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 22 min ago

Wade criticizes governor as he votoes her newspaper bill

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:55

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation that would have led to Guilford County newspapers losing government advertising revenue. The bill, put forward by state Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford), did not pass with enough support to overturn a veto. It’s a political loss for Wade, who has had fierce struggles with the News & Record – the ...

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Leaked Trump administration document undermines assault on renewable energy, support for coal and nukes

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 08:25

There’s a fascinating story emerging from the Trump administration’s Department of Energy — you know the agency headed by that dancin’ fool and fossil fuel cheerleader Rick Perry. According to a leaked DOE draft report obtained by Bloomberg, many of the administration’s claims about renewable energy and fossil fuels are all wet. Here’s Think Progress ...

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State Board of Education to talk lawsuit, DPI budget cuts this week

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 16:57

North Carolina’s top public school board is expected to discuss state budget cuts and a possible appeal of a recent court decision granting new powers to Superintendent Mark Johnson Wednesday. State officials announced Wednesday’s conference call days after a three-judge panel sided with Johnson and state lawmakers in the board’s much-debated lawsuit. But, as if ...

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“People of NC require your protection”: Gov. Cooper urges EPA to quickly set a safety standard for GenX

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 15:19

Gov. Roy Cooper sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today seeking “urgent action to get us answers and solutions” about the health risks of GenX in drinking water. “We need the EPA to move more quickly to finalize its health assessment of GenX and set a maximum contaminant level for it,” Cooper wrote. ...

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Public hearings on Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Fayetteville, Rocky Mount focus on risks to water quality

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 13:20

  Aside from the risks of blasting, the threat to endangered and rare species, the potential for a natural gas leak or explosion, the possible disruption of Native American burial grounds, and the fragmentation of wildlife habitats and stream buffers because of clearcutting, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has another problem: Its construction and maintenance could ...

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ICYMI: Judges rule Board of Education failed to meet burden of proof in challenge to transfer of power case

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 12:41

The State Board of Education did not meet its burden of proof recently when arguing that lawmakers were unconstitutional when transferring power to newly elected Superintendent Mark Johnson, according to a three-judge panel. The panel that heard arguments in NC State Board of Education v. State of NC and Mark Johnson at the end of June issued ...

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Editorial blasts Superintendent Mark Johnson’s bizarre Putin-like blackout

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 07:00

In a story broken by NC Policy Watch reporter Billy Ball last week, it was revealed that the state’s new conservative schools superintendent has placed a virtual gag order on information sharing within his department. As Ball reported: “Multiple sources within the department, past and present, say the edict will slow or stop the dispersal ...

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Oh, those pesky facts: White House wrongfully attacks nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office

Sat, 07/15/2017 - 08:00

Non-partisan government agencies that often go unnoticed but are grounded in upholding principles such as accountability, integrity, and reliability include the U.S Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). You might recall that CBO is the office that recently analyzed the President’s proposed budget as well as the Senate’s proposed health care ...

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First sampling results of GenX in Cape Fear River are in; health officials revise risk levels

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 17:59

Initial sampling results of GenX in drinking water are in. They show that levels of the chemical far exceeded new — and drastically reduced — health department goals before Chemours stopped discharging most of its contaminated wastewater into the Cape Fear River. After water from the Cape Fear had been treated by public utilities, levels ...

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School choice advocates blast Duke voucher report as “flawed”

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 15:30

A North Carolina school choice advocacy group, Parents for Educational Freedom in N.C. (PEFNC),  is targeting a Duke report that shredded the state’s voucher program, calling the university’s March report, among other things, “flawed” and “misleading.” “The bottom line is this: We do not yet know how most scholarship students in North Carolina are performing ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 15:00

1. State School Superintendent muzzles communication from DPI A directive from Superintendent Mark Johnson to temporarily halt key listserv communications from the Department of Public Instruction has some concerned the order will chill the flow of information from North Carolina’s top public school agency. Policy Watch learned last week of Johnson’s command, which comes at ...

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Missed opportunities in the state budget (w/video)

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:07

Coming-up this weekend on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon, we hear from Rick Glazier, executive director of the NC Justice Center on missed opportunities in the 2017-19 state budget. For a preview of our radio interview, click below: The NC Budget & Tax Center also outlined several of the missed opportunities in a new brief ...

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DEQ inspectors: Chemours failed to stop all discharges of GenX into Cape Fear

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 10:59

Three weeks after Chemours reportedly stopped discharging contaminated wastewater into the Cape Fear River, state environmental inspectors found GenX was still entering the water. On June 27, the NC Department of Environmental Quality verified that Chemours had halted the discharge of contaminated wastewater, based on an onsite inspection of the Fayetteville facility. But this week, ...

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BREAKING: First Amendment wins in new Court of Appeals government prayer decision

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 09:33

There’s great news just in from the folks at the ACLU of North Carolina: RICHMOND, Va. – The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today ruled 10-5 that the commissioners of Rowan County, North Carolina, violated the Constitution when they opened public meetings by coercing public participation in prayers that overwhelmingly advanced ...

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BCRAP: Latest acronym for Senate health care bill says it all

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 06:47

A statement issued yesterday afternoon by the good people at the North Carolina Justice Health Advocacy Project put things plainly and bluntly in describing the latest dreadful U.S. Senate healthcare proposal: Statement: New Better Care Reconciliation Act Proposal Is the Same Old BCRAP Bill Still Guts Health Care for Low-Income Kids & Older Adults, While ...

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Three-judge panel sets hearing to decide timeline, special election in racial gerrymandering case

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 21:22

A federal three-judge panel has set a July 27 hearing to consider a timeline for North Carolina lawmakers to redraw unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered maps. The panel will also consider ordering special elections as a remedy to the constitutional violation, according to the order issued late Thursday night. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s ...

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CBO on President Trump’s Budget: Proposed policies lack details, drastic budget cuts won’t solve debt issue

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 18:30

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its first analysis of President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget and it is worth noting that CBO could not provide a comprehensive analysis of the effects of the proposed policies in the President’s budget because many of them do not contain the details necessary to assess those effects. Throughout ...

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Trump taps local GOP attorney to fill long-time federal judicial vacancy in eastern NC

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 17:15

President Donald Trump announced today that he plans to nominate local GOP attorney Thomas Farr to fill the nation’s longest running federal judicial vacancy, located in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The federal judgeship has been vacant for over 11 years and long been referred to as a judicial ...

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DEQ, DHHS at loggerheads again, still bickering over drinking water risks of hexavalent chromium

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 15:28

  P eople living near Duke Energy coal plants — Roxboro, Mayo and Belew’s Creek, in particular — don’t know whom or what to believe. In 2015, state health officials said their drinking water was unsafe because of contamination from hexavalent chromium in their wells. Months later, top state health and environmental officials, even Gov. ...

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Disappointing: Cooper signs bill that unfairly targets farmworkers

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 13:12

One supposes that Gov. Roy Cooper feels he has to pick his battles carefully these days given the hard realities at the General Assembly, where Republicans hold “veto proof” majorities in both the House and the Senate.  That said, the Guv’s decision today to approve farm legislation that, among other things, unfairly targets farmworkers and ...

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