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Updated: 2 hours 46 min ago

The death penalty poll question they never ask

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 10:25

[Cross-posted from the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty blog] Last week’s Gallup poll showed us that Americans’ support for the death penalty continues to erode. Fifty-five percent said they are in favor of executing people, the lowest number in 45 years. That’s down from a high of 80 percent in the mid-1990s. ...

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Covington plaintiffs: Legislature should not get another opportunity to redraw districts

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 07:30

The plaintiffs in a racial gerrymandering case told a federal court Tuesday that lawmakers should not get another crack at redrawing districts that could still be unconstitutional. A three-judge panel at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina last week appointed a special master to help review and potentially redraw nine ...

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3-judge panel explains decision to dismiss Cooper lawsuit over Board of Elections, Ethics

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 20:09

The superior court panel that dismissed Gov. Roy Cooper’s second lawsuit over the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement said in an order released Tuesday that it lacked jurisdiction because of the political nature of the case. “When assessing a challenge to the constitutionality of legislation, this court’s duty is to determine whether the ...

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Three scary policy ideas that we are fighting this Halloween

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 16:30

This Halloween there are a lot of scary policy ideas out there that keep coming back from the dead. Some policymakers at both the state and federal level have been so relentless in their pursuit of policies that will hurt people and communities across our state that they want to change the very rules that ...

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Rep. Chris Millis received $1,000 from developer of controversial aquarium site shortly after larger project was announced

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 15:06

The financial connection became clearer today between a wealthy political donor and former Rep. Chris Millis, who secured state funding for a questionable aquarium project that could benefit that donor. But a timeline of events raises further legal and ethical questions about what at best is an unusual deal. On Oct. 1, $300,000 was added ...

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Following angry backlash in Robeson County, potential applicants for Innovative School District have second thoughts

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 13:00

With local opposition in Robeson County mounting to North Carolina’s controversial Innovative School District, one potential applicant for a state contract in the charter takeover program is backing out and another may soon follow. According to records obtained by Policy Watch, Communities in Schools (CIS) of Robeson County—a local affiliate of a state and national ...

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Legislators oppose special master, allege they have right to fix unconstitutional maps again

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 12:00

Appointing a special master in North Carolina’s ongoing racial gerrymandering case is premature at best and deprives the state and its legislature of due process, according to a new objection filed with the federal court. A three-judge panel last week appointed Stanford Law School professor Nathaniel Persily to help them further evaluate and possibly redraw nine state ...

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EPA chief Scott Pruitt appoints Donald van der Vaart to revamped, anti-reg Science Advisory Board

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 11:36

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today is expected to appoint Donald van der Vaart, the former NC Secretary of the Environment, to a key panel charged with giving scientific advice to the agency’s leadership. Van der Vaart is one of several new appointees to the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board; nearly all Pruitt’s picks have a history ...

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As Congress rushes to pass tax legislation, consider the impact to NC’s state and local taxes

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 10:11

Congress is very close to giving a tax bill to President Trump by the holidays that would allow the wealthiest to pay less in taxes and result in a bad deal for everyone else. As Congress rushes to make all of this happen, it is important to know that the tax framework released by President ...

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Youth Justice Center: North Carolina can do more improve juvenile justice system

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 07:30

The Youth Justice Center released a report yesterday that found the juvenile justice system in North Carolina falls short for more than 12,000 impacted children. Lawmakers voted earlier this year to pass “Raise the Age” legislation so that 16- and 17-year-olds are not automatically charged in the adult criminal system, but it will not be ...

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Extremely high levels of GenX, other perfluorinated compounds within Chemours plant prompt another DEQ warning

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 18:55

This is a developing story. Check back Tuesday for a follow up. Even though state environmental regulators two months ago urged Chemours to “reduce or eliminate” discharges of perfluorinated compounds into the Cape Fear River, test results released by the EPA today still show high levels of those chemicals in the wastewater produced inside the ...

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UNC Board of Governors meets this week, withholds records in runup

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 16:18

This week, Nov.2 and Nov. 3, the Board of Governors will be holding a number of committee and full board meetings in Chapel Hill. The board will meet in regular session 9:00 a.m. on Thursday and 9:00 a.m. on Friday in the Board Room of the UNC Center for School Leadership Development at 140 Friday Center Drive in Chapel Hill. There will also be three committee meetings ...

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Economist: NC tax cuts did little for the economy

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:20

The latest edition of the NC Justice Center’s Prosperity Watch series from Dr. Patrick McHugh offers yet another powerful indictment of the North Carolina General Assembly’s tax-cuts-uber-alles approach to governance. North Carolina’s experience shows that tax cuts provide little boost As lawmakers in Washington, D.C., debate changing the federal tax code, North Carolina provides a ...

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Monday morning good news: Even slanted Civitas poll finds strong support for single-payer health system

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 08:00

For those who may only pay occasional attention to such matters, it should be pointed out that the polls conducted by the right-wing, Raleigh-based Civitas Institute are often laughable slanted. While the “horse race” questions about various political contests and public approval of various officials are usually fairly straightforward — at least the questions themselves, ...

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ICYMI: Last week’s Top Five on Policy Watch

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 05:00

1. Federal court appoints special master to decide if NC racial gerrymanders remain unconstitutional A federal court has found it to be likely that lawmakers did not remedy unconstitutional racial gerrymanders in nine state House and Senate districts, and has appointed a special master to help it make a final determination. Stanford Law School professor ...

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FIRE, ACLU both express concerns about direction of UNC system “free speech” policy

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 15:30

It didn’t come as a surprise to many that the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern with a new a policy to “restore and preserve free speech” on UNC campuses. The policy, prompted by a nationwide conservative movement, is being crafted by the GOP-dominated UNC Board of Governors, leading civil liberties advocates to worry it may ...

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Superior Court panel’s response to Supreme Court in elections, ethics merge due soon

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 14:30

The deadline is fast approaching for a three-judge Superior Court panel to respond a request made by the state Supreme Court to provide further details in a battle between the Governor and the legislature over the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The Supreme Court ordered Sept. 1 that the Superior Court panel explain ...

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N.C. charter school leader hosts Dan Forest fundraiser attended by controversial evangelical minister

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 13:36

Tony Helton, one of North Carolina’s most influential charter school leaders, hosted a July fundraiser at his home for Lt. Gov. Dan Forest that was reportedly attended by an evangelical minister whose Rutherford County church has been accused of covering up sexual molestation and violent attempts to “purify” members of its congregation. Policy Watch confirmed ...

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A third of 110 private drinking water wells near Chemours tested high for GenX

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 11:14

NC Policy Watch has more coverage of yesterday’s meeting of the House Select Committee on River Quality. An assisting living home on Tranquility Road. Nine residences in one subdivision and three in another. Sampling from September show the extent — so far — of GenX contamination in private drinking water wells near the Chemours plant. ...

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Want a better economy? Make sure wealthy residents pay their fair share

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 09:23

States that require wealthy residents to reinvest in their communities did better over the past decade, according to a new report from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. States that collect more income taxes from wealthy people generally outperformed their peers that chose to give their most fortunate residents a comparative pass on supporting ...

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