News

A bill filed this week by Sens. Wells, Brock, Wade and Soucek would limit school employees’ political activities — and while it only pertains to what teachers can and can’t do during working hours, some are concerned the bill could keep teachers from speaking out altogether on issues they care about.

“I think it could have a chilling effect,” said Guilford County Spanish teacher Todd Warren in an interview with the Greensboro News & Record on Thursday. “Teachers aren’t the most politically active people anyway, but right now there are a lot of people who are afraid for their jobs if they speak out on some of these issues. This could just make that worse.”

Senate Bill 480 would disallow school employees from working on political campaigns during working hours, use the authority of his or her position to secure support or opposition for a political candidate, and use public funds to these ends. Read More

News

Governor Pat McCrory was all smiles in January when he announced his administration had reached a $52 million dollar deal to sell the Dorothea Dix campus to the City of Raleigh.

Now Senate Bill 705 (Ensure Fair Sale of Dorothea Dix Property) threatens to upend the governor’s real estate deal.

The bill filed by Republican Senators Louis Pate, Ralph Hise and Tommy Tucker terminates the earlier contract with Raleigh and calls for the minimum acceptable bid to be set at $52 million.

Click below to watch Gov. McCrory announce the Dix park sale earlier this year. To read Senate Bill 705, click here.
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News

womens-healthOn the final day for state Senators to file bills for the session, Senators Shirley Randleman, Joyce Krawiec, and Warren Daniel teamed up to introduce the Women and Children’s Protection Act of 2015.

Senate Bill 604  would impose new requirements on doctors performing abortions and stipulate that abortion clinics have in place written agreements with area-hospitals to accept the transfer of patients who are in need of emergency care.

The bill also would appropriate $500,000 from the General Fund to establish a perinatal resource care program at UNC Hospitals to serve families with complications.

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina said SB 604 was nothing more than anti-choice politics. Here’s more from the statement the organization released Thursday afternoon:

‘Today, we ask that our legislators focus their energy on women’s health, not politics.

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina’s top priority is to protect comprehensive reproductive healthcare access. While 7 in 10 Americans believe in protecting a woman’s fundamental rights, the majority of North Carolina counties do not have access to an abortion provider. SB 604 will only further restrict access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare.

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina agrees that women should receive reproductive healthcare in the safest possible environment, and that doctors should be free to provide the best medical care for every patient’s individual needs. SB 604 will make it more difficult for patients to receive the quality care they deserve. On the surface these regulations may seem mundane, but in reality, their purpose is to block women’s access to abortion. We agree with previous statements made by legislative leaders that the General Assembly should not be practicing medicine.’

To read Senate Bill 604 in its entirety, click here.

Commentary

Please join us for a very special Crucial Conversation luncheon in Raleigh on Tuesday, April 7:

Can this coastline be saved? Offshore drilling and what it will likely mean for North Carolina’s beaches and wetlands
Click here to register

Recently, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a draft five-year plan that would make the Mid- and South Atlantic coasts available to oil and gas leasing starting in 2017. This represents a significant shift in federal policy, as there have never been any producing oil or gas wells drilled off the ecologically rich coastlines of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Offshore drilling could threaten the economic livelihood of the coastal communities that rely on healthy waters and clean beaches to support local tourism and fishing industries. It could also damage barrier islands and marsh ecosystems, as well as sensitive wetlands that provide drinking water and hurricane protection to nearby communities.

NCPW-CC-2015-04-07-sierra_weaver

Join us as we explore this controversial “sea change” with one of the state’s leading experts on the topic, Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Sierra Weaver. Attendees will have a chance to get fully up to speed on the rush to drill and learn what will come next after the initial March 30 comment period and how to stay engaged in the issue.

Don’t miss the chance to learn more about this important issue at this critical juncture.

Note: If you’d like to comment by the March 30 deadline, go to http://regulations.gov, type “Docket ID: Boem-2014-0085? into the “search” tab and click on the “Comment Now!” button. You can also click here to check out information from the NC Coastal Federation Facebook page.

When: Tuesday, April 7, at noon — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Click here for parking info.

Space is limited – preregistration required.

Cost: $10, admission includes a box lunch.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

NC Budget and Tax Center

For Throwback Thursday, the Senate is relishing in old school ideas.

Case in point, a bill was filed today to further cut income taxes for profitable corporations and continue to reduce the flat income tax rate that benefited the wealthiest taxpayers the first time around. It is an eerily similar approach as the legislation passed in 2013, which is now hurting our state and economy.

Income tax cuts like the one proposed in today’s throwback are not the answer to the state’s economic challenges. Just ask Senator Brown who is working to secure additional sales tax revenue for rural counties that have been hit hard by the 2013 tax changes which ultimately reduced state investments in public schools and economic development. Take a look at the academic research which finds no consensus on tax cuts benefiting the economy through job creation or increased incomes. Or consider the experiences of states’ like Kansas where income tax cuts have not delivered a boost in jobs or wages but have resulted in cuts to core services.

The continued pursuit of income tax cuts will not boost North Carolina’s economy, it only serves to further reduce revenue that pays for services that people rely on each day, like our schools.  Preliminary estimates suggest the cost of this bill would be $1 billion, on top of the nearly $1 billion price tag of the tax changes passed in 2013.

One major beneficiary of these tax cuts will be profitable corporations.  Read More