Weekly Briefing

NC legislative hearing should feature tough questions about state’s troubled hurricane response

BY: - September 13, 2022

Six years. That’s how long it will have been, come next month, since Hurricane Matthew raked and inundated eastern North Carolina with high winds and catastrophic rainfall. The storm arrived on October 8, 2016, and left within a day, but the trail of destruction that resulted was huge.

The right’s laughable and offensive attacks on Biden’s student loan debt relief program

BY: - September 6, 2022

There have been a lot of half-baked attacks on President Joe Biden’s recently announced initiative to forgive some of the crushing mountain of student loan debt that’s weighing down Americans of all ages. There's the claim that it will somehow worsen the inflation that’s been plaguing the global economy. But as expert after expert has patiently explained, the program simply isn’t big enough to have such an impact.

students looking at their laptops

Successful public schools: More than just providers of a sound basic education

BY: - August 30, 2022

What is the purpose of a public school system? Twenty-five years ago, in its landmark Leandro ruling, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that the purpose was, at a minimum, to provide every child in this state with the opportunity to obtain a “sound basic education.”  This week, the court will hear a new round of arguments (and presumably, attempt to fashion a permanent solution) in that same, seemingly never-ending case.


State Supreme Court issues a limited, well-reasoned check on rogue legislatures

BY: - August 23, 2022

As you may have heard by now, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued one of its more momentous rulings of recent years last week. As it turns out, it was also one of the best-reasoned. At issue in the case of North Carolina NAACP v. Moore, was whether a General Assembly elected under maps found by a federal court to be racially and unconstitutionally gerrymandered can lawfully approve constitutional amendments that would

State officials move to curb another dangerous virus that threatens North Carolina

BY: - August 16, 2022

As the global pandemic has reminded us with tragic ferocity in recent years, viruses can, despite our best efforts, be enormously destructive and hard to contain – especially as our world has grown ever-more-crowded and interconnected.     And sadly, that goes not just for physical viruses like COVID-19, but viruses of the mind as well. In the era of instant global communication, it’s easier than ever for ideas – even delusional lies and fantasies – to spread like wildfire and do enormous damage before they are exposed and debunked.

State Treasurer Dale Folwell should be doing a better job of investing NC pension funds

BY: - August 9, 2022

PW investigation raises important questions about holding billions of dollars in cash In a way, there’s something almost quaint about the investment strategy that North Carolina’s conservative Republican treasurer, Dale Folwell, pursues for the massive pension funds he oversees for the state’s public employees and retirees.

North Carolina climate change deniers owe the world an apology

BY: - August 2, 2022

As you’ve no doubt noticed, our state, nation and planet are experiencing yet another summer of record heat and intense storms. As scientists have been explaining and predicting for decades, climate change resulting from carbon-pollution-driven global warming is altering weather patterns and spurring big and deeply problematic changes in the Earth’s environment.


The last best hope for North Carolina’s public schools

BY: - July 26, 2022

There is a bit of mythology that sometimes creeps into the way longtime supporters of North Carolina’s public education system describe the halcyon days of the late 20th Century under the leadership of former Gov. Jim Hunt and Democratic legislators like former House Speaker Dan Blue and former Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight.


NC Republican lawmakers: Running government “like a business” alright

BY: - July 19, 2022

One supposes that it’s at least conceivable there could be merit to the idea of moving the headquarters of the 17-campus UNC System from the place it’s always been – Chapel Hill – to the state capital in Raleigh. Maybe. But here’s another obvious fact about such an ambitious plan: ramming it through without debate and without consulting the system’s Board of Governors would be a brazen and indefensible act.

North Carolina’s new budget should be much better

BY: - July 12, 2022

North Carolina has a new budget for the state fiscal year that began July 1. At the very end of the 10-day period allotted to him by the state constitution, Gov. Roy Cooper affixed his signature to a 193-page bill drafted mostly behind closed doors by Republican legislative leaders that amends the two-year budget enacted last year. Cooper’s decision to sign the measure was, one supposes, an act he viewed as an exercise in political pragmatism.


The legislature heads home – now what?

BY: - July 5, 2022

The North Carolina General Assembly brought its 2022 “short session” to a close last week. Well, at least, it kinda’ sorta’ did. Unlike in decades gone by in which the legislature generally adjourned in early summer, not to return until the following year, the current leadership on Jones Street prefers to keep the state’s supposedly part-time lawmakers yoyoing back and forth to the state capital. And so it is that the adjournment resolution approved by both houses last week...


American freedom will be on the line this November

BY: - June 28, 2022

Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that Americans no longer have a constitutional right to control their own reproduction is a disaster of monumental proportions. Never before in American history has the nation’s high court taken away such a well-established and long exercised fundamental right.