Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Progressive Voices Top Story

North Carolina: The new model for conservative rule – and progressive renewal

My home state was once a model for progress. For half a century, North Carolina was a beacon of moderation in the South, an outlier dubbed the “Dixie Dynamo” as early as the 1960’s for its farsighted reforms and public investments. The state had its share of problems, especially around the pernicious legacy of Jim Crow, but many of its trend lines were positive and generated an infectious optimism.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

As new school year commences, shortage of basic supplies demonstrates legislature’s failure to invest

This week marks the beginning of the school year for most of North Carolina’s 1.5 million public school students. It’s an exciting time of year for students, parents, and educators, alike, as everyone considers the vast potential for the year ahead. Undoubtedly, this will be a great year for many students. But far too many North Carolina students still face barriers to reaching their full potential due to the General Assembly’s continuing failure to adequately fund our public schools.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Process at the General Assembly sinks to a new and remarkable low

House overrides Governor’s veto of consumer lending bill based on lawmaker’s incorrect description of what it would do

The notion that elected officials often debate and even enact new laws based on a faulty understanding of what they are discussing and/or voting on is, of course, nothing particularly new.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Once more, NC lawmakers reject chance to create fair maps

This month, North Carolina lawmakers had a golden opportunity to adopt fair, nonpartisan standards for drawing new legislative voting districts. Instead, they opted for politics as usual, keeping partisanship at the core of a deeply flawed redistricting process. The General Assembly has been ordered by a federal court to redraw dozens of racially gerrymandered legislative districts.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday redistricting numbers

83—number of days since the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with a lower court ruling that General Assembly districts drawn in 2011 were illegally gerrymandered based on race (“U.S. Supreme Court agrees NC legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered based on race,” Progressive Pulse, June 6, 2017)

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Women’s Equality Day: Celebrate and march for change this Saturday

This Saturday, August 26, we will mark another Women’s Equality Day with a march and rally in Durham, NC. First commemorated in 1971, Women’s Equality Day marks the day – August 26, 1920 – that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, barring voting restrictions based on gender.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Charlottesville presents lawmakers with clear choice between right and wrong

Every so often in our political discourse comes a moment that presents elected officials with a crystal clear choice between right and wrong, something that rises far above the usual partisan differences on education, taxes, or health care.

North Carolina now faces one of those moments in the wake of the march in Charlottesville by torch-carrying neo-Nazis and white supremacists chanting racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic slogans and the troubling reaction to the protest by the president of the United States.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

One of the most important state Supreme Court cases in years

Justices will hear Cooper v. Berger and Moore next week and the stakes couldn’t be much higher

One of the most important matters to come before the North Carolina Supreme Court in a long time will be argued next Monday in Raleigh.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

A tale of two North Carolina schools

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court infamously upheld the legality of racial segregation and “Jim Crow” laws. Under the “separate but equal” doctrine, the Court said, public facilities could be lawfully segregated by race as long as both races had “equal” access. Fifty-eight years later, however, in the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education, the Court reversed itself, struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal” and required public schools to be integrated. The ruling, in which the Court observed that separate schools were by no means equal, was one of the seminal moments in the American civil rights movement.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

900 million---amount in dollars of the cost of the tax cuts passed this year when they are fully in place (“Costly Tax Cuts in New State Budget Continue Precarious Road Ahead for North Carolina, N.C. Budget & Tax Center, August 2017)

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

The Follies

Mixed and confusing signals from NC GOPers on confederate monuments

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger finally weighed in Thursday on the horrible events in Charlottesville last weekend with a Facebook post titled, “Reflecting on Charlottesville, Durham and North Carolina Monuments.”

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Americans want the Affordable Care Act improved not undermined

Here is something you probably haven’t heard much lately, if at all, given the shocking news from Charlottesville and the disturbing reaction by President Trump.

Roughly 80 percent of Americans believe that Trump and his administration should do all they can to make the Affordable Care Act work while only 17 percent believe they should try to make the law fail so they can replace it.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The thing that wouldn’t leave

Lawmakers to return to Raleigh yet again; agenda may include dangerous “de-reg” proposal

The North Carolina General Assembly will return to Raleigh yet again this week. Despite abysmal poll numbers, the toxic national political environment and their close association with a president of the United States who continues to set new standards for mendacity and outrageous behavior, legislative leaders will commence yet another special session on Friday to take up any number of matters that could include gubernatorial vetoes, new legislative maps, pending legislation from the “long session” that adjourned in June and maybe even constitutional amendments. Despite the Friday-at-noon start time, actual legislative action is not expected to get underway in earnest until next week – emphasis on the word expected.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Gerrymandering update: Federal judges push NC lawmakers for new legislative maps sooner rather than later

The three federal judges could have just come right out and said it: The Republicans who rule the N.C. General Assembly have elevated foot-dragging to a fine art. Their stall tactics take the cake.

Instead, the trio overseeing the legislature’s efforts to draw new voting district maps seems to have angled for another prize – for understatement.

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