Seven things to have on your radar this week

Voter IDVoter ID – The challenge to the state’s voter photo ID law heads to trial in Winston-Salem federal court today. The latest arguments come about six months after the court wrapped up the trial concerning most of the challenged provisions of the so-called “monster voting law.”

Readers might also remember last week, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder rejected a request by the state NAACP to block the voter ID requirement ahead of the March 15 primary.

What’s the future for Medicaid expansion in our state? – Wake Forest University law school hosts an important town hall meeting this evening looking at that very question.
Tonight’s panel includes: state Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth); Brad Wilson;  president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina; Janet Hoy, the chair of the Healthcare Roundtable for the League of Women Voters in North Carolina; and Katherine Restrepo, the Health and Human Services Policy Analyst for the John Locke Foundation.

Can’t make it to the Triad for the 6:00 p.m. event? Not a problem, that discussion will be webcast live here.

The latest jobless data – North Carolina posted an unemployment rate of 5.7 % in November. We’ll learn on Tuesday how the state finished 2015, and whether indicators lean toward 2016 being a better year for job hunters. Details on the unemployment rate can be accessed here.

Achievement School District – Tuesday morning, legislators will begin discussing the merits of Achievement School Districts. The Achievement School District (ASD) model is an effort to turn LW-ASD15Aaround failing schools that has been tried in cities like New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville.

As NC Policy Watch reported last summer:

How it works: the state identifies its bottom five percent of schools based on their students’ performance on standardized tests and marks them ‘priority schools,’ placing them within the state-controlled Achievement School District with the goal of lifting them up into the state’s top 25 percent within five years.

In most cases, however, the state doesn’t run the priority schools—instead, the state contracts out their management to private charter school operators.

Representative Rob Bryan convenes that  committee at 10:00 a.m. in Room 423 of the Legislative Office Building.

UNC Board of Governors – The UNC Board of Governors meets in special session on Tuesday  at 10:00 a.m.  at the Center for School Leadership Development in Chapel Hill. (A complete agenda is available here.)

Inclement weather last week delayed a planned Friday protest by students, faculty, and concerned citizens over UNC system president Margaret Spellings’ appointment. Those demonstrators are expected to return on Tuesday.

Tom JensenPollster Tom Jensen answers your questions – With the 2016 election campaign already well underway and early voting for the March 15 North Carolina primary scheduled to commence March 3, Wednesday’s Crucial Conversation is an excellent time to get fully up to speed on where things stand in the presidential, U.S. Senate, and gubernatorial races.

One of America’s premier pollsters, Tom Jensen of Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, will discuss the mood of voters and what changes we could see after the ballots are cast in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Wednesday’s event begins at noon at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St.  We have just a few seats remaining, please register today.

Jan28docMust see documentary – Thursday evening in Durham marks the premiere of Trying to Get By: Stories from NC workers, a student-produced documentary exhibit that showcases the real-life stories of North Carolina workers confronting our low wage service economy. Their powerful testimonies shed light on the daily struggle of the people who serve us the food we eat, clean the homes we live in, and tend to the needs of our aging relatives.

The event gets underway at 6:00 p.m. at the Smith Warehouse (Bay 4) of the Franklin Humanities Center, 114 South Buchanan Blvd., Durham.

NC State AFL-CIO leader MaryBe McMillan, home care workers, fast food workers, administrators, and policy experts at Duke will be available to chat about the film.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Documentary Studies, the Samuel B. Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity, and the David L. Paletz Innovation Course Enhancement Fund.

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