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State budget compromise gives teachers 7 percent raise, GOP leaders mum on details about potential cuts

In a joint press conference Tuesday, N.C House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger gave a broad outline of their recently-reached compromise on the state’s $21.3 billion budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. The Republican legislative leaders used the half-hour press conference to outline what the budget would do ...

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Public schools across North Carolina adopt universal meal programs

With a new school year approaching, many local school boards across North Carolina will join an effort to help end childhood hunger. For the 2014-15 school year the nation-wide Community Eligibility Program (CEP) allows high-poverty North Carolina schools to eliminate collecting school meal applications and offer breakfast and lunch to all of their students at ...

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Renewed National Attention to NC Unemployment Insurance Cuts Tell Story of Harm and Unbalanced Approach

This week has already featured several prominent pieces on North Carolina’s unemployment insurance cuts with the final assessment that many jobless workers have likely been harmed and a more balanced approach to trust fund debt based on evidence not ideology was needed. On Sunday, the New York Times featured a piece by Justin Wolfers of ...

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What we expect to be true in the soon-to-be released final budget deal

Budget writers announced over the weekend that the Senate and House leadership agreed to a basic framework for a final budget deal. That framework includes a pay raise for teachers averaging roughly 7 percent and further cuts to the Medicaid program that provides health insurance and long-term care to children and adults who are poor, ...

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Veteran WaPo columnist: “North Carolina Republicans put ideology above lives”

Veteran Washington Post columnist Dana Millbank gets things just about right in this new essay about the stubborn refusal of the state’s conservative political leaders to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Millbank’s column was inspired by Belhaven mayor Adam O’Neal’s march to Washington that was designed to highlight the plight of his small ...

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Yet another environmental outrage at the General Assembly

It’s last-minute sausage making time down on Jones Street and lawmakers are doing their worst to ram through a raft of measures that are of, by and for the well-heeled special interests. See for example the 54-page “technical corrections” bill that was passed by the House last week and that’s scheduled to blitz through the ...

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Attorney General on defending Amendment One: It’s time to stop making arguments we will lose (video)

Attorney General Roy Cooper spoke out Monday following the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Cooper said while his office has “vigorously defended” North Carolina’s ban, today’s appellate ruling makes it clear that Amendment One will eventually be overturned. “It’s time to stop making arguments ...

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Members of British Parliament join U.S. farmworker leader in call for justice

On Sunday at Pullen Church in Raleigh at an event sponsored by the National Farm Worker Ministry, two members of the British Parliament–Ian Lavery and James Sheridan–joined American farmworker leader Baldemar Velasquez to speak to over 200 supporters about their current tour and mission in the U.S. to fight for justice among farmworkers. Velasquez is ...

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Updated: Fourth Circuit finds Virginia same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

In a 2-1 ruling today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — which decides appeals from federal courts in  Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland — found Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The precedent from the ruling applies to all of these states. Affirming a lower court ruling and writing for the Court ...

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Legislators pressed to strengthen coal ash bill before adjournment (video)

State lawmakers may come together with a final budget bill this week, but environmentalists say there is plenty of work to do on a final coal ash management bill before legislators wrap-up the session. Grady McCallie, policy director for the NC Conservation Network, says both the House and Senate versions of the coal ash bill ...

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