NCDP Clips for Monday, September 28th
Legislation Would Cut Food Stamps for Thousands (N.C. Health News) — Tens of thousands living in North Carolina who have been unemployed for an extended period will lose access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, commonly known as food stamps, under a provision slipped into a bill before the General Assembly. Social service workers were scrambling this weekend to get a handle on what the provision, in a bill dealing mostly with immigrants, might mean for them. The 11 lines tacked onto the end of the Protect North Carolina Workers Act (HB 318) would prohibit the state Department of Health and Human Services from asking federal officials for permission to extend food stamp benefits to unemployed, childless adults.
N.C. lawmakers return to try to wrap up session (AP) — Legislators still have many votes to take before what is expected to be the last week of this year’s North Carolina General Assembly session.
Bonds bill, regulation rollbacks among last items on legislative agenda (WRAL-TV) — Lawmakers are beginning what they say will be their last week in session for the year. Among the measures on the calendar are bills calling for a bond referendum, the annual regulatory reform measure and a bill dealing with charter school funding.
Senator lauds compromise (Roanoke-Chowan Herald) — NC District-3 state Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram of Northampton County said there were good appropriations and not enough attention to some other issues. “As your Senator, I voted for this budget because it is a progressive plan that will move District 3 and the State of North Carolina forward,” Smith-Ingram said in a statement that highlighted her vote on some of the key points in the bill. “While I didn’t like the $750 one-time bonus for state employees and teachers, the only other option was nothing at all.”
POLICY & POLITICS
N.C. ranks 50th in 2015’s Best and Worst States for Teachers (Wallethub.com) North Carolina skyrocketed from the worst state for teachers to merely the next-to-worst state for teachers, according to the annual survey by the website WalletHub. “It’s no surprise that the high turnover rate within the field has been likened to a revolving door. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about a fifth of all newly minted public-school teachers leave their positions before the end of their first year. And nearly half of them never last more than five.” West Virginia ranked dead last (51st) with North Carolina ranked 50th. The survey noted that North Carolina ranked 47th lowest in public school spending per-student.
GOP allows proportional delegates in presidential primary (AP) — North Carolina Republicans have decided against awarding all of the party’s pledged delegates to the top vote-getter in the state’s presidential primary in mid-March, even as a bill on Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk strongly suggests they use the winner-take-all format.
N.C. looms large in GOP primary )Winston-Salem Journal) — Up for grabs in North Carolina are 72 delegates — twice as many as 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney got.
GOP presidential hopeful Carson visiting N.C. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is visiting North Carolina’s Triad region.
Woodhouse: Clear choice of state’s GOP leadership (Jones & Blount) — Dallas Woodhouse, the N.C. GOP’s Central Committee pick for executive director, says he is working out the details of the offer and hopes to be on the job within days. Woodhouse had the support of McCrory, state House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger for the job. Woodhouse’s comments to the Central Committee yesterday and his decades of work building grassroots energy around Republican candidates made him a clear choice. There was still hesitation among the group though. Woodhouse’s aggressive style inspires supporters to be fiercely loyal, but also raises eyebrows.
GOP Discontent Isn’t Easing Up (Wall Street Journal) — The Republican Party’s tug-of-war that helped end Rep. John Boehner’s career is likely to intensify this year both on Capitol Hill and in the tumultuous GOP presidential race.
Closed sessions scrutinized (Greenville Daily Reflector) — During Greenville City Council elections, “transparency” and “open government” are common candidate rhetoric.
Bull City Stand Down Serves Vets’ Health Needs (N.C. Health News) — Vietnam veteran Rodney Ford walked away from the Bull City Stand Down last week with a sleeping roll, a rucksack of clothes and toiletries and information about Agent Orange exposure screenings. The event was one of hundreds held across the country. In Durham, the Stand Down occurs every third Friday in September in honor of National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
NC 12 reopens and ferries start running on Outer Banks (AP) — Authorities say state Highway 12 has reopened on Ocracoke Island and most ferry service has resumed on the North Carolina Outer Banks.
Triangle hospitals, doctors on edge as new code system prepares to go live (Raleigh News & Observer) — Backlogged insurance payments. Cash flow problems. Emergency bank loans.
Politicos pack La Fiesta del Pueblo (Raleigh News & Observer) — Thousands gathered in downtown for La Fiesta, a celebration of Latino culture, food, music and dance. Elected officials, from U.S. Rep. David Price to Raleigh Councilman John Odom, waited as a scantily clad Brazilian dance troupe shook mightily to a propulsive samba beat. Two representatives of Gov. Pat McCrory read proclamations in Spanish and English.
Governor’s visit highlights early childhood development (Mountain Xpress) — A meeting last week showcasing the governor’s commitment to early childhood development — and the connections between education and business — also illuminated the “unintended consequences” of how state dollars for education are spent. Gov. Pat McCrory appeared at UNC Asheville to speak at a luncheon meeting about the importance of early childhood education, hosted by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and a nonprofit housed in his office, the N.C. Business Committee for Education, a nonpartisan organization composed of North Carolina’s corporate leaders.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
N.C. ranks 50th in 2015’s Best and Worst States for Teachers (Wallethub.com) North Carolina skyrocketed from the worst state for teachers to merely the next-to-worst state for teachers, according to the annual survey by the website WalletHub. “It’s no surprise that the high turnover rate within the field has been likened to a revolving door. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about a fifth of all newly minted public-school teachers leave their positions before the end of their first year. And nearly half of them never last more than five. “ West Virginia ranked dead last (51st) with North Carolina ranked 50th. The survey noted that North Carolina ranked 47th lowest in public school spending per-student.
Special-interest slush funds coming to N.C.? (Charlotte Observer) — With almost no notice, N.C. legislators made a fundamental and dangerous change last week that will lead to millions of dollars being funneled directly to four politicians.
Hope for fixing struggling schools (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Sara Ray Stoelinga: Stories of hope for turning schools around have no silver bullet, no single intervention or product or policy change or model. But I have seen that each city or district context has its own sweet spot, a point primed for intervention, where progress can be made.
Budget cuts create more crises for mentally ill (Fayetteville Observer) — From the day the state started moving mentally ill people out of the hospitals and back into their home communities, our mental-health system has failed. With the passage of each year, and each new state budget, problems appear to grow. The coming fiscal year doesn’t shape up to be any different.
Solar jobs (Greenville Daily Reflector editorial) — Politicians in North Carolina, as do politicians everywhere, talk about the importance of creating and retaining jobs. Evidently a majority of North Carolina legislators don’t mean it when those jobs are in renewable energy. North Carolina provides 35 percent in tax credits up to a $2.5 million cap for major renewable-energy generating projects. Smaller amounts are provided for residential projects. This is in addition to the 30 percent federal tax credit.
A needless bill from heartless Republicans (Charlotte Observer) — There are occasions, when Republicans make cuts to programs that serve the needy, that the decision comes with an arguable fiscal rationale. Perhaps the expenditure is redundant, or the payoff doesn’t justify the money spent on such a program.
NC light rail derailed in the dark (Raleigh News & Observer) — If Republican leaders in the General Assembly are so proud, so certain of their wisdom in sneaking into the state budget an item that could and probably would kill light-rail transit prospects in Orange and Durham counties, why won’t they say who did it?