NC General Assembly

Politics & Government
8:04 am
Thu July 3, 2014

NC House, After Heated Debate, Tentatively Approves Coal Ash Bill

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Credit Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

At the General Assembly, lawmakers are getting close to finalizing a bill outlining the future of Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds. Lawmakers have been looking into the situation since February, when 39,000 tons of ash leaked from one pond and coated the Dan River with gray sludge.

The issue of 100 million tons of coal ash in ponds across the state has been slowly growing over the past century.

Utility companies burned coal to generate electricity, cooled off the ashes by mixing them with water, and dumped them into unlined ponds.

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Politics & Government
5:08 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

State Legislators Embroiled In Budget Stalemate

Credit bestclipartblog.com

Today is the first day of the new fiscal year, but there’s no state budget adjustment in sight. That’s because legislators can’t agree on two big issues: Medicaid funding and teacher raises. Last week, the House passed a partial spending plan that would’ve given teachers average raises of five percent despite the absence of a larger budget deal, but last night the Senate rejected the measure.

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Politics & Government
4:37 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Are The Arrests Actually Harming The Moral Monday Movement?

A woman is arrested at the state capitol as part of the Moral Monday protests.
Credit NAACP

The Moral Monday protests from Raleigh have garnered national attention over the past year. A key component of the protests has been media attention on arrests. Dozens were arrested this year for various non-violent offenses, a move some say is becoming an overt aim of many protestors.

Amy Laura Hall is a professor of ethics at the Duke Divinity School.  She has participated in the Moral Monday protests from the start, but she says the tactic of getting arrested -- or "orderly submission" as she calls it -- is flawed.   

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Politics & Government
7:53 am
Mon June 30, 2014

NC General Assembly Stories We’re Following: Week Of Monday, June 30

The North Carolina Legislative Building
Credit NC General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers say they want to break the impasse on a state budget this week. But those aren’t the only bills on their docket.

Leaders in the Senate and the House have been talking about Common Core and Coal Ash since they started meeting in May.

The Senate wants to consider keeping parts of Common Core, the national academic standards for public school students. The House wants to completely replace them.

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Politics & Government
8:44 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Governor And House Leaders Endorse Secondary Budget

Credit Jorge Valencia

Governor Pat McCrory and leaders in the state House have released a bill that would serve as a scaled-down budget proposal. The move is meant to shake up a slow budget process.

House Budget Appropriations Chair Nelson Dollar explained Senate Bill 3 to a packed conference room earlier today. Dollar said among other things, the measure would give teachers an average five-percent pay raise and state employees a $1,000 raise plus benefits.
 

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Politics & Government
12:14 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

The Future Of NC Film Incentives

Iron Man 3 was filmed in North Carolina.
Credit flickr

Film and television production companies in North Carolina currently receive tax refunds of 25 percent if they spend $250,000 or more. The incentives expire at the end of the year unless the General Assembly reinstates them in the budget. Critics say the incentives are too high given a number of permanent jobs the industry creates. But a report commissioned by industry players shows the state receives a positive return on its entertainment investment. 

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Politics & Government
8:32 am
Wed June 25, 2014

NC Senate Tentatively Approves Plan To Close Duke Energy Coal Ash Ponds Within 15 Years

Duke Energy's coal-burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Credit Riverkeeper Foundation

The North Carolina Senate has tentatively approved a plan to close Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds within 15 years.

The plan prioritizes four ponds that Republican lawmakers say are the biggest contamination threats. Duke would have to dig out all the ash and take it to dry storage.

Some Democrats want more ponds to be made high priority.

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Politics & Government
5:33 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Lawmakers Honor Late Senator, Advance Other Measures

Credit creative commons

A number of measures advanced today in the General Assembly, including a resolution that passed honoring the late Democratic Senator Martin Nesbitt, who died earlier this year.

Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate praised the late senator, who was from Asheville. Nesbitt died suddenly after being diagnosed with stomach cancer earlier this year. He was respected on both sides of the aisle and was known as a strong advocate for education.

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Politics & Government
5:28 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

State Lottery Director Says Budget Restrictions Would Decrease Revenue

NC Education lottery at the a North Carolina Food Mart
Credit Laura Candler

The North Carolina state House’s budget plan includes a provision that would double the amount of money the state lottery can use to advertise. Proponents say that would encourage people to buy more tickets and boost revenues to the tune of $106 million, which would be used for teacher raises. But this morning, the state lottery director told lawmakers that restrictions on advertising (that are also written into the House budget proposal) would result in bringing in far less money. 

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Politics & Government
8:25 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Undocumented College Students Walk From Charlotte To Raleigh Asking For In-State Tuition

Elver Barrios (center) and a few dozen other students held a mock graduation for undocumented immigrants behind the Legislative Building in downtown Raleigh.
Credit Jorge Valencia

Five students walked 140 miles from Charlotte to Raleigh over the last 10 days to ask state lawmakers for in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.

Elver Barrios, a computer engineering student at Johnson C. Smith University, and one of the advocates, says that when the group left last week, momentum seemed on their side.

"We were really excited on the first day of walking," he says.

But walking 15 miles a day means blisters on the feet and lots of sun on the face. It turns out there’s not much shade between Charlotte and Raleigh.

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