Fitzsimon File

Fitzsimon File

A-F
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Monday numbers

153---number of public schools that received a grade of A or A+ng on the A-F grading system for the 2015-2016 school year (“2015–16 Performance and Growth of North Carolina Public Schools,” N.C. Department of Public Instruction, September 1, 2016)

6.6--- percentage of public schools that received a grade of A or A+ng on the A-F grading system for the 2015-2016 school year (Ibid)

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The Follies

Pittenger’s failed attempt to walk back his offensive remarks

Congressman Robert Pittenger is trying as hard as he can to apologize for his shocking comments to the BBC this week---but it’s not working.

Pittenger was asked in an interview what grievance the folks protesting the fatal police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte have and he responded this way:

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Medicaid gap
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Census data a powerful reminder of the need to expand Medicaid

The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau included some frustrating information about North Carolina and it wasn’t just the state’s sluggish below the national average growth in household median income that the think tanks on the right have mistakenly trumpeted as good news.

The data also showed that the percentage of people without health coverage in the state dropped by 1.9 percent from 2014 to 2015. That means 173,000 people are no longer uninsured thanks to the improving national economy and the Affordable Care Act.

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Monday numbers

47,830---amount in dollars of the median household income in North Carolina in 2015 (North Carolina Income Growth Lags behind the Nation,” WUNC-FM, September 15, 2016)

2.7---percentage increase in median household income in North Carolina in 2015 (Ibid)

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The Follies of the hand-wringing over the damage from HB2

One of the most interesting developments in Raleigh this week was the public announcement by three Republican members of the General Assembly that it is time to repeal or at least revisit HB2, the sweeping anti-LGBT legislation passed in a special legislative session last March and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory.

The second thoughts by Republicans who supported the legislation come after the NCAA and the ACC both announced they were pulling events out of the state because of the law, costing the state tens of millions of dollars in revenue, the latest economic blow from the legislation that has already cost North Carolina thousands of jobs and damaged its reputation around the world.

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The NC GOP revealingly digs in as the damage from HB2 continues to mount

The official response by the North Carolina Republican Party to the decision by the NCAA to move seven championship events out of the state next year because of the anti-LGBT law HB2 was startling and offensive.

GOP spokesperson Kami Mueller said the NCAA decision was “so absurd it’s almost comical” and was looking forward to the “NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams.”

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Monday numbers

22---rank of North Carolina in 2003-2004 among the 50 states in average teacher pay (“Back to school: A competitive pay plan for North Carolina teachers, Progressive Pulse, September 7, 2016)

41---rank of North Carolina in 2015-2016 in average teacher pay (Ibid)

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The Follies of McCrory’s shocking and underreported positions on LGBT rights

Gov. Pat McCrory thinks transgender people are sick and mentally ill and that they need treatment, not protections from discrimination.

And he is sure that allowing them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity puts thousands of women and children across North Carolina at risk from sexual predators, even though that hasn’t happened in the more 200 cities that already allow it.

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Tuesday numbers

(All the items in this edition of Tuesday numbers comes from the “State of Working North Carolina” report by the N.C. Budget & Tax Center released this week)

63---percentage of North Carolinians who were working before the Great Recession began at the end of 2007

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The bizarre and telling reaction of GOP leaders to non-gerrymandered districts

If you are looking for confirmation that the current system of drawing districts for Congress and the General Assembly is ridiculously broken, legislative leaders unwittingly provided it this week with their bizarre and bitter reaction to congressional maps drawn as an exercise by a bipartisan panel of retired judges.

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sm-12-7-2015
Fitzsimon File Weekly Briefing

Attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the courts

Conservatives channel their 1960’s obstructionist roots on voting rights

A few weeks back, North Carolina’s most powerful conservative political financier, Art Pope, offered a highly critical take on the insurgent presidential candidacy of Republican nominee Donald Trump. As Time magazine reported, Pope said the following at a Koch Brothers donors’ summit: “I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this since George Wallace.”

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Monday numbers

15,500---amount in dollars of the average total state tax cut for the top one percent of taxpayers in North Carolina since 2013 (“The Road to Nowhere Good for North Carolina :Latest Tax Changes That Aim for Zero Income Tax Continue to Benefit the Wealthy at the Expense of Working North Carolinians and Communities, N.C. Budget & Tax Center, August 2016)

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Successful Teaching Fellows program is back…in Indiana?

State lawmakers have finally taken a bold step toward addressing the looming teacher shortage in public schools. The Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate worked with Democrats to create a scholarship program to encourage bright high school students to enter the teaching profession.

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unemployment400
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Monday numbers

3---number of days since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate in North Carolina fell to 4.7 percent in July (Unemployment rate for states, Bureau of Labor Statistics)3---number of days since the Office of Governor Pat McCrory issued a news release claiming McCrory’s policies were responsible for the decline in the unemployment rate in North Carolina (News Release, Office of Gov. Pat McCrory, August 19, 2016)4.9---national unemployment rate in July (“The Unemployment Situation---July 2016, Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 5, 2016)

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The Follies (of two widening scandals in Raleigh)

More national outrage about NC GOP voter suppression efforts

The controversy swirling around the efforts of the North Carolina Republican Party to make it more difficult for African-Americans to vote went national this week, with stories around the country about the memo by NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse urging support for local elections boards to restricting access to early voting.

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The GOP effort to suppress the African-American vote continues

An extraordinary thing happened three weeks ago when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit threw out most of the massive voter suppression law passed by the General Assembly in 2013 and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.

The court found that legislative leaders asked for data broken down by race about how people vote and then as the court put it, with “surgical precision” changed the voting methods used disproportionately by African-Americans.

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