charge and get the damned job done. At present, the two sides  ...

Sigh…Texas congressman’s bizarre anti-LGBT speech gives voice to the spirit behind HB2 (Video)

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 09:52
In case you missed it last week, you should take a few minutes to check out some of the “highlights” of Texas congressman Louis Gohmert’s recent speech on the floor of the U.S House of Representatives. In it, the poor fellow neatly sums up much of the fear and ignorance that underlie laws like HB2. ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 13:30
1. Locking in North Carolina’s decline The 2017 budget promises nothing but more distress for North Carolina  Gov. Pat McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore love to boast that North Carolina is in the midst (or, perhaps, on the cusp) of a rousing economic “comeback.” Hardly a day goes ...

Rick Glazier: NCGA’s “never mind” budget lacking — fails, hurts North Carolina

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 11:57
Rick Glazier, Executive director of the North Carolina Justice Center, wrote an editorial that appeared in the News and Observer yesterday saying the budget from N.C. legislators falls short of not only meeting the needs of the state but also departs from a history of commitment to public investments like the state’s university system and ...

Research shows negative effects of school vouchers on student performance

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:17
Mark Dynarski of the Brookings Institution pointed to recent research of voucher programs in Louisiana and Indiana suggesting that students with vouchers to attend private schools perform worse on math and reading tests than their peers in public schools. Lack of adequate accountability may be one factor. Excerpt and link to full report below. Recent ...

Not again: Lawmakers unveil yet another polluter protection bill

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 06:15
Those who might have hoped that North Carolina corporate polluters and their political apologists had run out of basic environmental protection laws to raze should have known better. In this release from yesterday afternoon, Dustin Chicurel-Bayard over at the NC chapter of the Sierra Club explains how they’re back at it yet again: Revised bill ...

Will House move to eliminate minimum wage and overtime protections for seasonal workers?

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 16:29
In a surprise move yesterday, the House Finance Committee voted to eliminate state minimum wage and overtime protections for certain seasonal workers and amusement park employees. But a glimmer of hope remains for workers after key Republicans on the panel pledged to address concerns over the minimum wage and the bill was kept off the ...

Issues with HB 1080 set conditions for failure of Achievement School District

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 16:10
Yesterday, the House Education – K-12 Committee approved HB 1080, which would create an “achievement school district.”  Under the bill, five low-performing elementary schools would be selected to have their operation turned over to a charter school operator (an “AS operator”). There is no evidence that the ASD model works.  In Tennessee, ASD schools have not experienced ...

A new way forward on protecting workers in the gig economy

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 15:17
Uber’s major settlement last month illustrates the pressing need for regulatory action in the emerging “gig economy.” And a recent speech by Senator Elizabeth Warren last week shows us the direction that regulatory action should take. Cases brought by Uber drivers to district courts in California and Massachusetts throughout the past year have shed light ...

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