NCDP Clips for Monday, March 2nd, 2015

NCDP Clips for Monday, March 2nd, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

Economic incentives bill to again test NC urban-rural divide(AP) — Division between urban and rural interests isn’t new to the General Assembly. But the fissure is getting a new look from Republicans now in charge of state government as North Carolina’s economic recovery continues.

Which NC teachers should be paid more? (Asheville Citizen-Times) — School districts across North Carolina have submitted plans to the General Assembly regarding teacher pay and which teachers should receive more money. State lawmakers intended to create pilot programs to test some of the plans. But some districts, in submitting their plans, raised concerns about the effectiveness of performance-based pay and avoided making specific recommendations using performance standards. Instead, they focused on extra pay for teachers in hard-to-staff areas or for teachers who take on leadership roles.

Report Alleges American Kennel Club Lax on Puppy Mill Laws (Public News Service) — But an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States alleges the American Kennel Club, a major player at dog shows, has opposed more than 150 different laws around the country including North Carolina, that would help protect dogs in puppy mills. Kim Alboum, the North Carolina state director of the Humane Society, says it’s important consumers understand what their pup’s paperwork means.

Monday night sessions return (WRAL-TV) — Both the state House and Senate will meet at 7 p.m. for the first Monday night business sessions of the year. Gov. Pat McCrory will celebrate Read Across America Day in a Charlotte elementary school before moving on to a press briefing in Greensboro around lunch time. He is scheduled to tour the ECU Brody School of Medicine’s heart institute in the afternoon before returning to Raleigh for N.C. State’s Founder’s Day Dinner.

POLICIES & POLITICS

Fate of 500,000 in NC hangs on ACA court case (Charlotte Observer) — More than 500,000 North Carolinians stand to lose subsidized health coverage based on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act that goes to the US Supreme Court this week.

Charlotte’s LGBT proposal sparks contention (AP) — Charlotte officials appear ready to vote on changes to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

Homeland funding votes clarify political fault line in NC and beyond (Raleigh News & Observer) — Five votes that, in the end, kept one week of funding in place for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security tested North Carolina’s congressional delegation into late Friday. The votes serve as a measure of a political fault line within the Republican party in the House – and in North Carolina’s delegation.

SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES

Tougher GED standards thwart students (Wilmington Star-News) — Students looking to better themselves find it harder to get their high school diploma

UNC Board Kills 3 Centers (Inside Higher Ed) — Vote follows vocal protests and sets off more opposition. Head of poverty research center, one of the targets, announces that he has raised private money to continue work — and dares board to try to stop him.

North Carolina’s K-12 leadership pipeline(EdNC) — The first assignment of school performance grades for North Carolina’s schools put K-12 public education in the headlines.

‘Hunting Ground’ Updated (Inside Higher Ed) — The film originally claimed that the "presidents or chancellors of UNC, Harvard, Notre Dame, Florida State, Berkeley, Occidental and more than 35 other schools all declined to be interviewed." It’s no longer making that claim.

Burr introduces regulatory relief act for colleges (Ripon Advance) — U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced his Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act late last week, a bill that would erase the last six years of regulations and imposed federal standards placed on colleges and universities. Last month, the American Council on Education (ACE) released the “Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities,” an independent report which detailed findings on college and university regulations and their direct contribution to the rise in tuition and fees. “Our colleges and universities are struggling under new regulations imposed by this administration,” Burr said. “Bureaucrats at the Department of Education have become addicted to micromanaging nearly every aspect of campus life, wading into issues Congress never authorized and most commonsense Americans don’t support. Worse, these reporting requirements ultimately are passed down to students and parents in the form of higher tuition, as colleges and universities become compliance-driven organizations, rather than institutions of learning. My legislation rolls back much of this burdensome red tape.”

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Webinar to Focus on Wind Energy (Coastal Review) — The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy continues its webinar series on Monday, March 10, with a presentation on transmitting wind energy to the Southeast.

Wind energy debate continues for Brunswick County officials (Wilmington Star-News) — Brunswick County, towns oppose turbines until concerns addressed by federal officials.

Drilling Forum Planned in Chapel Hill (Coastal Review) — Several environmental groups are sponsoring a public forum in Chapel Hill on offshore oil drilling. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. March 12 at the William & Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.

EDITORIALS
A narrow view of higher ed (Wilmington Star-News) — Taxpayers who have helped build one of the most admired public university systems in the nation should be worried about its future.

Bill deserves scrutiny but would create jobs (Fayetteville Observer) — A proposed package of economic incentives that legislators rolled out last week would give Gov. Pat McCrory more of what he says he needs to recruit jobs. Even though many companies want to come to North Carolina, other states threaten to lure them away with more generous offers. The measure would increase the cap on state Job Development Investment Grants by $15 million. With only $25,000 currently left in the till, it would breathe life into the program for the remainder of 2015.

The Senate’s latest unconstitutional bill (Greensboro News & Record column) — The Senate moved quickly last week to pass another unconstitutional bill — this one allowing magistrates to opt out of performing wedding ceremonies when doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs.

BOG decisions threaten academic freedom (NCSU Technician) — Jim Holmes, the chairman of the UNC Board of governors working group that conducted the center review, said the process was in no way political and that the group individually flagged centers objectively with any prejudice. The evidence clearly says otherwise. Of the 32 members currently sitting on the Board, most were appointed by the Republican-Controlled NC House and Senate. However, the real crime here isn’t that the Board of Governors was playing politics, which is still troublesome. The real crime is it has attempted to circumvent the academic freedom of professors and researchers across the UNC System, and in doing so has prioritized its Republican ideology over the welfare of the citizens of North Carolina.