NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 15 min ago

BREAKING: Cooper pleased with initial Supreme Court order in critical elections board dispute with Berger and Moore

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 21:18

Just four days after the parties argued their cases before the state Supreme Court in the critically important dispute over control of the state and local elections boards, the justices handed Governor Roy Cooper a preliminary victory late Friday. Cooper’s challenge to the legislature’s takeover of elections boards was dismissed by a three-judge panel in ...

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Swine farm discharges waste into Trent River; DEQ investigating

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 18:02

An unknown amount of wastewater from a swine farm near the town of Comfort has spilled into the Trent River in Jones County, the NC Department of Environmental Quality announced late this afternoon. As a result, state officials are advising kayakers and boaters to avoid the Trent River downstream, particularly at the Chinqapin Chapel Road. ...

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State Board of Education to talk charter takeover model next week

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 15:30

Members of the State Board of Education will consider multiple policies next week governing a controversial program that would allow charter operators to assume control over selected low-performing schools. North Carolina lawmakers approved the program last year, citing an urgent need for reforms in some of the state’s most struggling schools, although critics pointed to ...

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This week’s top five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 15:00

1. Chemours discharging other chemicals besides GenX in Cape Fear River; EPA releases data to DEQ today As the House was winding down its debate on controversial legislation regarding GenX funding, federal and state environmental officials publicly released disturbing new data about other chemicals from the Chemours plant entering the Cape Fear River and downstream ...

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Lawmaker behind effort to impeach Secretary of State Elaine Marshall resigns

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 14:02

As readers will recall, one of the most bizarre and outrageous actions of the 2017 General Assembly was the utterly nonsensical attempt to initiate impeachment proceedings against North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. The effort was driven by a conservative eastern North Carolina lawmaker named Chris Millis. Today, Millis announced that he will resign ...

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The hypocrisy of House Bill 56, the junk drawer of environmental laws

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 11:11

The final day of the legislative session felt like the end of high season at the beach. The Senate had already adjourned for the next month, so by 9:30 a.m., the halls were largely empty, with even a light footstep creating an echo. The sergeants-at-arms, their faces placid, looked more bored than usual. Most of the ...

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New report: How NC sentenced two innocent men to death

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 10:13

One of the few bright spots on the North Carolina public policy landscape in recent years has been the ongoing hiatus in the application of  the death penalty. It’s been 11 years since the state of North Carolina executed anyone and, happily and not surprisingly, the murder rate has actually declined. In 2007, there were ...

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Gerrymandering at its ridiculous worst in “accommodation” for Dem senator

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 06:35

The lead editorial in the Fayetteville Observer is on the money this morning in blasting one of the latest absurd redistricting moves of the North Carolina General Assembly — this one, ironically, carried out by Republicans to “accommodate” a Democratic senator. In “Gerrymandering puts the wrong interest first,” the editorial writers explain how Republican mapmakers ...

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Update: DEQ Sec’y Regan says “all legal options” could be used on Chemours

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 14:54

NCPW reported on the EPA findings earlier today. Read the story and check back for updates. During a media call today, NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan said the state could subpoena Chemours’s company health and scientific studies on the unregulated compounds it’s discharging into the Cape Fear River. While that data is ...

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Fact sheet skewers NC legislature’s two-faced posturing on clean water

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 14:40

[Lisa Sorg will have more details on this developing story in this space shortly.] The General Assembly passed legislation today that purports to be about protecting North Carolinians from chemicals in the Cape Fear River. As multiple experts have noted, however, the issue is vastly more complex and potentially serious (and requires a much more ...

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Remembering Terry Sanford in today’s NC

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 13:00

Given North Carolina’s current political environment, writer Howard E. Covington Jr.’s recent remembrance of former Gov. Terry Sanford on the centennial of his birth is worth a read this week. Covington is the co-author with Marion A. Ellis of 1999’s  Terry Sanford: Politics, Progress, and Outrageous Ambition. In his recent piece, published in Greensboro’s News & ...

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NC public schools fight childhood hunger: Let’s hope the Right doesn’t find out

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 11:26

The latest NC Budget and Tax Center Prosperity Watch report is out and the subject is extremely timely: childhood hunger and some promising North Carolina public school initiatives to attack it. Let’s hope the programs highlighted in the report are nurtured and allowed  to grow. As has been reported on these page in previous years, ...

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Editorial: Critical that state Supreme Court invalidates legislature’s election power grab

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 07:09

As was explained in this post last week, the North Carolina Supreme Court heard one of the most important cases in many years this past Monday when it listened to the arguments of the parties in Cooper v. Berger and Moore — the governor’s challenge to the legislature’s attempt to steal his constitutional power to ...

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Late addition to HB 56 gives $435K to UNC Wilmington, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority — $0 to DEQ, DHHS

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 19:56

House Bill 56, already laden with the plastic bag ban and modified-but-still-controversial riparian buffer language, took on more freight Wednesday night with a $435,000 appropriation to combat GenX in the Cape Fear River. But that money would not go to the state environmental and health departments, for which Gov. Roy Cooper had requested a $2.58 ...

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Waterkeeper Alliance sues state agriculture department over public records request

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 15:38

  The Waterkeeper Alliance, known for its role as an environmental watchdog over industrialized hog farming practices, has filed a complaint against the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for allegedly violating the state’s Public Records Act. The dispute centers on whether the agency lawfully charged the alliance more than $2,000 to merely inspect ...

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Report dives into academic, enrollment struggles at North Carolina virtual charters

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 13:56

If you haven’t already, take the time to read WRAL’s deep-dive into North Carolina’s fledgling virtual charter schools, two programs run by for-profit companies that reported soaring withdrawal numbers and middling academic scores in their first years. The report highlights parents’ surveys, examining at least some of the reasons that nearly 2,500 students pulled out ...

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Retired judges of both parties: North Carolinians must fight to preserve independent judiciary

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 11:09

As NC Policy Watch reporter Melissa Boughton has detailed at great length in recent months, conservative efforts to transform the North Carolina court system from an independent branch of government into one that is partisan and subservient to the Republican leadership of the General Assembly continue apace. From the demise of public financing for judicial ...

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Supporters of UNC Civil Rights Center to hold week of action September 4-8

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 08:13

For caring and thinking North Carolinians looking for an immediate and close-to-home cause to rally around in the era of Trump, the good people defending the UNC Center for Civil Rights against conservative attacks are staging a week of action next week. This is from the event Facebook page: Stand with CCR: A Week of ...

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Redistricting maps advance – Democrats object, look toward courts

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 15:30

N.C. House and Senate redistricting committees voted to approve each others’ maps without debate Tuesday, moving controversial Republican redistricting maps forward. Democrats have made their objections known since last week’s debate but don’t have the votes to do much about the new maps. They predict the court will again weigh in on the redistricting schemes. ...

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Gov. Cooper touts increase in Pre-K funding, calls for additional funds

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 15:00

Gov. Roy Cooper spent Tuesday touting recent increases in funding for North Carolina’s state-run, Pre-K program, as well as reaffirming calls for additional cash in the years to come. As Ed N.C.‘s Alex Granados reported Tuesday morning, Cooper visited a Burlington school to talk about the program, which received funding for an additional 3,500 new ...

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