Commentary, Environment, public health, Trump Administration

Two paragraphs that sum up Trump’s attitude toward protecting the environment

The first two paragraphs of a New York Times story today sum up perfectly the approach the Trump Administration is taking towards protecting—or rather not protecting—the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast.

No reason to have actual scientists on a scientific review board. Let the polluters make the rules to protect us from pollution. That’s certain to work well.

Commentary

Fate of popular same-day registration still up in the air

As Melissa Boughton reported yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court passed again this week on taking any action on the monster voter suppression law enacted by the General Assembly and thrown out by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

One of the many things at stake in the case is the fate of same day registration in North Carolina, a voting procedure used as often by Republicans as Democrats and invaluable for people who have moved and didn’t have time to change their registration or folks who are eligible to vote and simply missed the deadline to sign up.

It’s no coincidence that a report from Nonprofit Vote finds the six states with the highest turnout in the 2016 election all have same-day registration in place while the five states with the lowest turnout do not.

And in case you missed it, one of the folks that NC GOP Chair Robin Hayes says he will appoint to the new combined elections and ethics board created by the General Assembly if the courts reject Gov. Cooper’s latest efforts to stop it is Francis De Luca, head of the Pope Civitas Institute.

(Last week, a court issued a temporary restraining order preventing the new board from being created.)

De Luca and Civitas are committed to ending same-day registration and even filed a lawsuit after the November election challenging the practice that has prevented more than 400,000 eligible voters, Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated alike, from from being turned away from the polls since 2007.

A lot of people on the Right continue to work awfully hard to make sure it’s more difficult for their fellow citizens to vote.

Commentary

NC Policy Watch captures six awards from NC Press Association

NC Policy Watch won six awards this year from the N.C. Press Association for journalism and commentary published in 2016.

The awards included a 1st place award for Rob Schofield in the serious columns category and a 1st place for Billy Ball for his education reporting. Ball also won a 2nd place award for his coverage of school choice and a 3rd place award for news enterprise reporting for his story on new ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton.

NC Policy Watch was also awarded 2nd place for General Excellence for online publications.

In addition, two Policy Watchers won awards for their reporting in previous positions, Ball for his work at Indy Week and Environmental Reporter Lisa Sorg for a story at the Coastal Review Online.

Thanks for reading NC Policy Watch and the Progressive Pulse and stay tuned. There’s plenty more top-notch journalism and commentary to come.

Commentary, Special Session

The startling dishonesty of the power grabbers

One of the most striking things about the unprecedented power grabbing currently underway at the General Assembly is the dishonesty of some of the people leading the offensive effort.

Case in point is House Rules Chair David Lewis, who as we reported this week, started the disaster relief session claiming that House leaders were being as “transparent as they can” when Lewis and other lawmakers had signed a letter two days before calling for another special session for all the power grabbing.

Lewis was simply not telling the truth—and he lied again Thursday defending the proposal to reduce the number of political jobs in state government that serve at the pleasure of the governor from 1,500 to 300.

Lewis and his Republicans colleagues increased the number of political jobs from 500 to 1,500 in 2013 after McCrory took office.   Here is Lewis’ justification for reducing the number now,  as reported by the News & Observer.

We have worked to modernize state government and the high number of exemptions, not used by the current governor, are being restored to a number and level that is consistent with the authority granted to past administrations,” said House Rules Chairman David Lewis, who sponsored the bill.

So slashing the number of political jobs is not a big deal according to Lewis, because McCrory hasn’t used the additional positions.

That is simply not true. The N&O again.

And McCrory has actually used much of his current appointment power, with about 1,400 positions currently designated as exempt from civil service protections.

Got that? Lewis defended his proposal to limit Governor Roy Cooper’s ability to hire his own people by intentionally misstating how many political hires McCrory made.

The offensive last minute special session to thwart the will of the voters is bad enough.  Legislative leaders ought to at least have the guts to own up to what they are doing and why they are doing it—and stop lying about it.

Commentary, Special Session

GOP’s last minute anti-democratic power grab drawing national attention and scorn

The absurd power grab by Republican legislative leaders is not only prompting outrage in North Carolina, folks across the country are paying attention too.  Here is a partial rundown of the national coverage and commentary about the unprecedented attempt to seize power from the governor the people of the state elected.

New York Times: North Carolina G.O.P. Moves to Curb Power of New Democratic Governor

Washington Post: A ‘coup’? A ‘power grab’? There’s some serious political drama in North Carolina right now.

Politico: Cooper threatens to sue over North Carolina GOP ‘power grab’

The Atlantic: North Carolina Republicans Try to Curtail the New Democratic Governor’s Power

CBS News: North Carolina GOP lawmakers seek to curb Roy Cooper’s power

The Week: North Carolina’s GOP legislature moves to strip power from incoming Democratic governor

NPR: N.C. Republicans Move To Limit Powers Of Incoming Democratic Governor

Slate: North Carolina Republicans’ Legislative Coup Is an Attack on Democracy

Talking Points Memo: NC Bill Would Let McCrory’s Political Appointees Remain Under Dem Guv