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I wonder what was going through the mind of Senator Richard Stevens last night as he joined his Republican colleagues in a vote to override Governor Perdue’s veto of a bill that allows local community college officials to refuse to make low-interest federal loans available to its students.

The original proposal to require community colleges to make the loans available came from a study commission that Stevens co-chaired and from legislation that he himself introduced in 2010.  It passed as part of the Democratic leadership’s budget that year that Stevens supported. 

Steven’s commission rightfully found in 2010 that all students in North Carolina deserved access to the low cost federal loans to help pay for their education and Stevens even pointed that out in the debate last year before inexplicably voting for the Republican legislation to allow colleges to refuse to offer the loans.

Last night Stevens, who is not seeking reelection, voted one more time to deny community college students the financial assistance that just two years ago he said was so important to their future.

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Top of the morning

The Supreme Court will issue its ruling on the Affordable Care Act in the next two weeks, with most of the attention focused on the individual mandate that requires people to purchase health care if they are not already covered.

The folks on the right continue to howl that the mandate is not only unconstitutional, it represents a Marxist overreach by the government. 

Here is a quote from a presidential candidate who disagrees.

Some of my libertarian friends balk at an individual mandate. But is it libertarian to insist that government pick up the tab for those without insurance or means to pay? An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under law, that is impossible — and inhumane.

That’s not President Obama talking. It is  Mitt Romney just six years ago, in an email making the conservative case for the individual health care mandate that was the foundation of his health care reform plan in Massachusetts.

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Top of the morning

In case you are wondering how the Senate is putting its budget together, check out what Appropriations Chair Neal Hunt posted Friday on his Facebook page.

It is budget crunch time. The other Senate Appropriation co-chairs (Pete Brunstetter, Richard Stevens) and I will meet all day today and Saturday with the Senate fiscal staff to finalize our proposed 2012-2013 budget.

Nice of them to finalize things all on their own.  Not letting anyone else have a say certainly saves a lot of time and aggravation.

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Top of the morning

Diane Ravitch has a great summary of what the American Legislative Exchange Council and its corporate and right-wing funders are trying to do to public education.  It ought to sound very familiar to education advocates in North Carolina.

Wherever you see states expanding vouchers, charters, and other forms of privatization, wherever you see states lowering standards for entry into the teaching profession, wherever you see states opening up new opportunities for profit-making entities, wherever you see the expansion of for-profit online charter schools, you are likely to find legislation that echoes the ALEC model.