NCCAT searches for salvation in Raleigh

fr nccatThe North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching is sweating out the legislative short session. Gov. Pat McCrory didn’t include any funding for the Cullowhee-based center in his proposed budget, and unless legislators carve out a place in the final budget, the center will close June 30. 

Two unfortunate consequences: a one-two punch for hospitals and the working poor donut hole

Hospitals in North Carolina face a catch-22 of the worst kind: the $600 million kind, the kind they have no control over, the kind that involves politics.

Hospitals in North Carolina are seeing a financial hit they can ill-afford after state lawmakers in the General Assembly turned down the federal government’s offer to expand Medicaid last year. It would have added 500,000 uninsured poor to Medicaid rolls.

State stance on more Medicaid for the poor unlikely to shift

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are standing by their controversial decision last year to deny Medicaid expansion to 500,000 low-income people who otherwise lacked health coverage.

Some Democrats in the General Assembly are pushing to revisit Medicaid expansion, however. The legislative season had barely gotten underway last week when a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill that would reverse course on Medicaid expansion.

Local educators cheer ruling: Judge declares 25 percent law unconstitutional

Local school leaders and educators are celebrating last week’s court ruling declaring a 2013 law that doles out a small raise for 25 percent of the state’s teachers — no more and no less — unconstitutional. 

Voucher program still in play

School vouchers are back on the table for the 2014-15 school year following a ruling in the North Carolina Supreme Court last week. In March, N.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood issued a preliminary injunction against the Opportunity Scholarship Program, preventing the voucher program from going into effect until the court could hear the case and issue a final ruling.

Education funding tops legislature’s short session list

North Carolina legislators have returned to Raleigh for the General Assembly’s short session. In the weeks ahead, lawmakers will wrestle with Medicaid, coal ash and a $445 million budget shortfall.  

Jane Hipps’ cakewalk ends, fight for N.C. Senate begins

fr hippsJane Hipps was quickly anointed front-runner status in the Democratic primary for N.C. Senate — from the day she entered the race, in fact — but the victory she pulled out was the epitome of a clean sweep.

Not so fast: Counties struggle with new state social services computer system

It’s been over a year since North Carolina began the rollout of a new computer program called NC FAST, for North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology. The system was supposed to make it easier to process applications for social services like Food and Nutrition Services, Work First and Medicaid, but it’s not smooth sailing yet.

Parsing out a position in party primaries

Next week is decision time for voters who disagree with the new conservative tack of North Carolina’s policy makers and want to reverse the emergent Republican majority now at the state’s helm.

House party: Three GOP candidates take aim at Rep. Queen


A trio of Republican candidates have lined up to challenge N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, for his District 119 House seat. One is barely old enough to drink, one campaigned for Barry Goldwater and one features Second Amendment-chest thumping on his website: “United Nations – stay out of NC!”

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