NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 1 hour 44 min ago

Governor’s poor salesmanship allows General Assembly to confuse the teacher pay debate

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 07:28

Imagine getting two job offers. The first job offer would provide a raise of ten percent while the second would provide a raise of 9.6 percent. Obviously, a full ten percent raise is better, but it’s probably fair to describe both offers as “effectively the same.” According to the North Carolina Republican party, North Carolina’s ...

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Prosperity Watch: Looking at LGBTQ equality in NC

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 16:44

June is Pride month and the N.C. Justice Center’s Budget and Tax Center is looking at LGBTQ in North Carolina – and just how far off it seems to be. This week’s Prosperity Watch highlights the Movement Advancement Project’s startlingly low score for LGBTQ equality in the state. From the Prosperity Watch piece: North Carolinians ...

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More than one-in-ten North Carolinians would lose health coverage under Senate bill

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 14:35

A lot of people have already heard the Congressional Budget Office’s staggering prediction that 22 million Americans would lose health insurance coverage under the Senate Trumpcare proposal. What many may not have heard, however, is that more than 1.3 million would lose coverage in North Carolina. That’s more than one out of every 10 North ...

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“The military isn’t here today to defend itself”: at last minute, four-year moratorium on wind energy emerges in House Bill 589

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 12:51

H ouse Bill 589, a piece of complex renewable energy legislation, was supposed to epitomize the spirit of cooperation. As the bill was unveiled on April 5, lawmakers heralded a nearly year-long process in which representatives from the utilities and clean energy industries hammered out a measure that, while imperfect, they could nonetheless agree on. But ...

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Despite increases, N.C. public education funding still lags, advocates say

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 09:45

Despite modest increases in teacher pay and classroom funding bundled in the General Assembly’s now-approved budget, North Carolina public education spending still lags far behind pre-recession levels, advocates at the state’s legislative building argued Monday. “Even though our economy continues to recover, our public schools are facing a permanent recession caused by Republican lawmakers who ...

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Republicans, inspired by Ayn Rand, and Democrats, sticking up for trees, join forces to kill billboard bill

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 08:45

A fter an hour-long debate last night that contained references to both Ayn Rand and The Twilight Zone, HB 581, aka the billboard bill, failed by a 49-66 vote. Thirty Republicans and 36 Democrats voted against the measure; 43 Republicans and six Democrats voted for it. The bill was sponsored by Harnett County Republican David Lewis. ...

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Sen. Al Franken: Trumpcare tax cuts for just 400 families could provide 750,000 Americans with Medicaid (video)

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 08:29

Judd Legum at Think Progress has a great article this morning (“Franken destroys Republican talking point on Trumpcare using science”) in which he explores the devastating impact that Trumpcare Medicaid cuts will have on average Americans. In the article, Legum highlights a brief and excellent video featuring Minnesota senator, Al Franken (see below), in which ...

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Would the U.S. Senate healthcare bill affect NC’s budget in a negative way? Definitely, here’s why…

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 16:00

The Senate GOP has released its proposed healthcare bill, and analysis shows that it would cut federal Medicaid spending even more over the next ten years than the House passed health plan. How much more? $467.4 billion. This cost shift to the states would cause greater state budget shortfalls: Instead of North Carolina losing at ...

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How to make a program irrelevant: The N.C. Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 15:35

If you want a program which “advocate(s) actions which increase opportunities for historically underutilized businesses and promotes diversity and inclusion in state government procurement and contracting” to not do its job, you do it quietly. The Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Office was established by Executive Order 150 in an effort to remedy past and ongoing ...

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EPA spent $3.7 million to clean up Wake Forest contamination; those responsible pay just $500

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 14:45

  It’s been more than 10 years since 20 households in a Wake Forest subdivision learned their drinking water wells were contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals, TCE and PCE — some at 20 times the maximum contaminant level. Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency, in concert with state environmental officials, has spent $3.7 million to provide bottled ...

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Surprise! Justin Burr announces maps on Twitter that would overhaul judicial, prosecutorial districts

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 13:37

Rep. Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly) sent the legal community scrambling Sunday night when he tweeted out new prosecutorial and judicial district maps lawmakers will consider implementing this session. “Attached are the maps for the PCS to HB 717 which will be heard tomorrow at 4 pm in Judiciary 1. #ncleg #ncpol,” tweeted Burr, who did ...

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Gov. Cooper announces he will veto state budget

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:54

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Monday that he will veto the budget passed by state legislators, calling it “short-sighted” and “small-minded.” The veto, which Cooper said would come by the end of the day Monday, will be only the second budget veto by a governor in North Carolina history. The first, Governor Bev Perdue in 2011, ...

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He’s back? A little friendly career advice for Pat McCrory

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 10:13

Dear Pat, Hey there, stranger! It’s been a little minute since we last caught up. I see you’re out and about again, once more to the hustings and all that. It hurts me that no one has told you what you so clearly need to hear. I say this to you in a completely non-partisan ...

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The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 07:00

In case you missed it, the Charlotte Observer ran a concise, excellent and very important editorial over the weekend on a subject of terrible importance that has not gotten much attention during this year’s state policy battles. It concerns extremely dangerous legislation at the General Assembly that would formally call for a national constitutional convention. ...

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Climate change throws shade on five vulnerable tree species in North Carolina

Sun, 06/25/2017 - 11:50

The Carolina Hemlock has enough problems. The tree, which is native to the Appalachian Mountains, is under attack by the voracious hemlock wooly adelgid. And now climate change, with its attendant extremes in temperature and precipitation, also threatens the tree, which is found only in North Carolina and a smattering of places in Virginia. A study ...

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State Supreme Court Chief Justice makes call for judicial merit selection instead of elections

Sat, 06/24/2017 - 15:27

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin called on the General Assembly today to introduce a constitutional amendment to change judicial elections to a judicial merit selection process. He made remarks today at the North Carolina Bar Association’s annual meeting in Asheville. “Now I know that there’s never a good time to talk about merit ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 14:55

1. Don’t be misled by the headlines or the spin; the final budget is far worse than it looks Most of the initial headlines about the final budget agreement announced Monday afternoon by legislative leaders were ones they could have written themselves, touting raises for teachers and state employees, a cost of living increase for ...

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Expert: Final state budget disregards NC’s growing needs, uncertainty of Trump budget (video)

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 14:06

Coming-up this weekend on News &Views with Chris Fitzsimon, we sit down with NC Budget & Tax Center (BTC) director Alexandra Sirota to discuss the winners and losers of this year’s joint budget agreement. Sirota notes that elimination of funding for Legal Aid services and the failure to help Eastern North Carolina fully recover from ...

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This Week in Pollution: Randolph Packing cattle slaughter plant in Asheboro fined $48,000

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 13:25

The Environmental Protection Agency has fined Randolph Packing, a cattle slaughter plant in Asheboro, $48,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act. According to a consent agreement with the company, Randolph Packing had violated the terms of its federal wastewater discharge permit for five years. From 2011 to 2016, the company discharged “industrial stormwater” into ...

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Medicaid is the single largest source of care for Americans with mental health, substance abuse disorders

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 12:42

The N.C. House and Senate have voted through their joint budget and it does not strengthen Medicaid nor call for its expansion to help the most vulnerable North Carolinians. At the same time, the closely guarded U.S. Senate health care bill written entirely behind closed doors is finally out and it too does not strengthen ...

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