Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Fitzsimon File Top Story

Why are legislative leaders so afraid of fairer elections?

The latest news from the federal courts about the unconstitutional racially gerrymandered General Assembly districts and the response to it from legislative leaders makes one thing clearer than ever.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Deception and bad faith at UNC

The Board of Governors is not just pushing the Right’s agenda, it’s intentionally withholding information from the public That there is a war underway for the heart and soul of higher education in North Carolina comes as no surprise to anyone who follows the state policy debate. For years now, North Carolina’s conservative...

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Progressive Voices Top Story

UNC: Still defending the right to discriminate against the trans community

After two years of being attacked by their very own state government, trans North Carolinians are moving closer to obtaining partial victory.

Recently, Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein proposed a possible settlement to limit the harms of the state’s anti-transgender laws on trans and gender non-conforming people living in and visiting North Carolina.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

31.2—percentage growth in GDP from 2006-2016 in the nine states with no broad-based personal income tax (“Trickle-Down Dries Up: States without personal income taxes lag behind states with the highest top tax rates,” Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, October 2017)

32.9---percentage growth in GDP from 2006-2016 in the nine states with highest personal income tax rates (Ibid)

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Dissecting the legislature’s effort to rig the state judiciary

To the Republicans who run the N.C. General Assembly, the concept of judicial independence – central to our bedrock American principle of checks and balances and to the rule of law – must seem as alien as the one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people-eater of vintage Top 40 radio. Yes, it must be a strange concept indeed. Or as the old song remarks, “What a sight to see!” But in reality, it’s not strange at all. Consider this straightforward pronouncement in the state constitution: “The legislative, executive, and supreme judicial powers of the State government shall be forever separate and distinct from each other.”

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Hate rears its ugly head yet again

As Cooper moves to curb discrimination, the Right goes ballistic

In the age of Trump, there seem to be few limits on the depths to which purveyors of fear and hate will sink. Even conservatives who disliked or opposed Trump initially seem to have been emboldened in recent months by the President’s serial dishonesty and willingness to break long-established rules of decency in public behavior. It is with this backdrop that the saga of North Carolina’s infamous discrimination law, HB2, and the seemingly never-ending conservative war on equality for transgender individuals entered their latest phase last week.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Make no mistake: Trump decision spurred Blue Cross Blue Shield rate hike

President Trump is rarely right about much, but he was correct earlier this year when he observed that health care is complicated and that fixing it is hard. Sadly and ironically, however, these difficult truths are now conspiring to confuse some observers as they try to report on Trump’s recent efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and the rate hikes they have spurred for consumers.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

20---amount in dollars of the average federal tax cuts in 2027 for households with children earning less than $75,000 under GOP tax framework released in late September (“Republican Plans to Cut Taxes Now, Cut Programs Later Would Leave Most Children Worse Off, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 18, 2017)

230,000---amount in dollars of the average tax cuts in 2027 for households with children earning $1 million or more under GOP tax framework released in late September (Ibid)

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

A new low in the dismantling of democracy

The folks running the General Assembly reached a new low this week in their efforts to dismantle our democracy----and that is no small feat given their actions in the last few years. Senate Rules Chair Bill Rabon filed legislation calling for a constitutional amendment to shorten the terms of all judges in the state to two years and end every current judge’s term at the end of 2018. They would all have to run for reelection this fall and every two years after that. That would literally turn judges into partisan politicians spending as much time much raising money and campaigning as they do hearing cases. There are currently 403 judges serving, when you add up district court, superior court, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Tillis among senators to vote on “repugnant” Trump judicial nominee today

National civil rights leaders call for the rejection of North Carolina’s Thomas Farr [Editor’s note: The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (which includes North Carolina’s Thom Tillis) meets today at 10:00 a.m. to consider a bevy of President Trump’s nominees to serve as federal judges and U.S. Attorneys. Each of the judicial nominees is being considered for a lifetime appointment. As was highlighted in a July issue of the NC Policy Watch “Weekly Briefing,” none of the nominees on this list has received more negative national attention than Thomas Farr, who was nominated to fill a long-vacant slot on the U.S. District Court for the North Carolina’s Eastern District.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

As Congress slashes the federal budget by $5 trillion, North Carolina stands to lose big

Budgets matter, both within government and inside each household across America, because they demonstrate just how much we value our priorities and are willing to contribute to achieving them.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Our rogue General Assembly returns to Raleigh for yet another rump session

Why the legislature now operates this way and why it’s a big problem The North Carolina General Assembly (or, at least, a goodly portion of it) returned to town last night. Nearly four months after having passed a new state budget—the event that used to signal the conclusion of an annual legislative session—lawmakers are back yet again. The top agenda item this time for our “part-time” lawmakers: to override Governor Cooper’s veto of a bill to alter state elections passed during their last cameo appearance in the state capital. At least, that’s what we think the plan is.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Las Vegas aftermath: Responding to the gun lobby’s assault on freedom and liberty

There are lots of reasons for people to get off of the sidelines and commit themselves to new and sustained action and activism in the aftermath of the gun violence horror in Las Vegas.

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