Commentary, News

This week’s top stories on NC Policy Watch

1. The budget chess match: Cooper offers compromise; Berger, Moore offer pork to woo Dems for veto override

Gov. Roy Cooper released a proposed budget compromise Tuesday as Republican legislative leaders continued to search for the votes to overturn his veto.

The proposal offers compromises on areas of disagreement from teacher raises and State Capital and Infrastructure Fund money to tax cuts and school vouchers. But on the conflict’s central issue – the expansion of Medicaid for as many as 600,000 North Carolinians without work requirements or premiums – Cooper is holding fast.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senator President Pro Tem Phil Berger both declined Cooper’s invitation to meet Tuesday along with Democratic leaders, but took differing stances on Medicaid. [Read more…]

Bonus read: Governor Cooper’s budget compromise is a reasonable way forward

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2. Cooper offers revised teacher pay raises, hybrid approach to funding school infrastructure needs

Senate leader slams proposed budget compromise, appears to reject further negotiation

North Carolina teachers would see an average 8.5 percent pay raise by the second year of the biennium under a compromise budget proposal offered by Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday.

Cooper’s compromise would replace the 9.1 percent average increase he proposed in his initial spending plan released in March. His offer also tops the 3.8 percent average increase proposed in the conference budget passed by both legislative chambers. [Read more…]

Bonus reads:

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3. Latest GOP trial balloons confirm Cooper has been right to keep pushing for Medicaid expansion

It’s going to happen eventually. It may not be right away and it may not look exactly like it ought to look at first, but at some point in the not-too-distant future, North Carolina is going to expand its Medicaid program.

The momentum to move forward is too strong and the arguments against doing so are just too weak. Consider the following:

  • A growing and overwhelming majority of states – including many dominated by Republicans – have already taken the step and enjoyed extremely positive results. [Read more…]

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4. North Carolina partisan gerrymandering trial could provide roadmap for other states

All eyes will be on North Carolina next week as partisan gerrymandering takes center stage, once again.

The trial in the case of  Common Cause v. Lewis – the state constitutional partisan gerrymandering challenge – will begin at 10 a.m. Monday and could take up to two weeks to conclude. It’s the last chance before the 2020 redistricting cycle that partisan considerations in the mapmaking process can be reined in.

“Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has slammed the door on federal partisan gerrymandering cases, the battleground moves to the states,” said David Daley, the author of Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count. “North Carolina will be the very first test of whether a state-by-state strategy focused on state supreme courts might help curb this scourge on our democracy.” [Read more…]

Bonus read: Author: 2021 will bring ‘unfettered festival of partisan gerrymandering’ after SCOTUS ruling

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5. Environmentalists scoff as Burr joins conservation club

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Wednesday joined his GOP colleagues on Capitol Hill in announcing the formation of a new conservation caucus.

The kickoff of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus comes after President Trump gave a speech this week touting his administration’s environmental record and as Republican lawmakers appear increasingly eager to herald their green credentials.

But environmentalists are accusing Burr and others in the group of attempting to “greenwash” their records. [Read more…]

Bonus read: PW exclusive: Neither Burr nor Tillis is calling for Acosta resignation

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6. Under pressure, superintendent agrees to second enviro study at Moore County school site

More than 10 pollution sources, including two Superfund sites, are within a mile of the new Aberdeen Elementary School

Moore County Schools Superintendent Robert Grimesey has ordered a Phase II environmental assessment of the new Aberdeen Elementary School site, but insists the area is safe.

“My decision to proceed is based solely on persistent and unsubstantiated assertions by some critics that the school board and its administration have failed to ensure the groundwater and soil composition meet standards that are safe for students and staff,” Grimesey said.

Grimesey announced his decision and offered the comments during his superintendent’s report at a public school board meeting July 8. [Read more…]

Bonus reads:

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7. Listen to our latest radio interviews and commentaries with Policy Watch’s Rob Schofield


 

Click here to listen

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8. Weekly editorial cartoon:

 

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