Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Payday loans
Setting the Record Straight

Feds to issue new rules on “payday” and “car title” lending; Here’s why North Carolinians should be paying very close attention

North Carolinians can be forgiven if they haven’t thought a lot about the predatory “payday lending” business in recent years. Indeed, it was one of the great accomplishments of our state government in the early part of the last decade when it officially ended North Carolina’s four-year experiment with the business and made these inherently predatory loans illegal. The last of the payday shops was chased out of the state in 2006. Since that time, there have been periodic efforts to bring the practice back into North Carolina, but consumer advocates have repeatedly succeeded in beating them back.

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virtual2
Featured Articles Progressive Voices

Virtual charter schools are a bust. So why did the NC House loosen state regulations even further?

Public school students in North Carolina are expected to be able to weigh evidence and make sound, logical decisions based on that evidence. Should we expect the same from our legislators? That was the question before the General Assembly during the recent House Budget debate, as legislators argued whether to pull the plug on virtual charter schools. Virtual charters, authorized as part of the 2014 budget, are for-profit, online schools. With grim results in other states, it's unclear why North Carolina's policymakers are pushing us down the same path.

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LGBT equality
Featured Articles Progressive Voices

HB2 makes me feel less welcome, but the fight against it gives me hope

Six years ago, I moved to North Carolina to accept a one-year teaching position at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro. My wife, also named Angela, and I, had just made the final repair on our home in Florida, where we planned to live for the rest of our lives. But during my year in North Carolina, I fell in love with the state, and I began looking for a job that would allow Angela and me to relocate here permanently.

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Budget cuts
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

Locking in North Carolina’s decline

Gov. Pat McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore love to boast that North Carolina is in the midst (or, perhaps, on the cusp) of a rousing economic “comeback.” Hardly a day goes by anymore in which one or more of these men isn’t issuing some kind of release claiming that conservative fiscal policies have somehow turned around the state’s economy and “unleashed the private sector” to create all sorts of new jobs and development. Recently, the mantra has been all about how North Carolina was rated the third best state in the country “for business” by yet another “CEO” magazine. Never mind that it won virtually identical (if not more glowing) plaudits throughout the Perdue and Easley administrations and even during the Great Recession.

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Classroom
Featured Articles Progressive Voices

A brief lesson on the reality of immigration and the lives of immigrants in North Carolina

Immigration is one of the most contentious issues of our time. Debates on the matter — both generally and with respect to the specifics of various proposals surrounding it — are pervasive in homes, schools, workplaces, television and social media. Given this backdrop, I probably should not have been surprised when I received an email recently (see below) that was purportedly from a North Carolina fifth grader. But I was. And I was sad to see unauthorized immigrants painted in such negative light – even by such a youngster.

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I. Beverly Lake (Image: WRAL.com)
Featured Articles Progressive Voices

Iconic North Carolina conservative: Why I’ve changed my mind about the death penalty

I’ve always been known as a tough-on-crime, pro-law enforcement individual, and I still am. During my years as a North Carolina State Senator, I vigorously advocated for the death penalty. As a superior court judge, I presided over trials where the death penalty seemed like the only suitable punishment for the heinous crimes that had been committed. Finally, as a Justice, and then as Chief Justice, on the Supreme Court of North Carolina, I cast my vote at appropriate times to uphold that harsh and most final sentence.

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ff-331-hb2
Featured Articles Progressive Voices

On HB2, warning signs abound, but state leaders just keep on driving

As the fallout from HB2 continues to pile up, one bad news story at a time, I am reminded of the time a friend of mine drove from Washington, DC to Birmingham, Alabama, unintentionally by way of Miami, Florida. (In case anyone is wondering, Miami is not exactly on a direct route, being about 10 hours further south than one needs to drive when traveling to west Alabama from points north and east).

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ff-budget
Featured Articles Progressive Voices

More ill-conceived tax cuts and MIA investments: Why the House budget proposal comes up short

The $22.225 billion budget proposal that the state House of Representatives released for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year reflects the limited aspirations for North Carolina that the House and Senate leadership have agreed on. Legislative leadership used a flawed formula to set a low budget target — even lower than the Governor’s $22.33 billion proposal — that has no basis in economic realities or community needs and leaves $127.4 million on the table unspent.

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lynch
Featured Articles Progressive Voices

Loretta Lynch and HB2: U.S. Attorney General teaches fellow North Carolinians about compassion and tolerance

Take heart, fair-minded North Carolinians. The state’s not-always-pristine but still vaguely operative image as a place where “the weak grow strong and the strong grow great” is in the process of being dragged through the mud by cynics ...
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wb-517
Featured Articles Weekly Briefing

Did the McCrory administration fail to perform the most basic job of government?

Deposition indicates administration officials and Duke Energy pressured regulators to loosen water safety standards, jeopardize public health

There are a lot of serious indictments that can be leveled at a public official. Corruption, ineptitude, disloyalty – the list of potential offenses is a lengthy one. At some basic level, however, it’s hard to imagine a more damning allegation than that he or she knowingly jeopardized the physical health and wellbeing of his or her constituents.

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bathroom_mc400-54
Featured Articles Fitzsimon File

Monday numbers

54—number of days since Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB2, the sweeping anti-LGBT and worker discrimination bill passed by a special session of the General Assembly the same day (N.C. General Assembly) 8—number of substantive sections of HB2 (Ibid) 5—number ...
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DOJ-vs-NC
Featured Articles Fitzsimon File

The Follies of another week of McCrory misstatements on HB2

This was another week that HB2 dominated the headlines, primarily because competing lawsuits were filed by the U.S. Justice Department and Gov. Pat McCrory and state legislative leaders asking the courts to decide if the discriminatory provisions in ...
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Voucher-sb862
Featured Articles Fitzsimon File

Lawmakers seek massive expansion of voucher scheme that discriminates against LGBT students

If a handful of right-wing legislators have their way, taxpayers in North Carolina may soon be spending $125 million a year funding private and fundamentalist religious schools that can refuse to admit gay or transgender students—or even students ...
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