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
919-861-1460

Billy Ball's articles and posts

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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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Damn the politics, impeach Donald Trump. Now.

When Yoni Appelbaum, a senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote in March that President Trump should be impeached, perhaps, for the writer, some doubt remained even then as to the president’s ultimate guilt or innocence. “Impeachment is a process, not an outcome,” he wrote. “A rule-bound procedure for investigating a president, considering evidence, formulating charges, and deciding whether to continue on to trial.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Teachers to march again in Raleigh, but some lawmakers seem to be missing the message

We know Sen. Phil Berger, perhaps the most powerful lawmaker in North Carolina politics, can speak. If there’s a piece of legislation in the last five to ten years that advanced without the Big Berger’s caustic input, I can’t name it.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

After sweeping order, an end to coal ash in NC? All bets are off.

North Carolina’s coal ash problem didn’t begin in February 2014, when a corrugated pipe at a Rockingham County Duke Energy facility vomited 39,000 tons of coal ash and about 27 million gallons of contaminated water into the Dan River. The documented dangers of the coal byproduct predated even a one billion gallon spill in Kingston, Tennessee, six years prior, a spill large enough to fill thousands of Olympic swimming pools.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

On Medicaid expansion, John Kasich is unchained in North Carolina

John Kasich insists he’s a free man. Free from politics? Free from partisanship? Free from Trump? Certainly not free of ambition – the former Ohio governor all but acknowledged last week that he hasn’t ruled out another run for president.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Change comes again to the UNC system, but not to the Board of Governors

Everyone’s taking a powder in the UNC system these days. Everyone, it seems, but the powerful individuals on the UNC Board of Governors, an onerously large pack of political hellraisers and right-wing combatants who’ve sullied the “crown jewel,” North Carolina’s decorated and bedeviled university system.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

On Sunshine Week, newspapers cope with the dark clouds in their future

It’s Sunshine Week, and things have never been gloomier for the newspaper industry. This year’s annual celebration of public information has been more funereal than most, and I’m the sort who enjoys a rote walkthrough of public records law.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

How a high school basketball controversy in Charlotte encapsulates inequality in North Carolina schools

When a West Charlotte High basketball player excoriated the “B.S.” that grifted a home court playoff game from his school this week, his palpable anger made sense on many levels, just one of them actually involving sports.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

The state of the state? Divided, volatile and—maybe—on the rise

Gov. Roy Cooper’s Monday address to both chambers of the legislature – the “State of the State” – was, of course, pageantry. Not that it’s entirely low-stakes, that it doesn’t mean something for the governor, strolling into chambers so dominated by his nemeses in the Republican Party...

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

What was missing at Superintendent Johnson’s private education summit

There was much talk this week and last about state Superintendent Mark Johnson’s Tuesday night limelight, the “big” announcement you might have missed because you, like most of North Carolina, were not invited. Public education advocates buzzed with speculation, or was that trepidation?

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