Commentary, News

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

1. Hopeful lessons from Saturday’s Moral March (and one important way in which progressives are screwing up)

This past Saturday’s 11th annual HKonJ-Moral March on Raleigh was by any estimation, a rousing success. At a point in time in which caring and thinking people are being inundated with multiple calls to action on a daily – if not hourly – basis, tens of thousands of people found the time and energy to make their way to downtown Raleigh to denounce Trumpism and the destructive actions of the North Carolina legislature and promote a vastly different vision of American society.

What’s more, in addition to the marvelous esprit de corps that the event helped to promote and infuse in those who marched and watched online, one couldn’t help but sense that there was a new level of power, efficiency and effectiveness in the movement spearheaded by Rev. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP. [Read more…]

2. Berger rejects Cooper’s efforts to remove the dark stain of HB2
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and other Republican leaders have spent the last few days desperately distorting the facts and rewriting history to try to blame Governor Roy Cooper for the disaster of HB2 that was passed by the GOP supermajority in the House and Senate and signed into law by former Governor Pat McCrory last March.

There is a good reason for their renewed desperation to shift the blame away from themselves for the discriminatory law that has already cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs, not to mention demonized a group of people in the state.

The NCAA, which has already pulled several major sporting events out of the state because of HB2, is currently deciding where hundreds of championship events will be held in the next five years.  [Read more…]

*** Bonus Read:  Cooper tries again to broker a deal to repeal HB2

***Bonus video:
Rep. Meyer: It’s imperative legislators fully repeal HB2 in the next couple weeks (Rep. Meyer appears this weekend on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon.)

3. Conservative NC legislators eye national constitutional convention

The flurry of bills in the current session of the North Carolina General Assembly include some real political firestorm issues – guns, abortion, public education.

But several new bills deal with something that is, at once, a much more esoteric issue and a growing national controversy: the movement to amend the U.S. constitution.

House Joint Resolution 44 (Senate Joint Resolution 36) proposes an application to the U.S. Congress for a convention of the states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution for the purposes of proposing constitutional amendments. [Read more…]

4. Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: “Nobody is saying what’s happening to the little people”

Belinda Joyner rode shotgun and stared out the window at the fertile farm fields ripening with cotton. She pointed to the tidy brick ranch houses and modest modular homes that flanked U.S. 301 north of Garysburg: “African-American. African-American. African-American.”

We headed north about five miles to Pleasant Hill, near the Virginia border. Past the State Line Lottery and the Georgia-Pacific wood products plant, we crossed the railroad and pull onto Forest Road. Soon it turned to dirt. “Somewhere back there,” Joyner said, sweeping her hand toward a thicket of trees. “That’s where they’ll put it.”

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would begin the final leg of its 600-mile journey here, in North Carolina. If approved by federal regulators, the $5 billion project, co-owned by Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, would start at a fracking operation in West Virginia. The ACP would then transport natural gas across rugged terrain and federal lands in Virginia.[Read more…]

5. Fix to school funding crunch advances through N.C. House
North Carolina House lawmakers unanimously backed draft legislation intended to allay an imminent K-3 class size dilemma for public schools Thursday, despite criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

House Bill 13 will offer local school districts flexibility over their average and maximum classroom sizes in the early grades, weeks before public school leaders say a GOP-led state budget provision could have forced districts to choose between axing arts and physical education classes or asking for major funding increases from local governments.

State officials say the the implications could be modest in smaller districts, but significant in some of North Carolina’s largest school districts. [Read more...]

***Bonus multimedia stories:

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Upcoming Events

Friday, Feb. 16

12:00 PM

Crucial Conversation – Prof. Peter Edelman discusses his new book, Not a Crime to be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America

Prof. Edelman is coming to the Triangle to mark the 50th anniversary of Durham-based nonprofit MDC. His visit is the first of a series of MDC-sponsored events focused on ways that Southern leaders can work together to create an Infrastructure of Opportunity that shapes a South where all people thrive.”