Judge rules private school voucher program unconstitutional

Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood on Thursday overturned North Carolina’s private school voucher program, ruling that the Opportunity Scholarship Act is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt under the constitution of North Carolina.

Hobgood issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the disbursement of voucher funds, and denied a request to stay implementation of his ruling pending appeal. It’s unclear how the state will recover funds distributed ahead of the ruling…

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NC Supreme Court upholds Duke Energy rate increase

N.C. Policy Watch reports that the North Carolina Supreme Court has upheld a 7.2% rate hike for Duke Energy customers.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper appealed the rate hike to the state’s high court twice, arguing that the Utilities Commission did not sufficiently consider the interests of customers in determining the increase. In April 2013, the high court agreed with Cooper and overturned the original 2012 rate hike, returning the case to the commission with instructions to make an independent finding on the proper return on equity based on all available evidence…

Study: Refusal to expand Medicaid to cost NC $51B by 2022

North Carolina’s decision to opt out of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act will cost the state nearly $51 billion in federal funding and reimbursements by 2022, according to a new study out of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Urban Institute.

The state will miss out on $39.6 billion of Medicaid funding, while North Carolina hospitals will lose $11.3 billion in reimbursements.

The 10-year total cost to the state of expanding Medicaid coverage? About $3.1 billion…

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Moral Monday returns to Raleigh for week of rallies

The North Carolina NAACP is organizing a week of rallies at the state Capitol from Aug. 22-28. Each rally will focus on a different policy area, ending with a mass voting rights rally on the 51st anniversary of the March on Washington…

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Study: Insect-infested ‘megalopolis’ to stretch from Raleigh to Atlanta by 2060

Urban areas in the Southeast will double in size by 2060 unless significant changes are made to the rate and style of development in the region, according to a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and N.C. State University.

The researchers envision a future in which agricultural and forest lands are devoured by an urban “megalopolis” stretching from Raleigh to Atlanta…

NC school system hires private company to monitor students’ online activity

Jackson County Public Schools has hired a private company to monitor their students’ online activity in an effort to ensure student safety.

The education technology safety and security company Social Sentinel, Inc. will help the district to monitor publicly available social media activity for threats of harm or violence targeting other students, staff, or school sites in general, according to the JCPS press release…

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Raleigh Sexy Schoolgirl 5k race canceled

Organizers of a “sexy schoolgirl” themed 5k race in Raleigh have cancelled the event due to “community controversy” over the theme of the race as well as a lack of early sign-ups.

Via the News & Observer:

The Hillsborough Street race – which invited runners to “show off their inner schoolgirl and nerd sides” in a 5k and pub crawl – was first approved by the Raleigh City Council in March, but it was labeled “Runnin Dirty 5k” on the agenda…

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