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Articles

Progressive Voices Top Story

Latest Trump immigration “public charge” rule proposal plumbs new depths

In the aftermath of the recent successful push to ward off huge cuts to food assistance programs in the federal Farm Bill, advocates are now organizing to defeat another discriminatory and destructive attack on the supports to families who are struggling to get by and on our immigration system that should allow families to stay together.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

NC officials order dozens of campaigns to forfeit illegal PAC contributions from pharma giant

In one of the largest campaign donation forfeitures in state history, 48 improper donations from the Pfizer Inc. political action committee will be forfeited by political campaigns and committees across the state.

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Environment Top Story

Coincidence or collusion? NC Oil and Gas Commission receives curious requests to frack.

Friends, neighbors, colleagues of commission chairman Jim Womack submit nearly identical letters claiming Lee County drilling moratorium violates their rights

Earlier this month at a meeting of the state Oil and Gas Commission, Jim Womack, the agency's controversial chairman, seemed agitated, frantic even, to attend to what he deemed as Very Important Business: to hear from disgruntled people who want the commission to overturn Lee County's fracking moratorium.

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News Top Story

Democrats: Berger-Moore budget process may quash debate, amendments

When N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger addressed reporters last week, they boasted that negotiations on the state’s estimated $24 billion budget were “far ahead” of years past. According to top Democrats who spoke to Policy Watch this week, that may be because Republican lawmakers are considering a maneuver that would all but quash debate on the privately negotiated spending plan in the coming days.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

One simple, moral and business-friendly step NC lawmakers could take to boost the economy

There are a lot of important statistics that confirm just how out of whack the U.S. economy has grown during this modern Gilded Age we currently inhabit, but two factoids from a recent CNN story say an awful lot about where things stand: #1 – The U.S. unemployment rate just dipped to an 18-year low recently at 3.9%, and #2 – nearly 51 million American households (around 43%) don't earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone.

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Must Reads News Top Story

New report explains why North Carolina should not give corporations yet another round of tax cuts

Big corporations and wealthy executives have been on quite a run. Corporate profits are at historic levels, stock prices are through the roof, and plush executive pay has become the norm. At the same time, corporate taxes have been slashed both here in North Carolina starting in 2013 and last December at the federal level.

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: A look at the effects of mass incarceration related to NC bail practices

This week the ACLU of North Carolina announced an initiative to end cash bail in North Carolina. Regular Policy Watch readers will be familiar with our recent series of stories on the bail bond industry, the inequity of cash bail and the ways in which both impact those in poverty.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Speakers at Durham conference: Criminalization of poverty is big and growing problem in NC

When Andrea Hudson was pulled over for a routine traffic violation in 2013, the police officer found outstanding warrants for her arrest. The charges – abusing an elderly person and fraud – were a surprise to Hudson, who insisted it was a case of mistaken identity. Her bail was initially set at $10,000 – out of reach for the mother of two. Even pulling together the ten to fifteen percent that’s necessary to pay a bail bond agent to secure her release was a stretch. When a judge raised the bail to $30,000, she could see no way out.

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Environment Top Story

Residents voice passionate opposition to proposed methyl bromide operation; regulators remain tight-lipped

Right now in Shenzhen, which, with 12 million people is the fastest-growing city in China, a young couple perhaps is touring a prospective new home, admiring its varnished ochre floors made from Southern yellow pine. They likely are unaware of the origin story of that pine.

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Education Top Story

Teachers demand policy changes, cheer Cooper at unprecedented education rally

On Tuesday, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger—one of the state’s most powerful Republican politicians—told North Carolina’s teachers they’d soon be receiving their fifth consecutive round of raises. Emily Rex heard Berger’s promise. But the fifth-year, special education teacher—who lives in Berger’s state Senate district in Guilford County—points out she’s received raises in four of the last five years, not that she could much tell after soaring health premiums took their toll.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Why we march: A North Carolina teacher details the conservative assault on public schools

When I headed off to college, I could not have predicted that many of the funding streams, positions, and benefits in North Carolina’s education system would evaporate over the course of my teaching career. Since 2008, state education funding has been on a downward slide. When adjusted for inflation, North Carolina spends about 7.9% less than it did before the recession.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Stealth session? G.A. returns today, but the agenda (including plans for judicial redistricting) remains under wraps

Unsurprisingly, the agenda for the General Assembly's "short session" that commences today in Raleigh is shrouded in secrecy. The recent primary election results — which unseated an unprecedented number of legislative incumbents — have North Carolinians wondering if GOP lawmakers will go into the session guns ablaze or if they will take a tamer approach to prepare for the November election.

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Must Reads Top Story

Policy Prescription #2: Making early childhood education a top policy priority

The first five years of a child’s life are arguably the most important for their development. Research confirms that a child’s early experiences lay the foundation that influences their future health, learning skills, social and emotional abilities, and overall growth.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Process schmocess: Berger, Moore say 2019 budget changes have already been negotiated

For those who pay only periodic attention to the ins and outs of lawmaking in the North Carolina General Assembly, there was a powerful reminder last week of just how broken things are and how cloistered and detached the conservative powers-that-be in the state Legislative Building have become after several years of unfettered rule.

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Articles Must Reads Top Story

Policy Prescriptions — A new and special Policy Watch series

Food insecurity or the lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life remains a huge problem in today’s society. Currently, North Carolina has the tenth highest rate of food insecurity in the nation, with more than 1.5 million North Carolinians meeting this definition. Ultimately, of course, it will not be possible to solve the problem of food insecurity without addressing a host of underlying factors...

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