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Cooper stays calm and collected; says “no” to referenda on basic rights as opponents take the low road yet again

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 07:00

You’ve got to hand it to Gov. Roy Cooper. The man has the patience of Job and the always calm patience of of a Zen master. His opponents keep blowing their cool and firing ridiculous rhetorical stink bombs at him and the Guv just keeps chugging along; quietly and soberly rolling the boulder up the ...

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As senators subpoena Cooper cabinet pick, experts weigh legal options, potential outcomes

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 17:55

Larry Hall, a former legislator and Gov. Roy Cooper’s choice to head the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, has been subpoenaed by a Senate committee but he may not be legally obligated to appear. The Marine Corps veteran has become somewhat of a pawn in the political spectacle that is the power struggle between ...

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CBPP Reports: North Carolina and 49 Other States Would Be Harmed Under Current Proposals to Restructure Medicaid

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 15:32

Today, the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (CBPP) released two reports on the impacts of Congressional Republicans’ recent plans to cap and cut Medicaid and end the expansion of that program to provide health care coverage for those who would otherwise not have it. The conclusions of both reports indicate that restructuring Medicaid under ...

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This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 14:30

1. Republicans target non-surgical abortions in latest move to restrict reproductive rights North Carolina Republican legislators appear to have found a new way to interfere with women’s reproductive rights – this time potentially eliminating the option of a non-invasive abortion for women during the first trimester of pregnancy. House Bill 62 would require doctors to ...

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This Week in Pollution: A big fine for the Mt. Olive Pickle Company

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 14:20

For 24 of its 91 years in business, the Mt. Olive Pickle Company illegally discharged industrial storm water through a pipe that emptied onto Vine Street and flowed along Cucumber Boulevard. From there, an untold number of gallons — but over 24 years, it was likely in the millions — of untreated water continued to the corner of Relish and ...

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Two months after Rolesville High, Wake leaders want to rethink role of campus cops

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 13:23

Nearly two months after a video of a violent altercation between a school resource officer (SRO) and a Rolesville high schooler spurred outrage, a small panel of Wake County leaders urged a fundamental rethinking of on-campus cops’ role, as well as a greater investment in school counselors, nurses and mentors. Panel members—addressing an estimated 150 or ...

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Conservative hypocrisy front and center again on issue of state employees and job tenure

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 11:13

This morning’s big story in Raleigh’s News & Observer concerns the actions of Pat McCrory to make hundreds of political appointees into career state employees right before he left office. This is from reporter Colin Campbell’s story, “Before leaving office, McCrory protected 908 state jobs from political firings”: After McCrory took office in 2013 as ...

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NC DEQ and Attorney General withdrawing from Clean Power Plan lawsuit

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 10:25

For once, North Carolina wants to quit a lawsuit rather than file or join one. Late yesterday afternoon NC Attorney General Josh Stein announced he has asked a federal district court to allow the state to withdraw from a lawsuit against the EPA over the Clean Power Plan. Stein acted on behalf of DEQ Secretary Michael Regan. ...

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Editorials: So-called repeal of HB2 doesn’t get the job done

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 08:13

The editorial pages of two major newspapers added their names this morning to the long and growing list of critics of the so-called repeal legislation for HB2 that was introduced in the state House this week. Here’s the Charlotte Observer “Opinions are flying about [the proposal] but here are the facts: It provides no protections ...

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House GOP advances school funding task force, reject calls to guarantee diverse membership

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 15:45

As expected, the N.C. House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved draft legislation launching a school funding task force, but only after Republican backers shot down pleas from Democrats to guarantee fair representation on the pivotal panel from both minorities and Democrats. “There’s no indication we’re going to get off the tracks,” said Rep. Craig Horn, a Union ...

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Back from the dead: Environmental bills weaken stream protections, billboard regulations

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 15:12

Like Chucky the doll, regulatory reform legislation will not die. Although  a regulatory reform bill succumbed to political disagreements in the final throes of last year’s session, a new(ish) measure, Senate Bill 131, was filed today. It mixes portions of last year’s lemon with another failed enviro bill from 2016: laying the groundwork to pull the plug on TV and computer recycling, exempting ...

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Hall faces subpoena in Senate confirmation fight

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 14:42

Former N.C. Rep. Larry Hall will face a subpoena to appear before the N.C. Senate Commerce committee for a confirmation hearing. The committee voted to issue the subpoena Thursday after Hall, who has been acting as Secretary of Military and Veteran’s affairs, did not appear at a scheduled hearing. It was the third time the ...

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North Carolina Democrats introduce bills to bolster citizen review boards, expand hate crime protections

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 11:30

North Carolina lawmakers have introduced a bill that would give cities the authority to allow citizen review boards investigatory and subpoena powers. House Bill 165 is sponsored by Representatives Rodney Moore (D-Mecklenburg) and Amos Quick III (D-Guilford) and would also give cities the power to establish citizen review boards without having to first get permission from ...

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Second chance advocate: Why Christians should oppose mass incarceration

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 10:51

One of the few areas in which progressives and conservatives have managed to find some areas of common ground in the world of public policy in recent years revolves around the issue of reducing massing incarceration and promoting second chances for the formerly incarcerated. The growing momentum in North Carolina for raising the age at ...

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Making discrimination permanent: Why the latest HB2 proposal is no compromise

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 07:08

As Melissa Boughton reported last night in the post immediately below, a group of House lawmakers proposed legislation yesterday that purports to “repeal” HB2. Here’s why the proposal is ridiculous and deserves the widespread derision it has thus far received: #1 – It doesn’t actually repeal the old law’s most infamous prohibition – Instead of ...

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2 Republicans, 2 Democrats file HB2 repeal forbidding cities from regulating bathroom access; Cooper expresses concern

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 17:17

Two Republicans and two Democrats have introduced a bill that would repeal House Bill 2 but forbid cities and municipalities from regulating access to multiple occupancy bathrooms, to showers and to changing facilities. Representatives Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Ted Davis Jr. (R-New Hanover), Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland) and Ken Goodman (D-Hoke, Montgomery, Richmond, Robeson, Scotland) are sponsoring the ...

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Bills, threats recall NC’s militia movement of the 1990s

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:09

Worth your time today: Susan Ladd, columnist for the News & Record in Greensboro, writing about how a recent story about conservatives calling for violence against Muslims at a meeting in Kernersville is eerily reminiscent of the 1990s militia movement. From Ladd’s column: If you are inclined to laugh at the picture of Tea Party ...

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House GOP rebuffs call for gender, racial diversity on school funding task force

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 15:48

State House Republicans leading the push to assemble a school funding reform task force rejected calls from at least one Democrat Wednesday that lawmakers assure gender and racial diversity on the pivotal task force. The debate came as House legislators gave their tentative approval to create a task force of 18 lawmakers, although the draft of House ...

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Sheriffs, anti-gun control group have tangled before

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 15:43

If you haven’t yet read today’s story on two new gun bills that seek to do away with concealed carry permits in North Carolina, you should. We also have an update for you. On Wednesday Rep. Rena Turner (R-Iredell) filed House Bill 174. It would allow concealed carry on church-school properties outside of school hours. ...

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House passes bill to add party labels to Superior, District court judicial elections

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 15:17

The North Carolina House voted 65-51 today to pass a bill that would make Superior and District Court judicial elections partisan again. House Bill 100 will now go to the Senate for a vote. If passed, all of North Carolina’s judicial elections would become partisan since lawmakers already added party labels back into Supreme Court judicial ...

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