Must Reads

Must Reads

Featured Articles Must Reads

Lawmakers obsess over “rainy day fund” while much of NC remains under water

The latest BTC Brief from the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center is out and it is a “must read” for anyone interested in what’s really going on with state budget debate. In “Saving for a rainy day when NC needs and umbrella today,” BTC analyst Cedric Johnson provides a powerful critique of recent proposals at the state Legislative Building to further bolster the state “rainy day fund” at the same time that a host of core public systems and structures remain destructively under-funded.

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Featured Articles Must Reads

Five questions with Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford)

Two-term N.C. Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) begins this legislative session as the only openly LGBT member of the North Carolina General Assembly.

Last year, amid the controversy over HB2, Brockman came out as bisexual - something he says even his family didn't know. His experience as an aide to former Rep. Marcus Brandon, an openly gay black state representative, gave him the opportunity to see the challenges of being an out politician up-close - and didn't make the decision to come easier, once elected.

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Environment Featured Articles Must Reads

Jones Street primer: What to expect from the 2017 legislative session (Part Two)

The 2017 session of the legislature kicked off this morning with House and Senate members gathering to establish rules and then picking-up where they left off in December. The repeal of House Bill 2, voting rights, the question of raising the age at which individuals can be prosecuted as adults in the criminal justice system, the state's coal ash problem and a new budget are among the issues lawmakers will tackle in the coming months. This afternoon reporter Lisa Sorg has a rundown of the environmental issues facing the General Assembly. Click here for Part One of our legislative preview by NC Policy Watch reporters Joe Killian and Melissa Boughton.

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Featured Articles Must Reads

Jones Street primer: What to expect from the 2017 legislative session (Part One)

The 2017 session of the legislature kicks off this morning with House and Senate members gathering to establish rules and then picking-up where they left off in December. The repeal of House Bill 2, voting rights, the question of raising the age at which individuals can be prosecuted as adults in the criminal justice system, and a new budget are among some of the issues lawmakers will tackle in the coming months. NC Policy Watch reporters Joe Killian and Melissa Boughton offer this session preview. Check back this afternoon when Lisa Sorg has a rundown of the environmental issues facing the General Assembly.

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Featured Articles Legislator Profiles Must Reads

The Class of 2017 – Rep. Philip Lehman

N.C. Policy Watch is chatting with some of the newest members of the N.C. General Assembly to offer a bit more insight on who they are and what they plan on doing this session in Raleigh. The 2017 session of the legislature gets underway Wednesday, January 11.

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Must Reads

Legislature fails to repeal HB2 in special session; Senator says ‘we’re worse off now’ than before

In true North Carolina General Assembly fashion, all the fireworks of the fifth special legislative session of the year went off in the 11th hour – or rather, the ninth hour for those keeping track of the day.

Legislators were called to Raleigh to repeal House Bill 2 after Charlotte repealed its anti-discrimination ordinance. They left without repealing anything.

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Featured Articles Must Reads

Conservative lawmakers move to curtail Cooper’s powers in additional special session

The North Carolina General Assembly's GOP majority moved to dramatically limit the powers of the governor's office Wednesday as Democratic Governor-Elect Roy Cooper prepares to take office next month.

House Bill 17, filed late Wednesday during a special session called without warning to Democratic lawmakers, is the widest ranging example.

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Must Reads

Disaster relief bill wins unanimous support in the House

Legislators continue to weigh what other bills should move in special session The vibe in the halls of the Legislative Building Tuesday ranged from angry — protesters chanted “shame” outside the Senate gallery — to anxious — as ...
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Gov. McCrory concedes election in video message

After nearly a month of contesting the results of the Nov. 8 election, Gov. Pat McCrory conceded to Attorney General Roy Cooper in a video message Monday.

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A simple Thanksgiving week policy objective Make sure North Carolinians have access to food

When North Carolinians are able to purchase and eat healthy and nutritious food, they fuel active and healthy lifestyles, stay engaged at work and school, and boost the economy through their grocery shopping. Every night, almost 630,000 North Carolina households don’t have enough to eat. North Carolina has the 8th highest rate of food insecurity in the nation. Homes that have low food security often must make tough choices about the amount and quality of food they are able to provide their families. Homes that are considered to have “very low” food security often miss meals. According to the USDA, in the past year more than 90 percent of these families worried that food would run out; nearly 80 percent could not afford a balanced meal; and individuals in 96 percent of homes with very low food security skipped meals in order to make food last longer.

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Featured Articles Must Reads

Ten hard truths about North Carolina’s struggling economy

There’s been a great deal of back and forth in various media outlets in recent weeks about the true state of the North Carolina economy. In a powerful op-ed that appeared in Raleigh’s News & Observer last week, N.C. Budget and Tax Center Director Alexandra Sirota detailed why the so-called “Carolina Comeback” is only a rumor for millions of average people and how the state’s obsession with tax cuts has produced precious little in the way of measurable benefits.

As she observed:

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New issue of “Prosperity Watch” sheds light on conflict between Trump and McCrory

A recent story on the national news website Politico highlighted an increasingly notable divide in the way the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump and Governor Pat McCrory are characterizing the state of the North Carolina economy. This is from “Trump message clashes with GOP's most-endangered governor”:

“North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is desperate to talk about his economic achievements after a year mired in contentious debate over social issues, including the state’s transgender ‘bathroom law.’

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The overwhelming case for raising North Carolina’s minimum wage

Hike would be good for lifting incomes and improving the state’s economy

The North Carolina Justice Center, the state’s leading anti-poverty advocacy organization, has unveiled a new and regular feature it’s calling "How to Build an Economy that Works for All." Its objective: to outline a series of policy priorities and proposals that both policymakers and average North Carolinians can learn about and promote throughout the remainder of the election season and during the run-up to the 2017 legislative session.

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Featured Articles Must Reads

It’s finally that time: What you need to know about voting in the November election

To many North Carolinians following the 2016 election campaign, it may have started to seem that the “fun” will never end. The campaign has been extraordinarily long, contentious and, for many, difficult to endure. Happily, however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Absentee voting has already started and in-person early voting starts in less than two weeks (on October 20). That said, with all of the controversy surrounding the election and the rules that will be used for voting, many North Carolinians – even those in the know – can be forgiven if they’re confused about where things stand.

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Featured Articles Must Reads

New and damning report: NC poverty is still higher than before the recession and worse than the national average

Poverty in North Carolina is still higher than it was prior to the recession, according to a new report, with the state facing higher rates of poverty, deep poverty, and child poverty than most of the U.S., as well as stark divides across racial, gender, age, and geographical demographics. North Carolina’s poverty rate was 16.4 percent in 2015, a drop from the 17.2 percent rate the previous year but still 15 percent higher than when the Great Recession hit in 2007, according to a new report from the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. Across the state, 1.6 million North Carolinians live in poverty – meaning a family of four living on $24,250 or less per year – and find affording the basics such as rent, food, and utilities to be a daily challenge.

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Must Reads

Hunger in North Carolina: The latest scandalous numbers

Every night, people in almost 630,000 North Carolina households don’t have enough to eat. North Carolina has the 8th highest rate of food insecurity in the nation, and according to a Gallup study, Winston-Salem and Greensboro have the 4th and 5th highest rates of hunger across the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas.

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