NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Workers, like state lawmakers, need paid time off

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 08:24
A coalition of workers’ rights groups this week called on vacationing state lawmakers to pass legislation when they return to Raleigh that would require businesses to provide paid sick leave and family leave for their employees. Here is the way Alan Freyer, with the workers’ rights project of the N.C. Justice Center put it. “It ...

North Carolinians took to Twitter to tell lawmakers their vision for pending final budget deal

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 14:37
As state lawmakers negotiate behind closed doors on a final budget deal, North Carolinians came together on Twitter to have their say on the smart investments that will best move the state forward. North Carolinians know that if we want to build a more inclusive and prosperous state for everyone, the state budget is key ...

What transparency in redistricting looks like

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 12:56
The Florida Supreme Court ruled today that congressional districts redrawn by the Republican-controlled legislature violated a voter-approved constitutional amendment requiring nonpartisan map-drawing, and sent the voting maps back for a do-over. It’s an important decision for Florida voters, who’d made clear their distaste of politicized redistricting by approving the amendment. North Carolina, of course, has ...

DPI budget chief: school districts in a bind on whether to keep or let go of teacher assistants

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 11:40
The Department of Public Instruction’s budget chief told members of the State Board of Education Thursday that the number one issue local superintendents are wrestling with as they figure out how to fund their schools for the upcoming year is how to handle their teacher assistants. “It is a very big problem for school districts to ...

Greensboro votes to sue state over controversial law that restructures city council (w/ video)

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 10:44
Following an emotional two hour special hearing Wednesday night, Greensboro’s City Council voted (8-to-1) to sue the state over a new law that dramatically changes the council’s district boundaries. Mayor Nancy Vaughan blasted the process used by Senator Trudy Wade and other Republican legislators to muscle through House Bill 263. Vaughan noted significant constitutional issues ...

Teacher assistant layoffs begin as budget uncertainty remains

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 09:58
Layoffs at public schools have begun as local education officials wait for state lawmakers to return from vacation and come to a final agreement on the budget for the next two years. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that more than 30 TAs have already been let go from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and more layoffs might ...

Poll: Trump now top choice of NC’s Republican primary voters (video)

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 05:56
North Carolina Republicans voters don’t appear to be troubled by a recent slate of controversial remarks by Donald Trump. A new poll by Public Policy Polling finds Trump the top presidential choice of Republican primary voters across North Carolina. The latest poll shows Trump earning 16% of the vote — that compares to 12% for ...

Who accredits the for-profit colleges that scam students?

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 16:04
In case you missed it, I have a story on our main site today that takes a look at how the now-defunct for-profit Corinthian Colleges sold many students up a creek, including some North Carolina veterans who are saddled with big debts and worthless degrees and coursework. In response to the story, one reader questioned ...

Momentum is building in other states when it comes to strong tax credits for working families

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 15:26
Within the last month, policymakers in three states approved tax changes that will strengthen family economic security and support a stronger, more inclusive economy. Policymakers in New Jersey and Rhode Island approved expansions in their state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and California officials adopted its first state EITC, which goes to people that work ...

14 NC magistrates seek to opt of of performing same-sex marriages under SB2

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 12:44
The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that states can no longer block same-sex couples from getting married, but the ruling does not prevent some North Carolina magistrates from refusing to perform marriages under Senate Bill 2. SB2, that became law last month after legislators overrode Gov. McCrory’s veto, allows for magistrates to opt ...

Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque sentenced two years in prison for stealing $300K

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:34
Note: this post will be updated throughout the morning. Stephen LaRoque was sentenced to two years in prison this morning by a federal judge for stealing more than $300,000 from a federally-funded non-profit. He will self report to federal prison sometime in the next 30 days. LaRoque, a former Republican state representative from Kinston, pleaded ...

Greensboro considers legal options following ‘political revenge’ redistricting bill

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:16
The Greensboro City Council holds a special meeting this evening to discuss whether to legally challenge House Bill 263. The controversial bill that dramatically changes the council’s district boundaries was pushed through the House last week after a major rewrite and little notice to the public. Critics of the bill said at the very least ...

Rising up against voter suppression

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:07
Bob Geary  has put together the compelling reasons for folks to head to Winston-Salem Monday for the march and rally for voting rights on the first day of the federal court trial of the voter suppression law passed by the General Assembly in 2013. Geary reminds us that the law includes more than 50 pages ...

With the graying of North Carolina, a renewed focus on caregivers

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 15:34
If you’re caring for an older parent or have ever been in the position of finding a trusted caregiver for a family member, you won’t want to miss NC Policy Watch’s upcoming Crucial Conversation. On Monday, July 20th, state Rep. Yvonne Holley and Allan Freyer, director of the Workers’ Rights Project of the North Carolina ...

WUNC: Making the leap from textbooks to digital not so easy in NC

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 14:10
WUNC’s Reema Khrais reports that North Carolina’s support for classroom textbooks has dwindled to rock bottom—and while you might figure that students would instead have access to comparable educational materials in the digital world, making that transition is not happening very quickly and comes at a steep cost. Schools don’t have the money to buy books, ...

UNC asks court to stay affirmative action case pending U.S. Supreme Court review of similar Texas challenge

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 13:21
Attorneys for the University of North Carolina have asked U.S. District Judge Loretta C. Biggs in Winston-Salem to stay proceedings in the case challenging its admissions policies pending review by the U.S. Supreme Court of an affirmative action case out of Texas, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. How the high court rules next term in Fisher will have some ...

Former state Rep. LaRoque finds out sentence – probation or prison – tomorrow

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 11:45
Stephen LaRoque will find out his fate tomorrow, as a federal judge decides whether he should spend time in prison for stealing  $300,000 from a federally-funded non-profit. LaRoque, a former Republican state representative from Kinston who served in a leadership position, plead guilty earlier this year to the theft, shortly before a second trial was ...

Editorial: Senate’s budget proposals will make schools worse

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 11:04
Legislators hoping to enjoy a few days of R&R this week may find a less than warm homecoming from local educators in their districts. The Wilmington Star News writes in a Tuesday editorial: Teachers, it seems as if some North Carolina legislators really want you to move to another state. The state Senate’s budget plan ...

Vacationing Senator Tillman not worried about budget uncertainty at schools

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 07:14
Senator Jerry Tillman and the rest of the General Assembly are on vacation this week even though they have not finished their most important task of the summer, passing a state budget for the next two years. The delay is causing problems for school districts across the state as local education officials don’t know how ...

State Board of Education proposes interagency advisory panel to seek solutions for educating at-risk students

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 15:37
In response to a recent order stemming from a 20+ year old court case that requires all North Carolinian children to have access to a sound basic education, the State Board of Education submitted a plan with the court last week to address how it will ensure all students succeed academically — and that proposal includes ...

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