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Columnist: Bigoted and small-minded are on the wrong side of history

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 09:30
In case you missed it, there was a great and hopeful essay in Sunday’s Fayetteville Observer by physician J. Wayne Riggins that ought to be a “must read” for caring and and thinking people everywhere — particularly in light of yesterday’s horror in Orlando. The central message: we haven’t yet overcome ignorance and bigotry, but ...

North Carolinians Against Gun Violence: Three things you can do in response to Orlando

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 07:01
In response to this weekend’s horror in Orlando, the good people at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence have distributed a brief memo that spells out three things you can do in response: “Communities across the country are reeling from the shootings that claimed 50 lives in Orlando early yesterday morning. A gunman with an AR-15 ...

Deadliest mass-shooting in US underscores need for stronger, saner gun policies (full video)

Sun, 06/12/2016 - 11:15
As we learn more about the tragic events unfolding in Orlando, we are posting the full video of this week’s Crucial Conversation on lessons learned one year after the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, South Carolina. NC Policy Watch would like to thank State Senator Floyd McKissick, Rev. Kylon Middleton, and Rev. ...

Read fine print: How the state Senate spends federal the dollars in its budget

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 15:05
When state lawmakers put together a budget proposal, they decide how to spend state dollars on the public investments that help children, families, and communities thrive. These are things like public education, public health and safety, and transportation services and programs. Lawmakers also allocate federal aid that is passed to the state in the form ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 14:00
1. The increasingly intense effort to dismantle public education Long after this session of the General Assembly has adjourned it will be remembered for more than just the specter of discrimination that hung over the proceedings thanks to the sweeping anti-LGBT law HB2 that was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory a month before ...

More “clarity” adds to tax shift taking place in North Carolina

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 13:50
North Carolinians are paying more in sales taxes than they did a few years ago. Lower income North Carolinians continue to pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes compared to the wealthy. This is a result of state leaders’ deliberate efforts to create a state tax system that relies much ...

HB2 update: NC asks federal court to keep anti-transgender provisions of law in effect

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 12:32
As rumors circulate about a deal to repeal part of HB2, the state is doubling down on its defense of and commitment to the discriminatory law. This is just in from the good folks at the ACLU of North Carolina: In court documents filed yesterday, North Carolina and the University of North Carolina system argue ...

Today’s must read: NC’s cruel and counterproductive policies toward immigrant kids

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 10:27
Be sure to take a few minutes today to read Burgetta Eplin Wheeler’s excellent essay in Raleigh’s News & Observer about North Carolina’s knuckle-headed policies toward immigrant children looking to attend college. As Wheeler explains in “Stomping on the dreams of deserving students,” North Carolina remains part of a shrinking group of states that require ...

Federal Court of Appeals: No absolute right to carry concealed weapons; NC lawmaker proposes amendment to guarantee right

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 08:17
The Second Amendment to the Constitution affords Americans no guaranteed right to carry concealed weapons. So ruled the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, yesterday in a lengthy and well-reasoned 7-4 opinion. Mark Joseph Stern of Slate magazine reports: On Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the Constitution does not grant ...

Parents, school leaders, legislators push to block controversial charter funding bill

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 14:54
House Bill 539 began innocuously enough last year, taking up public access to school playgrounds, Sherrie Cannoy points out. Cannoy, a parent with a daughter in the Randolph County public school system, notes it’s this version that passed the N.C. House unanimously last year. The dramatically Senate-revamped version that landed in the House Education Committee Thursday bore ...

Read the fine print—Key policy choices in the Senate budget

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 10:44
The state budget includes more than just spending decisions on crucial public investments such as education, public health, safety, and transportation. It also includes policy decisions—known as special provisions—that in many cases “follow the money” to clarify how state agencies should use state funds and federal aid. In other cases, the budget includes policy decisions ...

WUNC story highlights Burr’s “pathetic” blockade of African-American judicial nominees

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 10:07
While the blockade of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland continues to draw well-deserved national headlines, the ongoing blockade of nominees to serve on the federal bench in North Carolina’s Eastern District (the longest such blockade in the country by four years) remains in the spotlight as well. Reporter Jeff Tiberii of WUNC radio has the ...

Advocates call for state health director to be fired over coal ash misdeeds

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 07:08
In case you missed it, the progressive advocacy group Progress NC is calling on state health director Randall Williams to resign or be fired by Governor Pat McCrory. This is from a letter the group distributed late yesterday afternoon: “State Health Director Dr. Randall Williams needs to resign his position effective immediately. If he doesn’t, ...

The key to transformative Medicaid reform is Medicaid expansion

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 15:39
Last week, providers, policymakers, NC DHHS administrators, and Governor McCrory enjoyed publicity as the governor signed off on the 1115 waiver application to reform North Carolina’s Medicaid system during a press event. In his letter to US DHHS Secretary Burwell, Gov. McCrory writes that the 1115 waiver “will allow North Carolina to implement innovative reforms to Medicaid and ...

Senate committee advances math curriculum reforms, but not without concessions to critics

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 14:45
One day after some teachers and advocates for children with disabilities skewered a Senate proposal for high school math curriculum reforms, leaders in a key Senate committee approved a version of the new bill Wednesday with some notable concessions to critics. House Bill 657 was originally written to study fixed tuition costs at UNC system schools, but ...

Hispanic advocates speak out against bill banning unofficial IDs for immigrants

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 13:57
Leaders of El Pueblo are criticizing a legislative committee’s decision to pass House Bill 1069, legislation that prevents local police authorities from recognizing community IDs for undocumented citizens. Here’s El Pueblo’s official statement on on Wednesday’s vote by the House Regulatory Reform Committee: Sponsors of the recently proposed HB 1069 and its supporters are firmly ...

Minneapolis moves ahead of North Carolina on paid leave

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 11:28
The Minneapolis city council recently voted unanimously to implement an ordinance requiring businesses to offer paid sick leave. Despite numerous opportunities, the North Carolina General Assembly has not taken similar steps to let workers take paid time off when sick, welcoming the birth or adoption of a new child, or recovering from a long-term illness. ...

The fallout of income tax cuts continues to ripple through North Carolina communities

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 10:26
There is now more news that state income tax cuts are forcing local governments to pursue bad deals as they scramble to deliver basic services. While state leaders claim to be looking out for rural North Carolina, it is ever clearer that income tax cuts put many local governments and residents in a bind. Tax ...

The most outrageous gerrymandering statistic from yesterday’s election

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 09:24
Yesterday’s second North Carolina primary election of 2016 was a ridiculous affair in a lot of ways. The absurd ads and cringe-inducing claims of the various candidates — perhaps most notably in the second congressional district, where it often seemed the candidates in the GOP primary were doing all they could to imitate the tone ...

Not surprisingly, NC House headed the wrong way on police body camera issue

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 07:22
As WRAL reported last evening, the the state House is advancing a bill to prevent the public from gaining access to law enforcement information that ought to be public. “A bill that would prevent video from police body cameras and dashboard cameras from disclosure under state public records laws cleared a House committee Wednesday and ...

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