NCGA

Art Pope and the disenfranchisement of young black voters

Another historically black college loses its voting site:

We’re disappointed in the poor reasoning behind eliminating Anderson Center at Winston-Salem State University as an early voting site. We hope the state elections board will overturn the heavy-handed decision to eliminate it.

The Forsyth County Board of Elections was split over including the site for the March 15 primary election during its meeting last week, the Journal’s Wesley Young reported. The two Republicans on the board, Chairman Ken Raymond and Stuart Russell, were against the inclusion, while Fleming El-Amin, the Democrat on the board, pushed for its inclusion.

Don't hold your breath. The state board doesn't make a habit of overturning these decisions, no matter how nonsensical or nakedly partisan they are. Especially considering the Pope of Discount Village is likely watching closely to make sure his wishes are fulfilled:

McCrory doing something right for a change

Cracking down on employee misclassification:

Gov. Pat McCrory took surprise action on Dec. 18 by signing an executive order to target one persistent business practice that experts said is putting a drag on the economy: worker “misclassification” fraud, which illegally takes a company’s workers off the books and calls them independent contractors.

McCrory’s action was stimulated, in part, by a series of articles published in September 2014 by The News & Observer of Raleigh and The Charlotte Observer titled “Contract to Cheat,” which revealed that the state loses $467 million a year in lost tax payments from the construction industry alone, while workers are not protected by workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits.

Not unlike that Martin Shkreli situation, who was just fine ripping off AIDs patients but got locked up for ripping off the wealthy. In this case, the misclassification thing didn't become a problem until McCrory realized the lost government revenues might jeopardize the GOP's tax cuts for the wealthy. Whatever the motivations, it's a growing problem that needs to be fixed, so have at it.

The newest attack on public schools: Achievement School Districts

A special invitation for failure:

An evaluation of those Tennessee schools Vanderbilt University researchers published in December said results were inconsistent and performance, measured by test scores, was about the same as other low-performing schools. The schools are in different cities but are all part of an Achievement School District run by a single superintendent.

But state Rep. Rob Bryan, a Charlotte Republican, who worked this year to get an Achievement School District established in North Carolina, said he was encouraged by information published by the Tennessee district itself that showed high student growth in schools that were in the program for more than a year.

Yeah, nevermind what Vanderbilt says, let's focus on how the privately-managed district describes itself. Those who have been following the school privatization issue are well aware of Rob Bryan's preference for faulty research that supports his views on gutting public schools, but what we really need are a few Legislators to face off with him in the next session to stop this movement. And somebody needs to state the obvious: Republicans frequently bash DPI, because trying to run school districts from a couple hundred miles away is "foolish and counterproductive." But that's exactly what this Achievement School District boondoggle is all about: Putting schools from various cities under one (private-sector) umbrella. The wheels on this snake-oil wagon need to be knocked off the axle before it's too late.

'Twas the night before Christmas

Chris Fitzsimon should have been NC's Poet Laureate:

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Raleigh town
Politicians filed for the next election round.
There was Richard and Deborah; don’t forget Chris Rey.
For GOP governor, Bob Brawley had a say.

Brawley’s filing annoyed the Guv’s re-election hunt
So they leaked scary emails to “news” team Jones & Blount.
The list of GA candidates is worth a gander,
So many unopposed, the winner’s Gerry Mander.

Take the time to read the whole thing, it's worth it. The sad thing is, even though it's a long poem, it still doesn't cover half of the idiotic and inhumane actions of the current "leaders" of our state. Here's another taste:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Possibly the most interesting political development from yesterday:

And just to allay any potential concerns you might have: Yes, Thomas is a seasoned political consultant, but there's also a solid policy wonk just under the surface of that campaign veteran. Dude is smart and realistic, which is critical when it comes to crafting legislation that has more than a ghost of a chance of making it all the way to the President's desk.

Altered state: Amid the gloom, rays of hope

ncpolicywatch.png

But only a unified front will release us from bondage:

As we’ve seen, there’s good reason for hope. But progressives would also do well to recall that much of the Right’s undeniable success in working its will on state policy is the residue of design. For decades now, conservative funders, politicians, think tanks, religious activists and corporate lobby groups have worked diligently and spent mountains of cash in a coordinated fashion to roll back the clock and to resist the social and economic changes that progressives champion and conservatives fear. They will not go quietly or painlessly back into the minority. It will take the sustained commitment of tens of thousands of activists, organizers, lobbyists, litigators, writers, bloggers, researchers, thinkers, business people, funders, politicians and voters to turn things around.

And that last part is doubly relevant as the clock winds down on candidate filing for the 2016 General Assembly election. GOP leadership has made numerous missteps in the last few sessions, that have left many (even in their base) wondering what the heck is going on. But if we don't provide an alternative for them to vote for, we'll never know if that confusion has morphed into dissatisfaction in the minds of voters.

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