Commentary

Fouling out: Social media reaction to the loss of millions as #HB2 costs state NBA All-Star game

News

McCrory blasts ‘sports and entertainment elite’ as NBA pulls 2017 All-Star game over HB2

silver_mccrory

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (L) , Gov. Pat McCrory (R)

 

After months of working behind the scenes, urging for the repeal of House Bill 2, the National Basketball Association made good on its promise Thursday to pull the 2017 All-Star game from host-city Charlotte.

Here’s an excerpt from the official NBA statement:

“While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.”

Governor McCrory was quick to issue a response criticizing the NBA’s decision to relocate the All Star game, costing the city an estimated $100 million in anticipated revenue. Here’s the governor’s statement in full:

“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present. Twenty-one other states have joined North Carolina to challenge the federal overreach by the Obama administration mandating their bathroom policies in all businesses and schools instead of allowing accommodations for unique circumstances. Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”

Legislators adjourned the short session of the General Assembly earlier this month, making only minor adjustments to the controversial LGBT law signed by McCrory in March.

News

WATCH: Congressional Black Caucus calls for vote on gun control following police shootings

The Congressional Black Caucus, led by North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield, called on Congress Friday to take action on gun control legislation. Their emotional appeal follows a week of tragic, police-involved shootings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. Watch the full press conference here on C-SPAN.

“If we fail to act, this will be a long hot summer,” said Rep. Butterfield. 

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Commentary, News

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

nc seal 4001. Making the grade –  Which education bills passed, which got held back in the short session

Asked to sum up the 2016 short session of the N.C. General Assembly, Mark Jewell, president of the N.C. Association of Educators, takes very little time.

“Disappointing,” he grouses, roughly three days after state lawmakers wrapped up the session amidst a late-night flurry of negotiations Friday that, strangely, produced little action.

When they adjourned with at least two pivotal education bills still on the table and hopes for substantive changes to House Bill 2 this year all but gone, they wrapped a session that was just as contentious, if not nearly as decisive, as years past.

Some of the school advocates who’ve been most critical of the legislature in recent years are somewhat relieved. Yet Jewell, who helms the state’s leading lobbying organization for roughly 70,000 educators, is nonplussed.

“They are still short-changing public education in this state,” says Jewell. [Continue reading…]

TeacherPayRaises2. 2016-17 budget includes false statement on average teacher salaries

The 2016-17 North Carolina budget includes a problematic line that has become a prominent Republican talking point. Under the item explaining the change in teacher salaries, it reads: “Together, these increases provide, on average, a 4.7% increase for educators, and increase the expected average salary for educators from all fund sources to over $50,150 in FY 2016-17.”  Historically, General Assembly budget documents have included a mention of the average pay raise. Looking back as far as 1997, however, General Assembly budgets have never tried to predict a budget’s impact on next year’s average salaries.  Not only is this information new…it’s dead wrong.

Predicting the average pay raise that would be experienced by the existing teaching force if they all returned the subsequent year is easy.  This is how the General Assembly has historically described new teacher pay plans, and is how the 4.7% figure from this year’s Budget was calculated. [Continue reading…]

New East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton3. Controversial new ECU chancellor blocks Twitter critic; decries social media “rudeness”

In May, Policy Watch dove into the winding, controversial background of new East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton.

Staton was one of the first major university appointments under UNC System President Margaret Spellings. It was criticized by some who questioned hiring an individual with a lengthy political background in a primarily academic position.

In our story, we explained how Staton, in addition to being an accomplished academic, former Georgia Republican legislator and right-wing book publisher, led a voter ID charge that passed in Georgia in 2005.

That law is a model of sorts for similar voter ID legislation passed in GOP-controlled states such as North Carolina, despite the fact that civil rights groups and Democrats have blasted such bills as an attempt to blunt voting among the youth and the elderly, two groups that tend to vote for Democrats. [Continue reading…]

Source: Workers' Rights Project4. Obama administration rules for homecare workers upheld; time for NC to get on board

If there were a contest to identify the most neglected group of workers in modern North Carolina, the folks commonly referred to as homecare workers would be top contenders.

Homecare workers – including certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, caregivers, and companions – are the people who perform essential services that help keep people out of institutions and provide them the care and support they need to stay in their own homes. This segment of the North Carolina economy includes more than 47,000 workers and is expected to grow by 22 percent by 2020 to meet the needs of our rapidly expanding elderly population.

The North Carolina Justice Center’s 2015 report Fair Pay for Quality Care described the many challenges homecare workers face, including low wages and lack of paid leave to care for themselves and their own family members. According to last year’s investigative report by Raleigh’s News and Observer, Medicaid-funded private companies, including homecare agencies, were the single largest group of employers with unresolved “wage theft” cases investigated by the North Carolina Department of Labor in FY 2014. [Continue reading…]

Mc-coalash10225. Tuesday numbers  (HB 630 and the coal ash clean-up)

884—number of days since a massive coal ash spill at an abandoned Duke Energy power plant near Eden contaminated the Dan River with 39,000 tons of toxic coal ash and 24 million gallons of ash-contaminated wastewater  (“Year after ash spill, state of Dan River in dispute, WRAL-TV, January 30, 2015)

33—number of unlined coal ash pits that Duke Energy has at 14 sites throughout North Carolina (“Year after ash spill, state of Dan River in dispute, WRAL-TV, January 30, 2015)

100—percentage of these sites that leach contaminants into surrounding soil and groundwater (“Unlined and Dangerous: Duke Energy’s 32 Coal Ash Ponds in North Carolina Pose a Threat to Groundwater” National Geographic, March 5, 2014)

3 million—amount in gallons of contaminated water that coal ash ponds are leaking every day across North Carolina (“Duke Energy’s coal ash leaks persist across NC,” Charlotte Observer, January 31, 2015).[Continue reading…]

News

Vigils planned statewide in aftermath of police shootings

Vigils will be held across the state this weekend to mark the recent fatal shootings of Philando Castile in St. Paul,  Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and five police officers in Dallas.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and we hope you will contribute to this post as other events are scheduled:

In Raleigh:

In Winston Salem:

  • A #BlackLivesMatter march is planned for Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. in Downtown Winston-Salem. Find more information here.

In Charlotte:

According to the Charlotte Observer, multiple events are planned across the Queen City:

  • A “Peaceful Protest” is planned for this evening at 6:00 p.m. at Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Church St.
  • A Candlelight Vigil is planned for 7:30 p.m. this evening at the New Outreach Christian Center, 3900 Gossett Ave.
  • On Sunday, a healing Service is planned for 11:00 a.m. at Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church, 3535 Nevin Road.
    “We will pray together for the racial climate in our country, the families who are mourning and angry, law enforcement officers, black men, gay, straight, trans and people in the power seat.”
  • Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. a candlelight vigil will be held at Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road. The gathering will include a reading of the names of those killed in recent days in Dallas, Baton Rouge (La.) and suburban St. Paul (Minn.). The church bells will toll, and there will be Scripture reading, silence and prayer.  Find more information on the interfaith service here.