NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 12 min ago

McCrory administration admits human role in climate change as it opposes efforts to combat it

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 10:47
In the through-the-looking-glass world inhabited by modern American politicians and activists of the right, climate change and the contributing role played by humans and their consumption of carbon-based fuels is a left-wing myth. Like the fierce tobacco defenders of the last century who for so long loudly proclaimed that the jury was still out on ...

NYT op-ed: Carolina Rising spending on Tillis “a new low in campaign finance”

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 07:50
Robert McGuire of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has a fine essay in this morning’s New York Times in which he dissects and decries the absurd circumstances surrounding the “charitable activities” of Carolina Rising, the nonprofit “social welfare organization” that spent millions of dollars last year (almost all of it from one undisclosed person) ...

UNC Board of Governors chairman resigns

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 13:36
Just days after praising the selection of next president of the University of North Carolina -system, John Fennebresque has resigned his seat on the UNC Board of Governors, effective immediately. Fennebresque was widely criticized for the process used to select Margaret Spellings, with faculty, students, and even members of the board complaining they had been ...

GOP leaders strain to explain flip-flop on pork barrel spending

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 10:08
Not too many years ago Republicans railed against provisions in the state budget put together by the Democratic majority that benefited specific parts of state, calling them pork barrel spending. They charged it was a waste of taxpayer money and an abuse of power by legislative leaders. But it turns out pork barrel spending is ...

McCrory aptly signs Polluter Protection Act late Friday when no one was watching

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 09:30
You’d think if he was going to sign a bill that’s been widely condemned in editorials across the state and decried by every major environmental organization in North Carolina, he’d at least have the courage to stand up, face the cameras and explain himself. Unfortunately, that’s not how Pat McCrory rolls. Instead the Guv simply ...

The best op-ed of the weekend

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 07:48
Not surprisingly, it was Gene Nichol’s regular contribution to Raleigh’s News & Observer in which he shines a light on the General Assembly’s cold and shoddy decision to punish poor people by slashing the state’s already inadequate Legal Aid budget. As is so often the case with conservative attacks on Legal Aid, this year’s budget ...

Former U.S. Ed. Sec. Spellings chosen as new UNC president, gets big salary package and tackles questions about background

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 15:58
North Carolina has a new president of its public university system, former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Spellings, who were hired at a special meeting Friday of the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors, will replace Tom Ross, who had led the 17-campus system since 2011 until he was ousted in January for reasons ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 15:15
1.  Cutting through the confusion about McCrory and coal ash It’s probably getting tough for most people to keep up with all the court cases, settlements, and fines surrounding coal ash contamination at sites across North Carolina owned by Duke Energy. Every week seems to bring another proceeding or ruling or lawsuit. Governor Pat McCrory ...

Voter ID claims move forward in federal voting law cases

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 15:12
In proceedings held this morning in the pending federal voting rights cases, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder denied the state’s request to dismiss voter ID claims, saying that the law’s challengers still had remedies available to them should they establish a disproportionate impact upon African-American and Latinos. The decision came after the state rejected efforts ...

Trending today across #NC – the next President of the @UNC_System

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 14:05
New #UNC Pres Margaret Spellings pledges every NCian will have access to higher education, including minority students (1/2) — Sarah Ovaska (@SarahOvaska) October 23, 2015 Femnebresque: "I don't usually get tears in my eyes but I have them today." #ncpol #UNC @WNCN — Beau Minnick (@BeauMinnick) October 23, 2015 #UNC Faculty: New president comes ...

Spellings outlines ‘shared promise’ and challenges as UNC system president-elect (video)

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 13:38
Margaret Spellings reached out to faculty, legislators, business leaders, and families in her opening remarks Friday as the president-election of the University of North Carolina system. Spellings takes over the helm in March of 2016.

Claim justifying more tax cuts not supported by facts

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 12:20
The latest quarterly revenue report by the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division (FRD) highlights that tax cuts do not explain the better-than-projected income tax revenue collections for the most recent fiscal year 2015. According to FRD, two factors likely affected income tax collections for the most recent fiscal year. Corporate taxable profits accelerated as wages ...

Running up the legal tab in the same-sex marriage cases

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 12:04
Add another $45,000 to the tab that legislative leaders ran up in attorneys fees and costs chasing their same-sex marriage opposition in the courts,  even in the face of rulings rejecting marriage bans as unconstitutional. In addition to the fees and costs incurred by the leaders’ own attorneys, taxpayers will now also be on the hook for ...

State says no deal on voter ID claims in federal actions

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 09:44
Parties in the federal voting rights cases are back in court this morning to discuss what to do about the pending voter ID claims that U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder had carved out of the July trial, in light of a last minute amendment to the voting law adopted in late June. That amendment allows voters lacking ...

UNC to announce new system president today, catch up with what’s happened so far

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 09:13
It’s a big day for the University of North Carolina system, and the state, with the official selection of the next president of the 17-campus system. Margaret Spellings, who served as U.S. Education Secretary under President George W. Bush, is widely anticipated to be this afternoon’s choice. She doesn’t have a background in higher education, ...

We are citizens, Governor, not customers

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 06:39
In case you missed it, columnist Susan Ladd of the Greensboro News & Record hit a home run this week with an outstanding essay entitled “We are citizens of North Carolina, not customers.” Here’s Ladd: “I’m not a customer. I thought it was an odd choice of words when Gov. Pat McCrory first said on the ...

The explosive growth in “temp” work and the threat it poses to us all

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 16:15
Our new report, “The Age of Contingent Employment: How changes in employment relationships are impacting worker wages, power and prospects”, highlights the explosive growth of the use of temporary staffing agencies to supply workers and how that harms our economy. Meanwhile, a heart-wrenching piece on the Huffington Post today shows just how devastating temp work ...

This week’s most hopeful NC news story: Prominent meteorologist comes around on climate change

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 13:26
Most readers have probably already seen something about this story as it has been public in one form or another for weeks, but it seems worth reiterating and celebrating today after it received front page treatment in yesterday’s edition of Durham’s Indy Week. I speak, of course, of the recent actions and statements of Greg ...

UNC Faculty Assembly blasts UNC BOG, secretive search for new president

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 11:52
The University of North Carolina’s Faculty Assembly issued a strongly worded statement Friday, saying that the system’s governing board has repeatedly ignored faculty input and pushed forward a secretive process to find a new leader. (For more about the expected presidential announcement tomorrow, read my story from earlier today here.) The Faculty Assembly, which represents ...

Why in the world does Gov. McCrory keep evicting good people from events in public places?

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 09:36
Another day, another average North Carolinian removed from an event featuring the state’s governor in a public venue for no good reason. The Kinston Free Press has the latest story: “Tharol Branch, a candidate for Kinston City Council, was arrested Wednesday after being removed from an invitation-only speaking event for Gov. Pat McCrory at Lenoir ...