Archives by: Billy Ball

Billy Ball

About the author

Billy Ball, Managing Editor, joined Policy Watch in January 2016. In his 15+ years as a North Carolina reporter, he’s covered public schools, state and local politics, courts, the environment, criminal justice and immigration for publications like The Independent Weekly, The Sanford Herald andThe Monroe Enquirer-Journal. During that time, he’s won more than two dozen state, regional and national awards for his reporting and writing, including recognition for investigative reporting, commentary, and news features. In 2018, he won first place from the N.C. Press Association for political reporting. And his 2014 reporting on the death of Michael Anthony Kerr, which earned him a national award for “media impact” from The Media Consortium, exposed the mistreatment of a North Carolina inmate with mental illness in solitary confinement. His reporting led to ongoing reforms in how the state handles prisoners with a mental illness. Billy is a graduate of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism.
billy@ncpolicywatch.com
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Billy Ball's articles and posts

Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

The big scam: Why North Carolina should dump virtual charter schools

Linger long enough in Raleigh’s legislative lagoon and you’ll find there are three kinds of lawmakers: The pragmatists: Take a photo if you spy one of these. Theirs is an isolated, lonely caucus, and their agenda is a more nebulous sort. Find the logic, find the rationale for a proposal and you may have an ally here.

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Original Commentary Top Story

Monday Numbers: Don’t be fooled by the raw numbers. ICE is seizing more undocumented immigrants without criminal records.

The right-wing wallflowers of The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, with an almost palpable sense of frustration, that President Trump’s promised weekend roundup of undocumented immigrants did not materialize.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

What else is in the mysterious Hofeller files? A few (satirical) ideas…

Between his work for Republican redistricting leaders in the N.C. General Assembly and the Trump administration, the late mapmaker Thomas Hofeller could have been privy to a veritable legion of party secrets, many of them none too flattering to our political leaders.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Amid the budget showmanship, North Carolina’s budget will surely suffer

North Carolina’s legislative leaders have finally – in one big, bursting feat of Houdini-like showmanship – liberated themselves from truth and context. Their mastery of the mummers play was a revelation Tuesday, in their ruefully insincere keening that we, at this late budgetary hour, have arrived without input from Gov. Roy Cooper –

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Dear North Carolina lawmakers, can the budget theatrics

There’s a scene in “The West Wing” – liberals’ sweaty, Emmy-hording ode to progressivism – in which President Bartlett, facing a budget bait-and-switch from his erstwhile Republican nemeses, shuts down the government. Bartlett – a hopelessly fictional hero, ...
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Billy Ball Commentary Defending Democracy Top Story

The case of the vanishing budget: How N.C.’s secretive budget “process” is bad for the public good

If, in this precise moment, you’re wondering where North Carolina’s multi-billion dollar budget is, the same one that sets crucial policy and spending parameters for state agencies, that dictates classroom funding levels for 1.5 million schoolchildren, that sets pay levels for thousands of state employees, retirees and teachers, it’s in the same place it’s always been.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

A eulogy: For the abortion bill whose supporters dared not speak its name

Sometime in the latter hours of debate over an abortion bill that North Carolina Republicans insisted was not about abortion – even as the words “abortion” and “abortion victims” were uttered some fourteen-thousand times Wednesday – Speaker Tim Moore descended from his perch at the forefront of the state House chamber to debate.

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News Top Story

With budget veto looming, Republicans wooing Democratic votes with pork

With a close – and bitterly contentious – vote over a potential veto of this year’s state budget looming, North Carolina lawmakers say GOP legislators are scrambling to win over Democrats behind the scenes by offering “pork” spending on local projects.

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Original Commentary Top Story

Monday Numbers: Memorial Day 2019

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally dubbed, began as a tribute to those killed in the Civil War, still the bloodiest conflict – by far – in U.S. history. Its annual decoration of Civil War graves grew in communities across the country, eventually evolving to commemorate all American conflicts following the grisly toll taken in World War I.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Lawmakers misfire with plan to expand NC’s ill-conceived voucher program

“Governor Cooper is failing when it comes to helping minority students. Don’t let him take away your Opportunity Scholarships,” reads the Raleigh billboard, the latest conservative spittooning of the Democratic governor. Sounds heinous, if true, but the truth is truly, extraordinarily, squishy in this instance.

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