Commentary, News

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch


604-chart1. Out-of-state leadership of North Carolina charters raises red flags

The N.C. State Board of Education may be set to approve a policy limiting out-of-state leadership in North Carolina charter school boards as soon as next month, but some, including state board Chairman Bill Cobey, say the new provision might not go far enough.

Members of the state board—which is granted broad oversight powers for North Carolina’s 151 public charter schools—received a policy proposal from their Charter School Advisory Board last week that they require a majority of members on any charter’s governing board maintain their primary residence in North Carolina.

Given the growth of national charter school networks, such as the Challenge Foundation—a national group that funds a pair of schools, accounting for nearly 11 percent of the student population, in rural Rutherford County — proponents say it’s essential to maintain some local control over charters. [Continue reading...]

wb-208-20162. Pope-funded group pushes proposal to guarantee government gridlock
So-called “REINS Act” would pose grave threat to consumers, environment, public health and safety

With all of the damage the political Right has done to the public services and structures of North Carolina over the past five years, some observers may be of the impression that the worst is over.

Think again.

If these folks get their way the Tea Party revolution is just getting underway.

The latest volley in this destructive war on all things public was fired last week at a legislative study committee meeting in Raleigh at which representatives of a local “think tank” funded by conservative financier Art Pope advanced the enormously destructive idea of enacting something with the tortured and Orwellian title “Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act” or “REINS” for short. [Continue reading…]

ff-211-Trump3. Trump is a symptom in North Carolina not just a candidate

Listen to many of the conservative pundits around the country and in North Carolina these days and you’d think Donald Trump appeared out of nowhere to storm to the front of the Republican presidential primary field with his rhetoric about immigrants and Muslims and women that traditional Republican leaders say they find offensive.

Trump has called for a ban on Muslims travelling to the United States, a suggestion that North Carolina Senator Richard Burr called a bad mistake that would be harmful for national security.

When Trump announced his bid for president last summer he railed against immigrants from Mexico that he said included murderers and rapists.

Those comments ignited a firestorm of protest that led to television networks announcing they would no longer air beauty contests that Trump presents, ESPN shifting a golf tournament away from a Trump golf course and NASCAR moving its banquet away from a Trump-owned property. [Continue reading…]

mapredraw1and124. U.S. Supreme Court to decide fate of congressional primaries

Update: Per SCOTUSblog, the Chief Justice has asked the redistricting plan challengers for a response to the state’s application for a stay, due by 3 p.m. February 16.

The fate of North Carolina’s congressional primary elections now rests with the U.S. Supreme Court, after the same federal three-judge panel that last week ordered lawmakers to redraw voting lines by February 19 refused late yesterday to stay that order pending appeal to the nation’s highest court.

Finding that the state had little likelihood of success on appeal and that conversely the harm to state voters being forced once again to cast ballots under an unconstitutional plan was irreparable, the judges unanimously ruled in favor of challengers who’ve been trying for more than three years in state and federal courts to have the state’s 2011 redistricting plans invalidated.

Writing for the panel, U.S. District Judge William F. Osteen, Jr. said:

The public has an interest in having congressional representatives elected in accordance with the Constitution. As the Supreme Court has noted, once a districting scheme has been found unconstitutional, “it would be the unusual case in which a court would be justified in not taking appropriate action to insure that no further elections are conducted under the invalid plan.”

With that order, state officials quickly filed an emergency stay application with the Supreme Court. [Continue reading...]

Bonus read: State Supreme Court denies request for rehearing of redistricting decision

ff-Medicaid-Spending5. The missing facts about the Affordable Care Act on the campaign trail

Here are a couple of facts that haven’t made it into many of the heated political debates being held around the country and in North Carolina this election season.

A new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention finds that the number of uninsured people in the United States fell by 7.2 million in 2015. That means that there are 16 million fewer uninsured people than two years ago when the Affordable Care Act began.

The other number that seems buried in the news is that more 610,000 people in North Carolina signed up for health care under the ACA during the open enrollment period that ended February 1st.

That is more than a ten percent increase over the enrollment figures from the year before. The overwhelming majority of those who enrolled will receive a subsidy to help pay their premiums. [Continue reading…]

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