The legislature named a new committee to look at "a wide array of health care issues in advance of next spring's legislative session." The goals are what I think are and should be the goals of any progressive on health care:
House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, announced Thursday the creation of the House Select Committee on Health Care, which is charged with making recommendations on how the state can provide health coverage to more people while keeping it affordable and of a high caliber.
One of the persistent critiques of Gov. Easely's plan to raise teacher pay to the national average (posted about here and here) has been that local agencies will have unplanned for expenses due to the immediate nature of the plan.
Easely has answered those critiques by announcing that this year's raises will be paid for by the state and calling on the legislature to foot the bill for at least this year's raises (article here). WWAY reports:
Easley says he'll work with the Legislature to get teachers a five percent raise over each of the next three years. This year's state budget contained $85 million to pay for the initial raises.
As I stated before, I really like this plan. And I think that it is important for the State to throw in since they have many more resources than the local government. I am just glowing with pride for our Democratic administration. This is how government should work. A solution that will actually help education without passing the buck on to someone else. I have not always agreed with Easely in the past, but on this issue he has been AWESOME. Lets bask in the greatness that is Democratic leadership working for citizens.
As posted below. Sue Myrick refused a Charlotte Observer request for the racial and gender make-up of her staff. Instead in what the Observer calls a "snide" remark, her press secretary said that they would release the information if the paper released the names and political affiliations of their reportes. Here is the Observer's response:
Myrick owes the newspaper and the people of North Carolina an apology, and she should release the information immediately. A taxpayer should not have to cut a deal with a public official to get the kind of public information that The Observer requested.
Love it when Republicans get called on their bullshit. The Republican leading the field for Governor in '08 is already stumbling. Could be a long road ahead.
This is embarrassing. North Carolina is tied for fourth among states with the most hungry families at 4.9%. We are only doing better than Oklahoma (lots of reservations that are difficult to serve), Arkansas, and South Carolina. While the reason for North Carolina's place on the list are unclear, the loss of manufacturing jobs certainly plays a role. But regardless of the reason, this is unacceptable. Certainly the progressive agenda to allieviate poverty will help, but for 1 out of 20 North Carolinians it cannot happen soon enough.
The N&O is reporting that State Treasurer Richard Moore is beginning to assemble a team to make a run for governor. It is also looking more and more like AG Roy Cooper will be running as well. I do not envision any other Democratic contenders except for possibly Lt. Governor Perdue, although it is three years away. I will be putting up bios of Cooper and Moore soon to start getting the early picking started.
Update: Perdue is apparently running. Thanks to James for noting that in the comments. I apologize for being so ignorant as to that fact. Looks like the field is already taking shape three years out.
North Carolina and South Carolina Senators and Congressmen were asked by the Charlotte Observer about the demographic makeup of their staffs. The results were not so suprising. Women and minorities still lack positions within the staffs. . However, there are some choice bits from North Carolina's Officeholders.
First, our representative Myrick had so few women and minorities that she chose not to report:
Rep. Sue Myrick and several other members of Congress from the Carolinas declined to tell a newspaper the number of women and minorities on their staffs, with Myrick saying such information is "not important."
"We don't judge people on color," Myrick, a Charlotte Republican, told The Charlotte Observer. "We judge them on - if someone is perfectly capable, that's what we've always done."
The great paradox of North Carolina is that during the same that Republicans have been dominating elections for federal office, statewide offices have been controlled overwhelming by the Democrats. That is why in North Carolina we can do this:
Under Easley’s plan, teachers in North Carolina will continue to receive salary increases over the next few years, until their pay is at the national average by the 2008-09 fiscal year. Over each of the next three years, the governor and the legislature has committed a five-percent annual salary increase.
The comparison of the state plan to the No Child Left Behind Act shows the different philosophies of the parties in control. The Democrats do something to attract better teachers by paying them a reasonable salary. Better teachers directly benefit students in the classroom.
There is a fascinating article in the Christian Science Montitor today. The article looks at research that examines the relationship between natural disasters over the last 45 years and federal relief of the disasters. One important finding of the article is that different states received different levels of aid. In particular North Carolina did a poor job in receiving aid.
When she looked beyond the trends in losses, "what struck me was how ineffective certain states have been in getting presidential disaster declarations" over the past 40 years. For example, she continues, North Carolina and South Carolina have seen significant losses, yet have garnered relatively few disaster declarations, while North Dakota also has endured similarly high losses and has been "very good" at getting the declarations.
The article goes on to note that one difference in the amount of aid has been whether a state is seen as crucial for reelection.
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