News

News

Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Campaign finance investigation of Senate Elections Committee chair continues

More than a month after a deadline to correct faulty campaign finance reports, N.C. Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) has yet to fully explain missing donor information and what appears to be a misappropriation of around $10,000 by Hise himself.

The campaign finance violations have drawn the ire of voter rights advocates and activists, including a billboard campaign to publicize Hise’s problems and pressure him to recuse himself from the legislature’s efforts to restructure state and local elections boards. Hise, a four-term Senator who chairs the powerful Senate Select Committee on Elections, has said little about the controversy.

...
Read more 0
Environment Top Story

House Bill 374 and its restrictions on the citizens’ right to contest environmental permits, advances in Senate

Even before he dropped the gavel on the Senate Finance Committee meeting, Sen. Jerry Tillman, a notoriously cantankerous Republican from Randolph County, seemed to be in a particularly bad mood.

...
Read more 0
Education Top Story

Public school advocates wary of “vouchers on steroids” in GOP-authored budget

The $23 billion budget deal speeding through the N.C. General Assembly this week includes a platoon of significant public school initiatives, including much-touted teacher raises, a swift ballooning of the state’s funding for a private school voucher program and dramatic cut-backs for North Carolina’s central K-12 bureaucracy.

...
Read more 0
Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Bill to deregulate concealed carry poses political dilemma for GOP

Royal Diadem Jewelers in Greensboro sets itself apart in a number of small ways - fast and friendly service, an intimate small business feel, Christian messages packed with your receipt for a pair of earrings or luxury watch repair.

And then there’s the message, painted on the glass next to the front door beneath the business hours.

...
Read more 1
Environment Top Story

Private owners of Woodlake Dam are broke, so DEQ will spend nearly $1 million to fix it

Over one weekend last October, more than a half-foot of rain fell on the small town of Vass in Moore County. By Monday evening, when Hurricane Matthew had moved north and out to sea, a middle section of the spillway at Woodlake Dam had collapsed. Thousands of residents downstream were in danger.

The dam and lake are privately owned by Woodlake LLC, a troubled company with a dicey financial and environmental history: spinoff real estate ventures, multiple bankruptcies, broken promises to residents of its upscale development, violations of court orders and an opaque web of German investors and banks.

...
Read more 1
Law and the Courts Top Story

Linda McGee speaks out: An interview with the Chief Judge of the NC Court of Appeals

The North Carolina Court of Appeals celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. As the court heads into its next half century, Chief Judge Linda McGee has a lot of hopes, but the biggest is for an improved relationship between the judicial branch of government and the people it serves.

...
Read more 2
Education Top Story

Draft policing reforms for Wake schools come up short say children’s advocates

A draft agreement that sets campus police policy in North Carolina’s largest school system has yet to be publicly released, but the much anticipated document is already fetching criticism from youth justice advocates.

...
Read more 0
Environment Top Story

Thinking about rooftop solar? Here’s the nitty-gritty on the renewables bill

House Bill 589 is not a perfect bill. It may even be distasteful, especially for progressives impatient with the pace of renewable energy development. But considering the anti-renewable tenor that has characterized the legislature for the last six years, this bill is likely as good as it gets -- for now.

...
Read more 1
Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Law enforcement officers voice concern as NC House considers allowing concealed guns without permits

As an omnibus gun bill heads to a full vote of the N.C. House today voters, gun control groups and some of the state’s most popular Republican sheriffs are all saying it goes too far. House Bill 746 ...
Read more 5
Education Top Story

State Superintendent may be violating law by ignoring public records request

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson’s inaction on a long-standing public records request from Policy Watch may be a violation of state law, a prominent North Carolina media attorney says.

...
Read more 0
Law and the Courts Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court agrees NC legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered based on race

The U.S. Supreme Court is sending a clear message to North Carolina lawmakers: racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional. The nation’s highest court handed down its third decision in three weeks regarding a North Carolina racial gerrymandering case — North ...
Read more 18
Law and the Courts Top Story

Judges who upheld Cooper’s first challenge to Elections-Ethics merger dismiss his second try

A three-judge panel has unanimously dismissed Gov. Roy Cooper’s challenge to a new state law that would merge the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission. The ruling was based upon the judges’ determination that they did ...
Read more 0
Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

State treasurer responds to criticism of state health plan audit

When Charles Kurzman received a letter last month announcing an audit of the State Employee Health plan, it didn’t much worry him.

A similar audit had been done back in 2010 and Kurzman, a professor of sociology at UNC, had provided information about his dependents and kept everyone in the family insured.

...
Read more 1
Law and the Courts Top Story

House and Senate differ over budget provision making it harder for judges to waive fees for poor defendants

You can’t get blood from a stone — it’s one of those cliché proverbs that rings especially true when it comes to debt collection.

It’s also a concept that is currently before the North Carolina General Assembly as lawmakers crafting the state budget debate a budget provision that would make it extremely cumbersome for judges across the state to waive court fines or costs for indigent defendants.

...
Read more 2
Education Top Story

Education leaders say House budget falls short

Based on the state House budget plan, North Carolina teachers may be virtually assured of at least some raises in the upcoming school year, but the state’s top teacher advocacy organization says state lawmakers have still “fallen short” of their promises to educators.

...
Read more 1
Law and the Courts

House subcommittee advances another “austerity” budget for Justice and Public Safety

The House unveiled pieces of its budget Thursday morning at various appropriation committee meetings, and lawmakers wasted no time reading it and getting through the amendment process.

The Justice and Public Safety (JPS) budget provides funding for four agencies: Department of Public Safety, Department of Justice, Indigent Defense Services and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

...
Read more 0

Send this to a friend