Billy Ball

Billy Ball, worked at NC Policy Watch from 2016 to 2020 — first as an education reporter and later as managing editor.


From DC to NC, our leaders were not ready for coronavirus

By: - March 12, 2020

These times are surreal. And these words feel surreal to write. But many of our leaders, from the White House to the U.S. Senate to the N.C. General Assembly, are criminally incompetent, truth-starved, and woefully unprepared for the coronavirus. President Trump, while reading from a teleprompter, flubbed his words and the truth multiple times while […]


Conservatives ask Supreme Court one more time to scrap Obamacare

By: - March 3, 2020

Third time’s the charm? As multiple outlets reported Sunday, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the fate of Obamacare again, because eradicating a politically popular law and nullifying health insurance for 20 million Americans is worth doggedly pursuing in the Trump White House and the right fringes of the Republican Party, if nowhere else. Otherwise, […]

Policy Watch takes home eight honors at N.C. Press Association awards

By: - February 28, 2020

The staff at N.C. Policy Watch took home eight honors at Thursday’s N.C. Press Association awards banquet, including a prestigious prize given by the N.C. Bar Association to Courts & Law Reporter Melissa Boughton. The annual ceremony celebrates the best reporting, commentary, and photography of 2019, focusing on daily and weekly newspapers, as well as […]


The enduring cruelty of NC Republicans’ broken unemployment insurance program

By: - February 27, 2020

The most stirring moment of this week’s soporific rehash of NC’s cruelly outmoded unemployment system was, alas, its last. Sen. Wiley Nickel, the lone Democrat on the joint committee, urged lawmakers to revisit their gouging 2013 cuts to the unemployment program, which today ranks NC among the stingiest in the nation.  In those heady days, […]


Seven years later, the GOP’s unemployment reforms still haunt NC

By: - February 24, 2020

When North Carolina lawmakers meet Tuesday morning to consider the state’s sickly unemployment insurance system, even though there is no publicly available agenda yet (what else is new?) you should expect a few things. Expect them to talk about the benefits of cutting employers’ taxes. Expect them to regale you with fantastical stories about the […]


The continuing madness of North Carolina’s rejection of Medicaid expansion

By: - February 24, 2020

When they write the book on Republicans’ dominance of NC politics — although, really, I don’t want to read it, living it once is enough — here’s what they’ll say: Yes, the decade’s economic resurgence did nothing for NC’s enduring poverty problem. Yes, the legislature’s reactionary, partisan wedge politics made NC the poster child for […]

After latest court setback, Tim Moore and the GOP must drop their voter ID con

By: - February 19, 2020

Say this for North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore and his surrogates, they are determined con artists.  After a unanimous state Court of Appeals panel dealt the GOP their latest voter ID defeat Tuesday, Moore seemed more like a desperate salesman pitching a broken vacuum than the speaker of North Carolina's House of Representatives in his scathing rebuttal.


Government watchdog claims in new filing that Phil Berger broke state law with Raleigh townhouse payments

By: - February 12, 2020

Bob Hall—government watchdog, ex-political journalist, and, according to one ludicrous GOP aide, reputed “bottom feeder” and “scumbag”—is pacing outside of the high-rise, downtown Raleigh condominiums that Sen. Phil Berger haunts when he’s in town. The building, which is several blocks from the state legislature, is fronted by a dress shop and brewery. This dusty intersection hums […]

Greg Lindberg, the man who knew too many

By: - February 12, 2020

For a man who knew everybody, Greg Lindberg might seem in the coming days like a man who knew nobody. And at this point, perhaps he doesn’t. Lindberg, the indicted financier tied up in a widening bribery scandal, is so intimate with federal investigators’ sonorous tones and heavy breathing upon his shoulder he can tell you what their agents had for lunch (my guess is roasted chicken, white rice, steamed cauliflower and a half-gallon of black coffee; these are not the sort to dally with extraneous carbs).


Donald Trump’s budget a study in cruelty

By: - February 10, 2020

Ever miss “compassionate conservatism?” The label, often used to describe George W. Bush before he was president and before any of his actual policies went into effect, has been out of fashion for some time. Nowadays, it seems, they hardly even fake it. Indeed, you’re not likely to find much compassionate conservatism in Trump’s budget, […]

On impeachment, N.C. deserved a Mitt Romney. We got Thom Tillis and Richard Burr instead.

By: - February 6, 2020

Mitt Romney is, in this moment, the Republican that Americans and North Carolinians deserve. But he is not, of course, the Republican that most of us received.


Editorial: Thom Tillis, Richard Burr “violate their oaths” in Trump impeachment trial

By: - February 4, 2020

We wrote last week about Richard Burr and Thom Tillis’s cadre of failings, two men who, if we believe their muddled justifications, must be two of the more myopic senators this state has ever sent to Washington, D.C. Their arguments for acquitting President Donald Trump, almost a sure thing at this point, only make sense […]