Archives

Uncategorized

Hey folks — please come to this very special event on June 12 if you get the chance (details after the break…)

How money corrupts our politics and how to stop it

The following is from the introduction to a 2011 interview in Rolling Stone magazine with Harvard Law School professor, Lawrence Lessig.

“‘There is a feeling today among too many Americans that we might not make it,’ Lawrence Lessig writes in the introduction to his new book Republic, Lost. ‘Not that the end is near or that doom is around the corner, but that a distinctly American feeling of inevitability, of greatness – culturally, economically, politically — is gone.’ He goes on to note that Americans’ trust in government is at an all-time low, related to the (largely accurate) belief that moneyed special interests wield outsize influence over our political system. In his book, Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor and big noise in the field of law and technology, details how money came to corrupt our government, how our broken system hurts both the Left and the Right, and what it will take to return American democracy to its rightful owners – the people.”

Please join NC Policy Watch and Common Cause of North Carolina for a very special Crucial Conversation BREAKFAST with this important national figure.  

When: Tuesday June 12  at 8:00 a.m. Read More

Uncategorized

NC Voters for Clean Elections is out with a new and, sadly, not terribly surprising report on the big campaign money flowing from the pro-fracking crowd. This is from the release that accompanied the report:

RALEIGH, N.C. – As North Carolina lawmakers take up a new bill on hydraulic fracturing, the much-debated energy drilling method commonly known as “fracking,” a new report finds that energy interests tied to fracking gave campaign contributions to more than 100 state legislators between 2009 and 2011.

The report by N.C. Voters for Clean Elections, a state coalition focused on the role of money in politics, also finds that legislators who supported a pro-fracking bill in 2011 received more than triple the amount of campaign money from energy interests than did opponents of the legislation. Read More

Uncategorized

In case you missed it, the Wlimington Star News posted an excellent editorial yesterday afternoon about the latest, warmed-over school voucher proposal at the General Assembly. After noting the excellent reporting by Sarah Ovaska here at NC Policy Watch about a lawmaker junket to Florida sponsored by a pro-voucher lobby group, the editorial has this to say:

“If Republican lawmakers are truly interested in improving the public schools, they should stop trying to dismantle them and work on reducing class sizes, improving teacher training, putting more resources into extra tutoring for students who are behind, and stop taking money away for supplies, technology, textbooks and teachers.”

To which, all a body can say is AMEN!

You can read the entire editorial by clicking here.

 

Uncategorized

In case anyone had any doubts, pay-to-play politics are alive and well in the North Carolina General Assembly. As Policy Watch investigative reporter Sarah Ovaska reported here yesterday afternoon, a conservative House leader announced yesterday that he would introduce legislation this week that would establish a new tax break for corporations that fund slots in private schools.

The plan is modeled on a Florida program (now, there’s a highly successful state everyone wants to copy!) that was pitched to a group of 11 state lawmakers, including House Speaker Thom Tillis, at an all-expense paid trip to the Miami area that the pro-voucher group funded in March.

And, of course, the trip — which certainly appears to violate the state’s prohibition on gifts from lobby groups to lawmakers — had absolutely no impact whatsoever on the group’s friendly reception from House leadership or its success in winning introduction of the bill.  

To learn more about what the voucher group and its friends in the corporate world and the General Assembly appear to be up to, check out this excellent article in yesterday’s New York Times  - “Public money finds back door to private schools.”

Uncategorized

The General Assembly returned to Raleigh last week and a controversial method of natural gas drilling – known as fracking – is already on the Republican agenda with the introduction of the Clean Energy and Economic Security Act – S820 (don’t be fooled by the title).  A recent development in the gas industry may foretell the future of the most cavalier of gas companies. Read More