Archives by: Billy Ball

Billy Ball

About the author

Billy Ball, worked at NC Policy Watch from 2016 to 2020 — first as an education reporter and later as managing editor.

Billy Ball's articles and posts

Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

A eulogy: For the abortion bill whose supporters dared not speak its name

Sometime in the latter hours of debate over an abortion bill that North Carolina Republicans insisted was not about abortion – even as the words “abortion” and “abortion victims” were uttered some fourteen-thousand times Wednesday – Speaker Tim Moore descended from his perch at the forefront of the state House chamber to debate.

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With budget veto looming, Republicans wooing Democratic votes with pork

With a close – and bitterly contentious – vote over a potential veto of this year’s state budget looming, North Carolina lawmakers say GOP legislators are scrambling to win over Democrats behind the scenes by offering “pork” spending on local projects.

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Monday Numbers: Memorial Day 2019

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally dubbed, began as a tribute to those killed in the Civil War, still the bloodiest conflict – by far – in U.S. history. Its annual decoration of Civil War graves grew in communities across the country, eventually evolving to commemorate all American conflicts following the grisly toll taken in World War I.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Lawmakers misfire with plan to expand NC’s ill-conceived voucher program

“Governor Cooper is failing when it comes to helping minority students. Don’t let him take away your Opportunity Scholarships,” reads the Raleigh billboard, the latest conservative spittooning of the Democratic governor. Sounds heinous, if true, but the truth is truly, extraordinarily, squishy in this instance.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Damn the politics, impeach Donald Trump. Now.

When Yoni Appelbaum, a senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote in March that President Trump should be impeached, perhaps, for the writer, some doubt remained even then as to the president’s ultimate guilt or innocence. “Impeachment is a process, not an outcome,” he wrote. “A rule-bound procedure for investigating a president, considering evidence, formulating charges, and deciding whether to continue on to trial.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Teachers to march again in Raleigh, but some lawmakers seem to be missing the message

We know Sen. Phil Berger, perhaps the most powerful lawmaker in North Carolina politics, can speak. If there’s a piece of legislation in the last five to ten years that advanced without the Big Berger’s caustic input, I can’t name it.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

After sweeping order, an end to coal ash in NC? All bets are off.

North Carolina’s coal ash problem didn’t begin in February 2014, when a corrugated pipe at a Rockingham County Duke Energy facility vomited 39,000 tons of coal ash and about 27 million gallons of contaminated water into the Dan River. The documented dangers of the coal byproduct predated even a one billion gallon spill in Kingston, Tennessee, six years prior, a spill large enough to fill thousands of Olympic swimming pools.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

On Medicaid expansion, John Kasich is unchained in North Carolina

John Kasich insists he’s a free man. Free from politics? Free from partisanship? Free from Trump? Certainly not free of ambition – the former Ohio governor all but acknowledged last week that he hasn’t ruled out another run for president.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

Change comes again to the UNC system, but not to the Board of Governors

Everyone’s taking a powder in the UNC system these days. Everyone, it seems, but the powerful individuals on the UNC Board of Governors, an onerously large pack of political hellraisers and right-wing combatants who’ve sullied the “crown jewel,” North Carolina’s decorated and bedeviled university system.

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Billy Ball Commentary Original Commentary Top Story

On Sunshine Week, newspapers cope with the dark clouds in their future

It’s Sunshine Week, and things have never been gloomier for the newspaper industry. This year’s annual celebration of public information has been more funereal than most, and I’m the sort who enjoys a rote walkthrough of public records law.

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