NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 16 min ago

Self-imposed revenue crisis playing out in state’s court system and beyond

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 13:17
The Charlotte Observer reports of the strain on the state’s court system in the wake of state budget cuts in recent years. The state’s court system is expected to run out of funding for jury pay by April of next year, the Charlotte Observer highlights. The ability of the state’s court system to operate effectively ...

Rep. McHenry brags about slashing EPA that’s helping McCrory with coal ash

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 13:17
Politicians of both political parties in Washington are scrambling to defend their support of the pork-barrel-laden budget bill that funds the federal government for the rest of the year—and predictably gives Wall Street a huge break. North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry defended his support of the bill in an especially troubling way, bragging in his weekly ...

Get your health insurance TODAY

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 10:48
If you don’t have affordable health insurance through an employer then now is your chance to shop for a plan on the individual market. New options are now available and many people can get help paying premiums. In fact, in 2014 more than 90 percent of people who enrolled in an insurance plan through healthcare.gov ...

Senator Berger gets closeup view of his own education cuts

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 10:40
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger does’t have to go very far to see the effect of the education budgets he and his Republican colleagues in Raleigh have passed in the last four years. The Winston-Salem Journal reported this weekend that the schools in Berger’s home county of Rockingham are struggling with the very basics. ...

Just in: US. Supreme Court affirms NC Supreme Court in Heien

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 10:22
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning that a traffic stop is justified if based upon an officer’s reasonable but mistaken belief that a violation has occurred, affirming the state Supreme Court in State v. Heien. The 8-1 decision, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting,  is here.  

School voucher case gets fast-tracked

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 10:05
Late last week the state Supreme Court moved on the school voucher case now pending there, allowing the State Education Assistance Authority to undertake administrative steps needed to get the program on track for an August 2015 disbursement of funds, but otherwise keeping in place an order preventing any such disbursement until the justices say ...

The company McCrory and Tillis are keeping

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 08:31
North Carolina Republicans, including Governor Pat McCrory and U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis, gathered in Asheville this past weekend to listen to former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay hold forth at an annual event held by former North Carolina Congressman Charles Taylor. News stories from the event report that Delay called President Obama names as a ...

Five things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 06:00
Common Core – The state commission charged with reviewing and replacing the Common Core State Standards meets again on Monday afternoon. You may recall at its last meeting, the Academic Standards Review Commission voiced concerns that without a dedicated budget it would be near impossible to bring in experts and accurately assess what benchmarks students ...

Data Tools for Policymaking: America’s Middle Class

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 14:59
The Washington Post began a series that will look at why America’s middle class is shrinking this week.  With it they have put together an important data tool for the public and policymakers to begin to delve into the dynamics affecting the country’s middle class.  The interactive map provides county level data over time of ...

AP: FBI looking into Lennon Lacy hanging death

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:55
The Associated Press is reporting that the FBI is looking into the death of a Bladenboro teenager found hung to death near his home. From the AP: A prosecutor says the FBI is looking into the hanging death of a black North Carolina teen after his family questioned the official ruling that he killed himself. ...

Lighting a candle for gun violence victims

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:31
There were vigils all across the country last night (and there will be more this weekend) for the victims of the Newtown tragedy on its second anniversary, including the one pictured at left that took place at the Judea Reform Congregation in Durham. And while it was a somber affair, there was some good news ...

NC delegation divided as House averts shutdown with passage of $1.1 Trillion spending bill

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 09:28
The U.S. House approved on Thursday a $1.1 trillion funding bill keeping most of the government operating through September of 2015. Congressman David Price (NC-04) was among nine members of the state delegation to support the bill that had become known as “CROmnibus” – though Price said this was not an easy decision: The bill ...

Right-wing paranoia drives attack on UNC centers

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 08:51
There were lots of compelling responses delivered by the defenders of various UNC Centers at yesterday’s inquisition in Chapel Hill, but one of the best came from Dean Jack Boger of the UNC Law School. This is from the account in Raleigh’s News & Observer: “Boger pointed out that the law school’s Banking Institute was ...

October labor market data for NC counties confirms that your view of the labor market depends on where you live

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 15:33
Yesterday, the Labor and Economic Division released October labor market data for all 100 counties.  The headline of the release was that the unemployment rate had dropped in 98 counties, or nearly all, in the past month.  It sounds like good news, and it is, but the new data also show that many parts of ...

Vigil in Durham tonight to mark anniversary of Newtown tragedy

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 14:32
Here’s something that would be worth an hour of your time tonight: North Carolinians Against Gun Violence will hold a vigil tonight at 7:00 p.m. to mark the second anniversary of Newtown and to organize against future tragedies of this kind.Sadly, there have been at least 91 school shootings in the U.S. just since the Newtown ...

Time slipping away for North Carolina federal court nominees

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 11:00
North Carolina’s latest nominee for a seat on the federal bench, Loretta Copeland Biggs, is slated for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and if approved moves one-step closer to a confirmation vote on the Senate floor. But Biggs — like several other pending nominees hanging on as Congress approaches adjournment for the ...

More bipartisan support for redistricting reform: Will current state leaders listen?

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 10:04
ICYMI, the editorial page of the Charlotte Observer features another great op-ed this morning that was co-authored by former Raleigh mayor, Charles Meeker (a Democrat) and former Charlotte mayor, Richard Vinroot (a Republican). The subject: the urgent need for redistricting reform. As their honors note: As former mayors of North Carolina’s two largest cities, we ...

Tillis joins Burr in support for stifling the truth on torture

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 07:23
Well, this is off to a good start. Senator-elect Thom Tillis is already staking  out a less-than-courageous profile in his new job by essentially parroting the absurd remarks of his new colleague Richard Burr on the CIA torture report and attempting to make it a partisan issue — even though people of both major parties ...

Op-ed: College student “die in” protest a hopeful sign in race relations

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 15:04
John Deem, the Senior Editor of a suburban Charlotte community newspaper called the Lake Norman Citizen wrote a thoughtful opinion piece this week about a “die in” protest that Davidson College students conducted during their community’s recent Christmas festival to protest the nation’s epidemic of police killings. (He also took the photo at left.) One ...

Drunken lawyers, missing Supreme Court plaintiffs, and high-cost punishment

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 13:23
What can you do with a drunken lawyer?  Last night Georgia executed Robert Wayne Holsey,  a man of questionable intellectual capacity convicted for killing a sheriff’s deputy in 1995 — despite the fact that his court-appointed lawyer failed miserably in his defense and admitted to drinking up to a quart of vodka in the evenings while ...

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