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Date Show Title
Oct
19
2020
Federal taxpayers cannot afford another bailout of state and local governments. Joseph Coletti, the John Locke Foundation’s senior fellow, explains why in a column he co-wrote for TheHill.com. Coletti contends most state governments have fared better than expected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throwing more money at them now would lead to waste while continuing to drive up the multitrillion-dollar federal debt. High-profile Democratic politicians have endorsed the Green New Deal. It’s billed as an environmental program, but the deal would extend government’s reach far beyond environmental policy. Kent Lassman, president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, discussed the Green New Deal’s potential impact during a recent online forum presented by the John Locke Foundation. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., continues to ask questions about the federal government’s response to COVID-19. You’ll hear highlights from Burr’s recent appearance on Capitol Hill with experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Sticking to Capitol Hill, North Carolina’s other U.S. senator, Thom Tillis, took a break from the campaign trail to question former FBI Director James Comey. Tillis’ query focused on the controversial federal government investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election. N.C. voters will select three state Supreme Court justices this fall. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, highlights questions voters should ask about judicial elections as they prepare to cast their ballots.
Oct
12
2020
Reaction to the nomination of federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court offers a reminder of progressives’ continuing attacks against the U.S. Constitution. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, analyzes Barrett’s nomination. He discusses the attacks Barrett faces because of her conservative jurisprudence. As the Supreme Court returns to action, Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute looks back at the court’s key rulings from its last term. Shapiro also discusses recent trends on the high court and looks ahead to major cases for the new term. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised plenty of questions about N.C. public schools, including the best way to address the problems of struggling students. State legislators recently discussed the topic during a debate about pandemic-related legislation. Gov. Roy Cooper is allowing public school systems across the state to reopen school buildings for elementary-age students. Middle and high schools remain shuttered for in-person instruction. During a recent news conference, mothers pleaded with Cooper to reopen all state public schools to students. You’ll hear highlights from their comments. North Carolina taxpayers would pay the price if the state changes its law against public-sector collective bargaining. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, highlights a new report that tallies the potential costs.
Oct
5
2020
Gov. Roy Cooper and other advocates of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina argue consistently that expansion would not cost any state taxpayer dollars. A new analysis from the John Locke Foundation and the Ohio-based Buckeye Institute call that claim into question. A model based on enrollment estimates and Medicaid costs in expansion states suggests N.C. budget writers would face a gap of $119 million to $171 million to cover new Medicaid costs. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, highlights key points from the new Medicaid expansion analysis. A Superior Court judge recently struck down Wilmington’s restrictions on vacation rental property. The court decision represents a victory for plaintiffs David and Peggy Schroeder. But it leaves unresolved constitutional claims raised by the Schroeders’ attorneys from the Institute for Justice. Before the ruling, IJ constitutional law fellow Adam Griffin explained why the group had taken the Schroeders’ case. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., raised recent questions on Capitol Hill about the controversial investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election. You’ll hear highlights from Tillis’ queries of former U.S. Justice Department official Sally Yates. A nurses union won a recent victory at Mission Health hospital in Asheville. The contest prompted a recent John Locke Foundation online forum about union activity in North Carolina. Among the speakers raising concerns about unions were state Rep. Sarah Stevens, R-Surry, Ray Starling of the NC Chamber, and nurse TiAngela Austin. North Carolina will make history in November when voters select the state’s first black lieutenant governor. Both Democratic nominee Yvonne Lewis Holley and Republican Mark Robinson are African-American. But they approach that fact in different ways. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, highlights key differences driving the lieutenant governor’s campaign.
Sep
28
2020
The outcome of North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race could help determine which party controls the chamber for the next two years. Incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis faces a tough challenge from Democrat Cal Cunningham. Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson analyzes recent developments in the hotly contested race. It’s safe to say N.C. colleges and universities did not reopen in the fall in the way they had expected. Some campuses welcomed students back, only to send them home again for online learning within a matter of weeks. Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, assesses university’s preparations for and responses to the challenges of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the recent actions state lawmakers have taken to address COVID-19 is a $335 check to be sent to parents of school-aged children throughout the state. State Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, explained the checks’ purpose during a recent news conference. In addition to higher education, COVID-19 has forced major changes for K-12 public education in North Carolina. During a recent online forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation, state Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga, discussed key education challenges. Ballard explained legislative leaders approach to addressing public education issues during the pandemic. The N.C. Court of Appeals recently overturned a lower court and restored state constitutional amendments requiring a photo ID for voters and lowering the state’s cap on income tax rates. Voters had approved those measures during a statewide vote in 2018. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, explains the significance of the split 2-1 ruling. She discusses the next steps for the court case that produced the ruling.
Sep
21
2020
A Union County judge has approved a deal calling on the state of North Carolina to boost education spending by more than $400 million a year. It’s the first stage of a plan that would lead to billions of dollars of new spending. The money is tied to the long-running Leandro lawsuit. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the latest developments in the quarter-century-old Leandro case. The N.C. Association of Educators teachers union is leading a lawsuit designed to kill the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program. But three families are going to court to intervene in the case. They want to defend the scholarship vouchers. Grandparent Janet Nunn explains why she’s working with the Institute for Justice to protect the vouchers. North Carolina and the rest of the United States recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed women’s right to vote in elections. During a recent online forum, John Locke Foundation CEO Amy Cooke helped mark the anniversary. Cooke also shared her concerns about current political debates about women’s role in politics. COVID-19 has generated health care challenges across the country. During a recent online John Locke Foundation forum, North Carolinians heard expert analysis from Rea Hederman, vice president for policy at the Ohio-based Buckeye Institute. Hederman discussed state-level innovations that can lead to better health outcomes during the pandemic and afterward. The N.C. General Assembly recently approved a COVID-19 package totaling nearly $1 billion. They dubbed it the Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, explores the latest package’s pros and cons. He looks at the potential impact on the state’s long-term fiscal outlook.
Sep
14
2020
More than 100 years ago, North Carolina addressed problems linked to the Spanlsh Flu. Today the state continues to cope with ongoing challenges linked to COVID-19. In a recent column for Carolina Journal, Brenée Goforth of the John Locke Foundation contrasted the state’s responses to the two worldwide pandemics. She shares highlights from her research. The year 2020 has featured plenty of political turmoil. Andrew McCarthy, senior fellow at the National Review Institute, placed today’s troubles in historical context during a recent online forum co-sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. McCarthy offered ideas for addressing today’s polarized political climate. Greensboro businessman Louis DeJoy has generated controversy ever since taking the job as U.S. postmaster general. During a recent hearing on Capitol Hill, DeJoy rebutted critics’ complaints about his plans to improve post office efficiency and finances. The John Locke Foundation has endorsed efforts to boost privacy protection for donors to nonprofit groups. During a recent online forum, JLF featured comments from Ashley Varner, vice president of Washington state’s Freedom Foundation. Varner discussed that group’s fight against the forced release of donor information. Voters head to the polls this fall amid a climate of deep partisan divisions. Even the parties themselves face internal divisions. Andrew Taylor, N.C. State University political science professor, analyzes the impact of intraparty conflicts. He discusses the potential influence of those fights on on fall election campaigns.
Sep
7
2020
The 2020 election moves into its home stretch now that both major parties have held their national conventions. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses highlights from the GOP event, including the renomination of Donald Trump for a second term in the White House. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is relying on advice from U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known popularly as AOC, in developing policies related to energy and the environment. John Locke Foundation CEO Amy O. Cooke, “The Right AOC,” explains why the other AOC’s policy proposals would be wrong for America. U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson wants the federal government to consider more reliance on nuclear energy as it plans for a secure future energy supply. Hudson discussed his priorities while questioning Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette on Capitol Hill. N.C. policymakers continue to look at the best way to help the state’s economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, offered his ideas during a recent online forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. Newton hopes North Carolina will be the first state in line as job creators and entrepreneurs choose locations for their new and expanding businesses. The Cooper administration’s decision to deny a key water permit for the Mountain View Pipeline could lead to higher electricity prices. That would mean bad news for North Carolinians continuing to struggle with the coronavirus-damaged economy. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, explores the impact of the Cooper administration’s decision. Van der Vaart emphasizes the importance of increasing natural gas infrastructure in the state.
Aug
31
2020
Joe Biden has officially accepted the nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the impact of the recent Democratic National Convention on the 2020 presidential race. The COVID-19 pandemic has generated questions about North Carolina’s housing supply. A recent online forum from the John Locke Foundation highlighted housing issues tied to the pandemic. State legislative staffer Brent Woodcox, founder of a group called YIMBY Raleigh, offered ideas about policy changes that could help residents deal with housing challenges. Mark Zimmerman, senior vice president of NC REALTORS, offered additional perspective. During the midst of the pandemic, the University of North Carolina System welcomed Peter Hans as its new president. Hans delivered a first-day-on-the-job message to UNC campuses across the state. He focused on addressing the university’s priorities during difficult times. North Carolina awaits the next step in the long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit. Jeanette Doran, president and general counsel at the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, dissects key constitutional concerns surrounding a case that involves courts in policy decisions that usually reside within the General Assembly. In the midst of a pandemic, one western N.C. hospital is battling a campaign to unionize nurses. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, discusses the conflict between HCA Healthcare, the largest hospital system in America, and the National Nurses Organizing Committee, the nation’s largest registered nurses’ union.
Aug
24
2020
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in the bid to replace Republican Donald Trump in the White House. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, explores Harris’ credentials for the vice president’s job. Henderson discusses the VP candidate’s pros and cons for the Biden campaign in North Carolina and nationwide. The U.S. Supreme Court declined this year to take up new cases clarifying Second Amendment rights. During a recent online forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation, Campbell University law professor Greg Wallace analyzed the high court’s rejection of gun-rights cases. Wallace offers his assessment of the future of Second Amendment protections across the country. Among the important elections on the ballot this fall are those for N.C. House and Senate. Those races will determine which party controls the legislature for the next two years, including control of drawing election maps for up to a decade. During a recent JLF election forum, political consultants Brad Crone and Jim Blaine offered their assessments of current electoral trends. The John Locke Foundation is pushing for increased privacy protection for donors to nonprofit groups in  North Carolina. During a recent online forum, Doug Kellogg of Americans for Tax Reform offered support for the idea. Kellogg explained how donor privacy rights have faced threats across the country. Gov. Roy Cooper and his administration have failed to answer key questions about their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. JLF researchers have assembled some of the most important unanswered questions. Jordan Roberts, JLF health care policy analyst, highlights questions related to nursing home deaths, Medicaid expansion, and hydroxychloroquine. Roberts explains why answers to those questions could help improve North Carolina’s response to the pandemic.
Aug
17
2020
Carolina Journal Radio celebrates its 900th weekly episode, marking more than 17 years of documenting interesting developments in N.C. politics and public policy. Using that milestone as a starting point, John Locke Foundation CEO Amy Cooke looks ahead to the future for JLF efforts to spread the message about individual freedom, personal responsibility, and limited constitutional government. Plaintiffs tied to the N.C. Association of Educators teachers union are challenging Opportunity Scholarship school vouchers in court. Opponents contend vouchers violate the state constitution, despite the fact that the N.C. Supreme Court upheld Opportunity Scholarships in 2015. Jeanette Doran, president and general counsel of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, analyzes the new lawsuit. Count Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest among those who would like to see N.C. public schools reopen as soon as possible with students in classrooms every day. Forest explained his concerns about the state’s school reopening plans during a recent news conference. The COVID-19 pandemic could lead to long-term changes in the area of telemedicine. Dr. Brian Forrest, founder and CEO of Access Healthcare Direct, discussed telemedicine’s benefits during a recent online forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. Forrest explains why telemedicine could play a valuable role in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The John Locke Foundation and the  N.C. Advocates for Justice recently filed a joint amicus or “friend-of-the-court” brief in support of a Wake County property owner named Beverly Rubin. She has spent five years in a legal battle with Apex over a sewer line that the town installed across her property in 2015. Jon Guze, JLF director of legal studies, discusses the case and its important constitutional issues.
Aug
10
2020
Now that we’ve been dealing with COVID-19 for several months, health experts have better information about the typical characteristics of patients struggling with the disease. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, recently reviewed available data and compiled them for a COVID-19 patient profile. The 2020 election is approaching, and the John Locke Foundation hosted a recent online forum featuring experts on key N.C. electoral contests. You’ll hear assessments from political consultants Jonathan Felts, Brad Crone, and Jim Blaine. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has sparked a national conversation about police reform. But U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8th District, says he’s disappointed about the way his colleagues have addressed the topic on Capitol Hill. You’ll hear comments from a recent floor speech Hudson delivered in the U.S. House of Representatives. COVID-19 has presented plenty of challenges for colleges and universities across the country, including the University of North Carolina System. Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, assesses UNC’s response to the operational challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Federal tax credits have helped promote electric vehicles in the United States. Those credits have generated some unintended consequences. John Locke Foundation Senior Fellow Donald van der Vaart  and research intern Dominic Coletti have been calculating the tax credits’ impact. They share the results of their work.
Aug
3
2020
Uncertainty about the 2020-21 academic year in N.C. public schools is sparking renewed interest in educational alternatives. The N.C. Senate’s Republican leader recently used unease about public school schedules as a reason to promote the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Those scholarships help low-income families send their children to private schools. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, assesses the current climate for school choice in North Carolina. Speaking of school choice, the U.S. Supreme Court recently delivered a victory for advocates of education options. Mike Long, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, discusses the Espinoza case and its potential impact for this state. Count U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., among those interested in federal action to promote police reform. You’ll hear highlights from Tillis’ recent Capitol Hill interchange with the head of the Center for Policing Equity. COVID-19 has affected all aspects of our lives, including agricultural markets and government ag policy. Daren Bakst, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, recently analyzed COVID-19’s impact on farms and farm-related business during an online presentation for the John Locke Foundation. In the latest edition of “Locker Room Talk,” Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai explain how HBO’s new version of the “Perry Mason” story helps make a case against overly burdensome occupational licensing restrictions.
Jul
27
2020
Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that N.C. public schools should reopen with a mix of online and in-person classes. No public school can reopen with all students in class at the school building. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the impact of Cooper’s order for students, parents, and teachers in the upcoming academic year. A recent report focused on diversity of viewpoints at the University of North Carolina’s flagship Chapel Hill campus. Co-author and UNC business professor Mark McNeilly discussed details of the report during a recent online John Locke Foundation forum. McNeilly explains why a variety of viewpoints help lead to a better educational climate. COVID-19 has struck nursing homes particularly hard. During a recent legislative briefing, Rep. Perrin Jones, R-Pitt, recounted one particularly sad story about the impact of nursing home restrictions. Jones urged state health officials to help ensure that ailing nursing home residents continue to have contact with their closest family members. That idea also motivates a piece of legislation dubbed the No Patient Left Alone Act. You’ll hear highlights from a recent legislative debate on that proposal. As North Carolina and the rest of the country continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election season moves forward. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, offers an update on the N.C. governors’ race, as well as President Trump’s re-election bid against Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Jul
20
2020
Duke Energy and Dominion Energy have decided to pull the plug on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The pipeline had faced multiple legal challenges and permitting delays. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, analyzes the reasons guiding the ACP owners’ decision. Van der Vaart also discusses the impact for N.C. electricity ratepayers. U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy, R-3rd District, brings an interesting perspective to the COVID-19 policy debate. Murphy is a physician. He understands more about COVID-19’s health implications than most policymakers. Murphy shared his concerns about North Carolina’s coronavirus response during a recent Raleigh news conference. Many of Murphy’s Washington, D.C., colleagues want to send more federal money to the states to address public education issues. But Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, has raised questions about that strategy. Foxx shared her perspective during a hearing on Capitol Hill. Critics have spoken out against inequality in the United States. Robert Whaples, professor of economics at Wake Forest University, says much of the criticism fails to distinguish between good and bad inequality. Whaples discusses the differences, building on ideas from the book In All Fairness: Equality, Liberty, and the Quest for Human Dignity. While North Carolina’s Democratic governor and Republican legislators continue to disagree about expanding Medicaid, they are allowing so-called Medicaid “transformation” to move forward. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, explains what transformation means for patients and health care providers. Roberts also assesses potential impact for taxpayers.
Jul
13
2020
North Carolina’s state transportation budget is full of “cracks, potholes, and detours.” That’s the conclusion of the John Locke Foundation’s top budget analyst, Senior Fellow Joseph Coletti. He dissects key problems with the state Transportation Department’s budgeting practices. Gov. Roy Cooper recently issued a statewide order for North Carolinians to wear face masks in public. Even if Cooper has the power to issue that order, it presents practical enforcement concerns. Jeanette Doran, president of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, discusses both the order’s questionable enforcement mechanism and legal questions surrounding Cooper’s order. State lawmakers continue to show interest in cleaning up North Carolina’s messy criminal code. Sen. Andy Wells, R-Catawba, recently discussed the latest effort to gather information about crimes created by statutes, regulatory agencies, and local governments. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit North Carolina’s economy hard. Jonathan Williams, chief economist and vice president of the American Legislative Exchange Council, says policymakers can take steps to help reduce the damage. Other policies would make the situation worse. Williams discussed economic challenges linked to COVID-19 during a recent online forum sponsored vy the John Locke Foundation. The pandemic has caused supply and demand shocks in N.C. health care. Jordan Roberts, JLF health care policy analyst, analyzes the impact for hospitals and for medical providers who operate outside hospital settings.
Jul
6
2020
The state of North Carolina requires more than 1,500 hours of training and a year of apprenticeship before a person can become a barber. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, says those requirements stem from the racism that helped guide North Carolina’s earliest occupational licensing. Sanders discusses the history of barber regulations. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic threw hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians out of work, state government has faced problems getting unemployment checks into people’s hands. A recent legislative hearing highlighted public concerns about the slow pace of unemployment relief. State lawmakers added new funding for public school enrollment growth in 2020-21, though some questioned the increased spending. You’ll hear their questions about the COVID-19 pandemic’s potential impact on future public school enrollment. The pandemic has generated new interest in health care innovation. Josh Archambault, senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability, discusses ways North Carolina could reform its laws to help innovation flourish. The University of North Carolina System has selected Peter Hans as its new president. Hans had worked for the past two years as president of the state Community College System, and he’s a former UNC Board of Governors chairman. Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, assesses UNC’s decision to hire Hans as its new systemwide leader.
Jun
29
2020
A lawsuit has helped expose controversy surrounding a multimillion-dollar N.C. Medicaid contract. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, dissects the issue. He says evidence suggests that state regulators manipulated the bidding process to help a favored company. State Auditor Beth Wood recently revealed that the N.C. Transportation Department overspent its budget by $742 million in one year. Wood presented those findings to the General Assembly’s transportation oversight group. You’ll hear highlights from Wood’s comments and lawmakers’ responses. Many N.C. businesses remain closed because of government restrictions tied to COVID-19. State lawmakers have tried to ease restrictions on restaurants and bars. You’ll hear highlights from legislative debate over one proposal involving outdoor dining. Before the coronavirus pandemic began dominating state and national headlines, two N.C. congressmen were trying to attract attention to the victims of government sanctuary city policies. You’ll hear Reps. Ted Budd and Dan Bishop discuss their proposals for helping those victims. Gov. Roy Cooper’s approach to the state budget in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has been “reckless and irresponsible.” That’s the assessment from John Locke Foundation senior fellow Joseph Coletti, who criticizes the governor’s decision not to scale back state government spending as the pandemic’s negative economic impact became clear.
Jun
22
2020
North Carolina’s public schools are expected to reopen for the fall, but they’ll face some changes linked to continuing concerns about COVID-19. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and resident scholar, analyzes state guidelines for public school operations in the 2020-21 academic year. The pandemic already has created a nearly $5 billion hole in North Carolina’s budget. Forecasters are not certain whether that hole will grow larger in the months ahead. You’ll hear recent projections from chief legislative economist Barry Boardman, along with reaction from top N.C. House and Senate budget writers. Count Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, among those who would like to see a quicker reopening of the N.C. economy. Berger shared his ideas about reopening during a recent news conference. Before the pandemic struck North Carolina, lawmakers already were taking a look at the impact of the Raise the Age initiative. It shifts most 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders from the adult court system to the juvenile justice system. William Lassiter, N.C. deputy secretary of juvenile justice, offered lawmakers a recent status report on implementation of Raise the Age. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped focus attention on the importance of primary care. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, highlights primary care’s role in a world focused on serious health care challenges.
Jun
15
2020
Candidates in North Carolina’s high-profile elections have been coping with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they could face challenges linked to looting and riots that followed protests of the controversial Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes potential impacts of these unforeseen developments on the state’s most important electoral contests. The pandemic has caused stress for North Carolina’s meat supply. State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler assessed this issue and other ag-related challenges during a recent online forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. The John Locke Foundation and Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution recently produced a joint report on the future of telehealth in the United States. Jordan Roberts, JLF health care policy analyst, participated in an online forum designed to promote that report’s key findings. Before the pandemic, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a pro-union bill dubbed the PRO Act. Isabel Soto, labor market policy data analyst at the American Action Forum, points out potential negative consequences tied to this legislation. Laws across the country are targeting privacy of donors to nonprofit groups. Legislation targeting privacy amounts to an attack on free expression. It’s used primarily as a political intimidation tactic. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, explains why N.C. lawmakers should move proactively to reject this type of legislation.
Jun
8
2020
As North Carolina recovers from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the John Locke Foundation is offering help. The new Carolina Rebound project is designed to give policymakers ideas that will help the state recover as quickly and efficiently as possible. Terry Stoops, JLF vice president for research and director of education studies, highlights Carolina Rebound’s recommendation for K-12 education. While some businesses have scrambled to cope with the impact of COVID-19, others have remained closed because of government orders. Steve Pinkerton, owner of Vitality Fitness in Concord, recently discussed for a John Locke Foundation audience his unsuccessful efforts to remain open during the pandemic. Pinkerton explains that regulators rejected his proposals for increased safety precautions. State lawmakers have been wrestling with the best way to tax online education materials from for-profit companies. You’ll hear highlights from a recent debate on the topic. Before COVID-19 started dominating headlines, a top foreign policy concern involved the future of American relations with Iran. Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, discussed that relationship during a recent lecture for the Jesse Helms Center. Rubin shares his analysis of a policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran. The Carolina Rebound project recommends multiple regulatory changes. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, explains how regulatory reform can help North Carolina recover from the pandemic’s negative impact.
Jun
1
2020
As North Carolina recovers from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the John Locke Foundation is offering help. The new Carolina Rebound project is designed to give policymakers ideas that will help the state recover as quickly and efficiently as possible. Joseph Coletti, JLF senior fellow, discusses Carolina Rebound’s recommendations for state tax and budget policy. The pandemic shut down many N.C. businesses. Even those allowed to stay open had to scramble to adapt their business plans to changing circumstances. Ron Joyce of Triad-based Joyce Farms recently explained during a John Locke Foundation online forum how COVID-19 has transformed his business. Once focused almost exclusively on selling high-quality meat to chefs, Joyce and his team now sell directly to consumers. Joyce discusses the steps his business took to remain viable. One of the most important parts of the COVID-19 story involves the search for an effective vaccine. During a recent Capitol Hill hearing, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.., questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases about ongoing studies of potential vaccines. Even before the pandemic, experts were calling for reform of North Carolina’s public pension plan. Leonard Gilroy, vice president of government reform at the libertarian Reason Foundation, and Jen Sidorova, policy analyst with Reason’s Pension Integrity Project, explain why policymakers should address deficiencies in pension plan funding. In addition to tax and policy proposals, JLF’s Carolina Rebound project recommends changes to state health care policy. Health Care Policy Analyst Jordan Roberts explains how those reforms could lead to better access and outcomes at lower cost.
May
25
2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated more attention for telemedicine. As more people access health care through their phones and computers, the John Locke Foundation and Brookings Institution have prepared a new telemedicine report. Co-author Jordan Roberts, JLF’s health care policy analyst, discusses the report’s key findings and recommendations. North Carolina has entered the first stage of Gov. Roy Cooper’s phased reopening of the state’s economy. Critics contend the state ought to be reopening more quickly. During a recent online forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, offered his ideas for moving North Carolina’s economy forward with proper safety precautions. North Carolina’s public schools are closed for the year. It’s unclear how schools will operate when students return in August. During a recent news conference, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and State Board of Education Chairman Eric Davis addressed challenges linked to reopening schools. Before the pandemic, one of the hot debates on college campuses involved the benefits and drawbacks of socialism. Freedom activist Andres Guilarte is warning college students about the dangers of turning toward socialism. He offers real-life examples from his home country of Venezuela. The N.C. Department of Transportation recently faced a scathing audit. It contends state DOT officials overspent their annual budget by $742 million. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the audit’s key findings. He discusses potential implications for the cash-strapped DOT.
May
18
2020
The closing of public school buildings across North Carolina has forced students into remote learning for the final months of the school year. But thousands of students have not logged on to participate in a single online education session. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the impact for educational attainment in N.C. schools. Gov. Roy Cooper’s economic shutdown has prompted a number of complaints from business owners, workers, and other government officials. Gaston County Commissioner Tracy Philbeck has offered vocal opposition to the governor’s statewide shutdown orders. Philbeck shared his concerns during a recent virtual town hall sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. It’s unclear just how hard the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic shutdown will hit the N.C. state budget. State Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, a top House budget writer, offered a recent assessment for colleagues. Saine explains why decisions about the state budget are likely to be delayed until later in the summer. Some educators complain that a focus on preparing for the SAT and ACT can get in the way of important learning in the high school years. An alternative called the Classic Learning Test is designed to address those concerns. Alec Bianco, the test’s marketing director, distinguishes CLT from its better-known competitors. The Trump administration has been tinkering with Obama-era federal fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles. The John Locke Foundation has joined a group of free-market think tanks asking Trump’s team to take a more reasonable approach to those standards. Donald van der Vaart, JLF senior fellow, explains the little-known consequences of these federal rules.
May
11
2020
Much of the discussion about COVID-19 involves models predicting the disease’s impact. Governments at all levels are relying on those models as they make decisions about the best way to respond to the pandemic. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow and former N.C. environment secretary, explains why he believes the state should be looking at a range of models. Van der Vaart also explains why COVID-19 offers an existential threat in a way that climate change does not. The decision to shut down much of North Carolina’s economy has generated opposition. The first Raleigh protest of a social media group dubbed Reopen NC led to an arrest, along with a controversial tweet from Raleigh police. The tweet declared that protests amount to a “nonessential” activity. That assessment helped prompt U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-9th District, to attend the second protest. Bishop wants to protect protesters’ constitutional rights to free speech and assembly. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted JLF CEO Amy O. Cooke to launch a new series of video commentaries. They’re called “The Right AOC on Point.” During one of the earliest editions, she discussed the issue of neighbors reporting on neighbors violating state government orders shutting down much of the N.C. economy. State lawmakers have been gathering information about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on North Carolina. They learned from Will Kehler, director of McDowell County Emergency Management, how emergency workers are dealing with COVID-19. Kehler made a pitch for increased access to personal protective equipment. The pandemic has thrown many long-standing plans into disarray. That includes plans for North Carolina’s 2020 elections. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses key ways COVID-19 is changing campaigns for North Carolina’s top elected jobs.
May
4
2020
As North Carolina grapples with the impact of COVID-19, debate has turned to when and how to reopen the state’s economy. While many are calling on government officials to ease restrictions tied to the pandemic, some worry that a reopened economy could lead to major health-related problems. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, analyzes the debate. Families across North Carolina have been grappling with the challenges of online education since COVID-19 shut down brick-and-mortar schools. Catherine Truitt, chancellor of the online Western Governors University North Carolina, offered ideas for parents and students during a presentation for the John Locke Foundation. Truitt also discussed how COVID-19 could lead to long-term changes for N.C. public education. Tens of thousands of North Carolinians have joined a social media group named Reopen NC. It’s goal is to see all coronavirus-related economic restrictions lifted in the state. Lead organizer Ashley Smith introduced herself to members online. You’ll hear highlights from her remarks. Before COVID-19 threw the education world into turmoil, entrepreneur and school choice advocate Bob Luddy was making the case for expanding educational options for parents. Luddy believes excellent schools constitute the best community development programs. In a “Locker Room” Talk segment, JLF Vice President Donna Martinez and Senior Political Analyst Mitch Kokai discuss several aspects of the ongoing pandemic. The discussion includes the media’s intense focus on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, along with the process Gov. Roy Cooper and Health Secretary Mandy Cohen have used to screen media questions during emergency briefings.
Apr
27
2020
The John Locke Foundation is leading a national effort to ensure state governments have more flexibility in their use of federal CARES Act money. Without that flexibility, states will have incentives to engage in unsustainable new spending. John Locke Foundation CEO Amy Cooke explains how JLF is working to help avoid that outcome. North Carolina could lose half its small businesses if government doesn’t relax soon the economic restrictions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ray Starling, general counsel of the NC Chamber, delivered that warning recently to state lawmakers. Starling also offered lawmakers a larger assessment of the pandemic’s impact on the business community. He offered ideas for addressing businesses’ concerns. Legislators will reconvene in Raleigh next week. Some of them have been preparing in advance for legislation responding quickly to COVID-19’s impact. State House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, discusses the goals of special House working groups that spent weeks meeting online. The pandemic has upended traditional education in North Carolina, including public community colleges and universities. Before the health scare, higher education leaders already were discussing the need to adapt to the state’s changing economic needs. Peter Hans, president of the N.C. Community College System, co-chairs the MyFutureNC group. Hans and Jeni Corn, MyFutureNC’s director of strategic initiatives, discussed that group’s goals before the pandemic struck the state. The pandemic continues to prompt changes in K-12 education as well. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research and director of education studies, discusses potential COVID-19 impacts on summer school, the possible extension of the school year, and students’ readiness for the next grade level.
Apr
20
2020
Much of the N.C. economy has shut down because of government orders linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not clear when the economy can move forward again. Nor can we tell what the “new normal” will look like once the pandemic has subsided. John Locke Foundation CEO Amy Cooke addresses questions and concerns linked to planning for the post-coronavirus world. The shutdown of public school buildings across North Carolina has thrust many families toward the world of online education. Lauren Acome, head of school at the public charter N.C. Virtual Academy, offers parents ideas for helping students transition from a brick-and-mortar school building to learning from home. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, state lawmakers already were raising questions about the N.C. Department of Transportation’s spending practices. You’ll hear highlights from a pre-COVID-19 legislative debate about the future of DOT spending. Today’s pandemic woes might make some people yearn for the old days, when nonlethal political scandal was the most likely topic to dominate the headlines. That includes the Watergate scandal that drove former President Richard Nixon from office. Rufus Edmisten, former N.C. attorney general and secretary of state, had a front-row seat for Watergate in his role working for famed N.C. Sen. Sam Ervin. Edmisten recounts Watergate stories in his recent memoir, That’s Rufus. Edmisten ponders valuable lessons from Watergate. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed plans for every candidate seeking an elected office this year. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses the pandemic’s impact on two marquee N.C. matchups: the races for governor and U.S. Senate.
Apr
13
2020
As governments across North Carolina and the United States enact new restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, some observers are asking questions and urging caution. John Locke Foundation CEO Amy Cooke discusses the tension between government’s efforts to address a health pandemic and the freedom of action required in a society with a limited, constitutional government. Restaurants and hotels are among the businesses hit hard by government shutdowns linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lynn Minges, president and CEO of the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association, assessed the shutdowns’ impact on the hospitality industry during a recent conversation with the John Locke Foundation. Minges also discussed creative ways some restaurants and hotels are responding to changes in their business models. School closings across North Carolina have affected all parents of school-age kids, including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson. Johnson discusses how his daughter’s classroom teacher responded in the early days of the school closing. Johnson also offers recommendations for parents looking into ways to help keep their children on track while school buildings remain shut down. Before he tested positive for COVID-19, State Treasurer Dale Folwell already was thinking about the impact of surprise medical billing for North Carolinians. Folwell pointed out the negative impact of surprise billing during a one-on-one conversation with Carolina Journal Radio. The federal government has committed more than $2 trillion in a series of relief packages related to COVID-19. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, examines the potential impact of those packages. Coletti warns about the potential negative impact of driving the federal government deeper into debt.
Apr
6
2020
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is reshaping lives in North Carolina, across the country, and around the world. The John Locke Foundation is helping N.C. leaders respond to challenges linked to the pandemic. CEO Amy Cooke discusses freedom-forward ideas JLF is promoting to help the state. She also assesses the impact on people’s wallets, job opportunities, and plans for the future. Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder has spent more than five decades teaching in college classrooms. He’s had a front-row view of higher education’s problems. Vedder discusses his concerns in the recent book Restoring the Promise. During a recent visit to North Carolina, he shared key themes from the book. State lawmakers want to make it easier for military veterans and their spouses to work in this state. You’ll hear highlights from a recent legislative debate about loosening occupational licensing restrictions for those connected to the military. Before COVID-19 hit the American economy, observers already were thinking about the trajectory of the American economy. Paul Cwik, professor of economics at the University of Mount Olive, applies what’s known as Austrian business cycle theory to offer pre-coronavirus projections for the future.  N.C. public schools will remain closed to students at least through the middle of May. That means families across the state are transitioning to online instruction. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, discusses challenges and opportunities linked to technology-based education.
Mar
30
2020
COVID-19 prompted statewide public school closings. Those closings are bound to cause disruptions for teachers, students, parents, and others as the academic year resumes. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, assesses the challenge schools will face returning to a normal schedule. He addresses the likelihood that students will get access to all the material they would have encountered without the interruption in classes. If you follow the U.S. Supreme Court and constitutional law, you’ve likely heard the term “originalism.” Until recently, it’s been hard to find a book-length introduction to the concept. Ilan Wurman, visiting assistant professor at Arizona State University’s law school, attempts to fill that gap with the book A Debt Against The Living. Wurman explains why he wrote an introduction to originalism. He also shares its key themes. Debates about higher education and the future of the American economy often focus on the value of having more students seeking four-year degrees. Critics argue that other options might prove more valuable to many Americans. During a recent trip to Raleigh, U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia highlighted the importance of apprenticeships. He announced a grant to N.C. State University to boost apprenticeships in the field of artificial intelligence. The coronavirus pandemic is certain to have an impact on the American economy. It’s unclear whether that impact will extend into the long term. Michael Walden, professor of economics at N.C. State University, offered an early assessment during an online-only presentation for the John Locke Foundation. In addition to the short-term impact, Walden says the pandemic is likely to prompt many businesses to rethink issues related to supply chains and other key pieces of their operations. The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has thrown off most schedules and plans for 2020. That includes important national and state elections. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses how disruption caused by the coronavirus could impact this year’s races. He ponders which candidates stand to benefit and which ones will face an uphill battle because of changes in campaign plans.
Mar
23
2020
The coronavirus scare reminds us about government-erected barriers that stand in the way of an effective response. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, discusses policy changes at the state level that would help North Carolina deal better with problems linked to the virus’s spread. Medicaid expansion has dominated the N.C. political debate in recent years. A recent report challenges a key claim from expansion’s proponents: They say the infusion of government money linked to expansion would help shore up struggling rural hospitals. Roy Lenardson, government affairs director with the Foundation for Government Accountability, explains why those claims are wrong. As the coronavirus began to affect patients in North Carolina, state health director Mandy Cohen offered lawmakers updates on the state’s response. You’ll hear highlights from one of those initial briefings. Economic freedom sounds like a good concept. The more one learns about the impact of economic freedom, the better it sounds. Fred McMahon, resident fellow and economic freedom chair at the Fraser Institute, outlines key benefits of freedom. He explains how North Carolina compares to other states in freedom and how the state could improve its national ranking. When Mark Johnson decided to run for another statewide office, he guaranteed that North Carolina would elect a new superintendent of public instruction this year. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the superintendent’s job. He also discusses the two candidates Democrats and Republicans have nominated to replace Johnson.
Mar
16
2020
Joe Biden’s win in the Democratic presidential primary topped the headlines, but voters made other significant choices in North Carolina’s March 3 election. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes key primary results. He looks ahead at the potential impact for the general election in November. Government rules can have a major impact on the food we eat. Sometimes those rules stand in the way of local entrepreneurs. Donald Bryson, president and CEO of the Civitas Institute, discusses the harmful impact of overly burdensome regulations. He makes the case for “freedom of the fork.” State lawmakers continue to look for ways to increase safety in North Carolina’s public schools. At least one legislator is raising concerns about schools failing to follow common-sense safety measures already supported by state law. Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, shared his firsthand school safety assessments with colleagues during a recent meeting. The 2020 election campaign has brought major political players to the Tar Heel State. Former Republican presidential contender and current U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas led a recent campaign rally in Raleigh. Cruz contrasted conservative and liberal approaches to political and policy debates. Few people know much about the costs associated with health care. A Greenville surgeon is trying to make the process more transparent by offering cash-based services. Julie Havlak, Carolina Journal associate editor, reports on that surgeon’s story. She discusses reaction among other health care providers, including hospitals.
Mar
9
2020
Carolina Journal recently broke the news that the N.C. Department of Transportation had purchased a former circus train and parked its cars in a wooded area near Spring Hope in Nash County. The CJ story stirred up interest in the transaction among lawmakers who oversee the DOT. It’s just the latest example of the impact of CJ’s work. Editor-in-chief Rick Henderson discusses the circus train story. He also highlights the N.C. Press Association’s recent recognition of CJ’s outstanding achievements. NCPA presented seven awards to Carolina Journal writers and editors at an annual banquet. Any person who has been to college, is planning to go to college, or is helping a child prepare for college has some familiarity with the stress linked to admissions tests, predominantly the SAT and ACT. Tyler Bonin, high school teacher at Thales Academy and education fellow at Young Voices, argues those tests are more than stressful. He says they can distract from meaningful education. Bonin shares his concerns and discusses potential alternatives to the current testing regime. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling against North Carolina is changing the way the state Revenue Department addresses taxing trusts. State lawmakers recently reviewed the options under consideration as the Revenue Department changes course. The U.S. attorney based in Raleigh recently took some local sheriffs to task for their decisions not to cooperate with federal immigration agents. In a news conference, Robert Higdon discussed the implications of sheriff’s unwillingness to honor federal immigration detainers. The N.C. General Assembly expects significant turnover in membership after this election year. Many lawmakers are retiring from office or leaving their current posts to seek other elected offices. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, discusses the potential impact of that turnover on legislative priorities and cohesion. Gray also looks forward to the new legislative session that starts in late April.
Mar
2
2020
Gov. Roy Cooper emerged from a recent meeting with business executives and proclaimed that none of them had asked for a tax cut. Cooper used that fact to bolster his opposition to reducing business taxation. The problem for Cooper is that every company cited in his comments about the meeting has taken advantage of targeted state tax breaks. Those targeted incentives top $91 million. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, analyzes the governor’s skewed view of business tax policy. The N.C. Coalition for Charter Schools has named Lindalyn Kakadelis as its new executive director. Kakadelis explains how her years of experience in both traditional public education and the school choice movement will help the coalition pursue its goals. The group seeks full public funding for charter schools and a reduction of the schools’ regulatory burden. The latest coronavirus has wreaked havoc, especially in China. State lawmakers recently heard an update on how N.C. health officials are preparing for possible problems related to the virus in this state. You’ll her highlights from that discussion. A new center slated to open this spring will help N.C. military veterans transition back to civilian life. John Turner, founder and senior adviser of the Veterans Life Center of North Carolina, explains the valuable role the center will play for vets returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat zones. A recent federal Medicaid ruling ends the prospects of tying Medicaid expansion to work requirements. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, discusses the implications of that court ruling for North Carolina’s Medicaid expansion debate. Roberts also discusses alternatives to government-based health care reforms, including his recent campaign to help retire medical debt for low-income residents of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Feb
24
2020
The John Locke Foundation and a dozen other public policy groups in other states have joined together to support a nationally significant court case designed to protect workers’ rights. The case involves a professor at a northeastern public university campus. He challenges a law requiring him to be linked to a labor union he opposes. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, discusses the case’s significance. He explains why JLF is taking part in the case. Social justice is playing an increasingly disturbing role in American higher education. That National Association of Scholars documents that role in a recent report. Association President Peter Wood discusses the report and its significance for the future of colleges and universities. When state lawmakers returned to Raleigh in January, some hoped they would tweak state tax laws ahead of the current tax filing season. You’ll hear why members of the N.C. House supported the change. It was designed to help taxpayers take advantage of recent changes in the federal tax code involving medical expenses. While our system of government allows us to elect the people who write and approve local government budgets, few people outside government actually play a significant role in that budget process. But so-called participatory budgeting, or PB, allows a larger number of community residents to make budget decisions. Whitney Afonso, professor of public administration and government at UNC-Chapel Hill, explains PB. She discusses the N.C. governments that have decided to add elements of PB to their budget-writing processes. A piece of federal legislation dubbed the PRO Act could threaten the “gig economy” in North Carolina and other states. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, shares his concerns about the PRO Act and its potential negative impact.
Feb
17
2020
In a matter of weeks, N.C. voters will participate in the Super Tuesday elections. Democrats are likely to face heated presidential and U.S. Senate primaries, Republicans will decide who should face incumbent Roy Cooper in the governor’s race, and members of both parties will see other important races on primary ballots. No one will have to show a voter ID. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses key issues in play as Super Tuesday approaches. North Carolina has made significant reforms to its alcohol regulations in recent years. There’s still plenty of room to relax decades-old restrictions that block growth of booming craft beer and distillery operations. John Trump, Carolina Journal managing editor, offers an alcohol law update. Leaders of the University of North Carolina System continue to focus on ensuring protection of viewpoint diversity on UNC campuses. During a recent forum, UNC Board of Governors member Steve Long shared his concerns about efforts to ensure a wide range of political views among campus faculty. Harvard has faced high-profile legal challenges to its admissions process in recent years. During a recent Hayek Lecture at Duke University, economics professor Peter Arcidiacono shared highlights of his analysis of Harvard’s admissions. Arcidiacono explains how athletic and legacy admissions influence the mix of whites and minorities admitted to the Ivy League school. Fewer teachers are leaving their jobs in N.C. public schools, according to the latest official state teacher turnover report. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the latest numbers.
Feb
10
2020
A judge has asked the parties in the long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit to develop a joint plan. It would implement consultant’s recommendations for major changes in the state’s public education system, including $8 billion of new spending in the next eight years. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, assesses the latest developments in the Leandro court proceedings. You’ve likely heard of Brexit, Great Britain’s well-publicized exit from the European Union. Now North Carolina is dealing with BLEXIT, a project of black Americans distancing themselves from the Democratic Party. Danielle Robinson, BLEXIT state director, discusses the group’s goals. Leaders of the University North Carolina System are going public with their concerns about the budget impasse between legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper. Interim UNC President William Roper outlines the impact of the budget stalemate on the state’s public universities. North Carolina has taken the first steps toward remaking the state’s criminal code. That’s good news to Jim Copland, senior fellow and director of legal studies at the Manhattan Institute. Copland explains why it makes sense for the Tar Heel State to clean up a complicated and confusing compilation of crimes. A recent settlement will lead to major changes in disposal of Duke Energy’s coal ash. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, discusses potential environmental impacts and the possible costs for Duke Energy ratepayers.
Feb
3
2020
The John Locke Foundation will soon begin its fourth decade of work advancing liberty in North Carolina. As it moves forward, Amy O. Cooke will lead the organization as its fourth CEO. Cooke discusses her history with the liberty movement, her return to her family’s N.C. roots, and her hopes for her new role leading the state’s premier free-market think tank. 2020 is shaping up to be an important election year in North Carolina. The ballot features races for U.S. president, U.S. Senate, and governor. Voters also will determine control of the N.C. General Assembly. One of the state’s leading political pundits and prognosticators is author, columnist, and John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood. He shares his thoughts about the top issues and campaigns to watch during the course of the year. A U.S. House committee led by Democrats recently blasted the U.S. Education Department’s handling of issues related to student loan debt. But the committee’s ranking Republican, North Carolina’s Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, chastised her colleagues. She suggested the group ought to focus on more pressing concerns. You might have heard of the “Game of Thrones,” but you’re much less likely to have heard of the “Game of Worms.” Political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita of New York University discussed the latter “game” during a recent lecture at Duke. Citing the Concordat of Worms of 1122, the professor points to changes in relations between church and crown that helped pave the way for today’s economic divide between northern and southern Europe.
Jan
27
2020
Kansas’ decision to move forward with Medicaid expansion has placed more pressure on North Carolina to follow suit. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, assesses the potential impact of Kansas on the Medicaid expansion debate in this state. Republican legislators, especially in the N.C. Senate, have remained cool to all expansion proposals. Conflicts between the United States and China appear to be growing. Walter Lohman, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, recently discussed “The China Challenge” in Raleigh in a speech sponsored by the Jesse Helms Center. Lohman highlighted challenges linked to long-term American relations with China. After a two-month break from work, N.C. state lawmakers still found no agreement to resolve an impasse over the state budget. Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake, offered competing assessments of the standoff during the legislature’s one-day return trip to Raleigh. As state lawmakers prepare for primary elections and the 2020 legislative session, the N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation, NC FREE, has unveiled its latest rankings of legislators based on their support for policies supporting free markets. Anna Beavon Gravely, NC FREE executive director, highlights key results and trends within the latest rankings. North Carolina’s Basnight Bridge attracted President Trump’s attention because of its long history of legal and regulatory delays. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, responds to the president’s comments about the Basnight Bridge. Coletti also analyzes the challenges North Carolina faces in building large-scale transportation projects.
Jan
20
2020
As National School Choice Week approaches, it’s a good time to highlight the growth of parental school choice in North Carolina. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, sifts through the data. Stoops explains why more and more parents are opting for alternatives to traditional district schools. The libertarian Cato Institute has taken an interest in North Carolina’s campaign to reform the state’s criminal laws. Jay Schweikert, policy analyst with Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice, explains why his group focuses its attention on reform. Cato and the John Locke Foundation hosted a recent summit highlighting reform efforts. The nation’s longest-running U.S. District Court vacancy has been filled after 14 years. As U.S. senators voted to confirm Richard Myers as the newest judge for North Carolina’s Eastern District, Senior N.C. Sen. Richard Burr praised Myers as he explained his “yes” vote. One of the University of North Carolina System’s most vocal internal critics turned his attention recently to “social justice” on campus. UNC-Wilmington criminology Professor Mike Adams shared personal anecdotes and highlighted the larger negative impact of social justice on the academic pursuit of truth. As the 2020 N.C. election season begins, a “Locker Room Talk” segment focuses on two important election-related developments. First, a federal judge has blocked the state from implementing its new voter ID law. Second, the State Board of Elections has ruled against the state Republican Party and allowed candidates William Weld and Joe Walsh to challenge Donald Trump on the GOP presidential primary ballot.
Jan
13
2020
Debate about public education in North Carolina gets bogged down by some popular myths. The myths include misconceptions about teacher pay and the impact of school choice on public school enrollment. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, addresses those myths and attempts to correct the record. Occupational licensing laws limit economic opportunities in North Carolina. During a recent speech for the Federalist Society in Raleigh, attorney Justin Pearson of the Institute for Justice explained how. Pearson shares highlights from that presentation in a one-on-one interview. The University of North Carolina System has faced several recent high-profile controversies. But system leaders are focusing on positive initiatives heading into the new year. Interim President Dr. William Roper recently highlighted some of the positive news for the system’s Board of Governors. The Leandro school-funding lawsuit has been influencing N.C. public policy for a quarter century. Jeanette Doran, president and general counsel of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, discusses recent developments in the case. She highlights observers’ concerns that a judge could order the General Assembly to spend $8 billion more on education programs over the next eight years. N.C. policymakers could take steps to reduce health care costs without touching any policy related to the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Instead they could eliminate some of the 53 state health insurance mandates. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, is highlighting the impact of those mandates on N.C. health care.
Jan
6
2020
After a December break, N.C. legislators return to Raleigh this month. They could vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget bill. They also could try to hash out final deals on the farm bill and other legislation left unresolved in 2019. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, analyzes the upcoming legislative session. The pursuit of diversity on college campuses is hurting American higher education. Heather Mac Donald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute, explains how in her recent book, The Diversity Delusion. Mac Donald shared her concerns during a recent visit to Raleigh for a summit sponsored by the National Association of Scholars. The General Assembly has finalized new reforms to laws involving sexual assault and child sexual abuse. You’ll hear highlights from legislative debate over the measures. Three generations of the Scott family played major roles in N.C politics. Longtime Raleigh News & Observer political columnist Rob Christensen tells the Scotts’ story in the book The Rise and Fall of the Branchhead Boys. Christensen explains how the Scott family story fits within North Carolina’s political narrative. The federal government recently announced that Robeson County had been reinstated to a program called equitable sharing. It allows local law enforcement agencies to use proceeds from asset forfeiture involving federal authorities. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, explains why the news is not entirely good. Guze says federal equitable sharing helps law enforcement agencies bypass worthwhile state restrictions on civil asset forfeiture abuse.
Dec
30
2019
As we look forward to a new year, Carolina Journal Radio reviews some of the most interesting topics from 2019. North Carolina’s system for funding public schools is broken. A more student-centered approach to funding could fix the problem. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and resident scholar, discusses recommendations from a new report that recommends a major overhaul of N.C. public education financing. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that unions representing state government workers couldn’t force nonmembers to pay union dues. The winning plaintiff in that case, Mark Janus, continues his fight against forced unionization. Now a senior fellow with the Liberty Justice Center, Janus visited North Carolina this year to discuss his case and its aftermath. Most public school students advance from grade to grade with their same-age peers. But not all of them are ready for the academic challenges linked to the next grade level. That’s why some state lawmakers are pushing for study of a competency-based education system. You’ll hear details of their plan. The feminist movement has had an undeniable impact on the lives of women. Mona Charen, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, says feminism has had a much-less-publicized effect on men. Charen explored the consequences of feminism during a recent presentation in North Carolina. North Carolina has one of the nation’s best laws limiting civil asset forfeiture abuse. But the state still could be open to problems if local law enforcement agencies circumvent that law when working with the federal government. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, discusses how other states have addressed the circumvention problem.
Dec
23
2019
North Carolina will conduct one of the nation’s most hotly contested U.S. Senate races in 2020. Incumbent Republican Thom Tillis is seeking his second term. A potential primary challenger recently dropped out of the race. Meanwhile, Democrats are competing for the right to face Tillis next fall. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes recent developments in the highly anticipated Senate battle. He also looks at the number of names on N.C. presidential primary ballots. The college football bowl season has arrived, and college basketball teams are nearing the heart of their conference schedules. It’s a good time for Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, to remind us that big-college sports have lost all resemblance to amateur athletic contests. Robinson highlights problems associated with big-time college sports. She offers ideas for improving the situation. North Carolina’s experience with so-called “sanctuary cities” recently attracted attention on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Tillis highlighted the issue while discussing his proposed Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act. He explains how the measure would help those hurt by illegal immigrants who commit other crimes. Most people who go to prison end up returning to society. U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, R-6th District, is pushing legislation that would help former prison inmates return to lives as productive citizens. He outlined his proposals during a recent summit in Greensboro. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest sent competing letters recently to N.C. public school teachers. Both letters discussed the state budget impasse that has blocked teacher pay raises. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, discusses the letters and their links to partisan political activity.
Dec
16
2019
A three-judge state Superior Court panel has accepted North Carolina’s redrawn congressional election map. This completes the state’s most redistricting fight and sets the stage for 2020 elections. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the impact of court fights that forced Republican legislative leaders to redraw legislative and congressional election maps for the last election preceding a new national census. The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment has come into conflict in recent years with state and local anti-discrimination laws. Gregory Wallace, Campbell University law professor, assesses how this conflict has played out in recent legal disputes. As the three-judge redistricting panel wrapped up its review of the new congressional map, Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway offered his assessment of recent changes in N.C. redistricting. He also spoke for his colleagues about their preferences for the future of state electoral mapmaking. A recent case involving N.C. state government and the famous pirate Blackbeard recently made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The dispute focuses on the rights to video and images from the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the pirate’s shipwrecked flagship. You’ll hear highlights from oral arguments. Winston-Salem surgeon Dr. Gajendra Singh recently won the first round in his courtroom fight challenging North Carolina’s certificate-of-need restrictions. A judge rejected state efforts to dismiss Singh’s case. Singh challenges the CON law that blocks him from buying an MRI machine to help serve his patients. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, discusses the significance of Singh’s courtroom victory.
Dec
9
2019
With the N.C. General Assembly wrapping up work for the year, now is a good time to review some of the year’s victories for the freedom movement. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, focuses on advances in taxes, spending, regulation, education choice, and criminal law reform. She also places this year’s events in the broader context of changes seen since Republicans took over the legislature at the beginning of the decade. Medicine continues to make major advances. But most of those advances involve new treatments for diseases. We’ve seen very few cures in recent years. Rep. Jim Butler, speaker pro tem of the Ohio House of Representatives, is pushing a multistate Cure Bill that would incentivize medical innovators to find new cures. Butler is seeking support for his proposal in North Carolina. A decade has passed since Matthew Bishop co-wrote the book Philanthrocapitalism. During a recent speech at Duke, Bishop highlighted the concept’s continuing significance in the world of charitable giving. As state lawmakers recently redrew North Carolina’s congressional election map, they took public input from supporters and opponents of major changes in the election redistricting process itself. You’ll hear highlights from that public hearing. Mental health issues have played a prominent role in recent years among experts and pundits pushing for health care reforms. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, assesses key mental health concerns. He explains how market-based reforms could help address those concerns.
Dec
2
2019
The open 2020 N.C. lieutenant governor’s race is drawing a crowded field of candidates, including one Republican who plans to vacate his current job on the Council of State. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes recent developments in the race for lieutenant governor. Henderson also explains how Mark Johnson’s decision to run for lieutenant governor will open up competition for the statewide job of superintendent of public instruction. The current lineup of the U.S. Supreme Court has started its second year of hearing cases together. Daniel Gibson, an attorney with the Stam law firm, assesses the high court’s first term with newest Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Gibson discusses key trends that could offer clues about decisions justices will render between now and June 2020. The 2016 election cycle helped spark discussion of a new term: “fake news.” During a recent event at Davidson College, longtime conservative pundit Bill Kristol and Axios co-founder Mike Allen discussed continuing concerns about the media’s reliability as the 2020 campaign approaches. The head of N.C. Emergency Management recently headed to Capitol Hill to share ideas with Congress about improving the federal government’s disaster relief programs. But Mike Sprayberry also faced some pointed questions from an Alabama congressman about the slow pace of North Carolina’s federal hurricane relief spending. You’ll hear highlights from their exchange. Some Democratic presidential candidates have rallied around the idea of raising taxes on the rich. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, discusses their plans. Coletti also assesses the latest efforts from local governments to tax soda.
Nov
25
2019
Everyone knows public schools face problems. What’s the largest problem? The answer depends on whom you ask. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes recent survey results focusing on public perceptions about problems in their local schools. A legal doctrine known as “qualified immunity” can create serious problems when a government agent wrongs a member of the public. Clark Neily, vice president for criminal justice at the Cato Institute, is working to end courts’ reliance on the qualified immunity doctrine. He discusses its ills. He explains how he’s attacking it. A public education reform called the Innovative School District continues to generate controversy in North Carolina. You’ll hear highlights from a recent legislative debate over changes designed to improve existing ISD rules. As North Carolina pursues criminal law reform, it’s getting high-profile support. Former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin served as keynote speaker for a recent Raleigh forum on the topic. Martin, now dean of the Regent University law school in Virginia, spelled out problems tied to overcriminalization. The American Bar Association plays a questionable role in determining whether judges and other lawyers are qualified to take new jobs on the federal bench. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, asks what role the ABA should play in the judicial confirmation process.
Nov
18
2019
Mecklenburg County voters recently rejected a sales-tax increase. It was advertised as raising money for “arts and parks.” Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, has examined the impact of the timing of local sales-tax votes on the likelihood of their approval. He’s found that voters are less likely to endorse these tax hikes during high-turnout elections. Public schools have struggled for years with a racial achievement gap. But recent research is pointing toward ways to help improve minority student performance. Seth Gershenson, professor of public policy at American University, explains how a teacher’s race can make an impact on a student’s success. His most recent study applies that finding to charter schools. As N.C. legislators haggled over budget issues during the summer and early fall, one of their fights involved the future of the state business franchise tax. You’ll hear arguments for and against reducing that tax. The General Assembly has taken several steps in recent years to address the opioid crisis. During a recent speech at Western Carolina University, Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon, recapped recent opioid-related laws. Davis also offered ideas about the next steps North Carolina should pursue in fighting the effects of powerful, dangerous drugs. Medical debt can cause major hassles for many North Carolinians, especially those with low incomes. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, is working with a group called RIP Medical Debt to address the issue. The group purchases low-income patients’ medical debt and wipes it clean, often for pennies on the dollar. Roberts hopes to raise $30,000 in an attempt to relieve as much as $2.5 million in old medical debt in central North Carolina.
Nov
11
2019
A three-judge panel has upheld the latest version of North Carolina’s state House and Senate election maps. But the same panel has tossed the congressional election map. Now state lawmakers will need to redraw that map quickly for the state to open up candidate filing as scheduled in December. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses the latest developments in North Carolina’s redistricting dispute. State lawmakers continue to pursue a process that could lead to a complete rewrite of North Carolina’s criminal code. Rep. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance, has played a leading role in that process. Riddell discusses the latest legislation designed to help lawmakers compile a list of all current crimes in the state. Legislators continue to debate funding issues as they haggle over a state budget impasse. One of the latest debates involves money designated for the “Raise the Age” initiative. That money will help the state legal system adjust to a shift of most 16- and 17-year-old offenders to the juvenile justice system. Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley recently shared lessons from her foreign policy work with students at Elon University. You’ll hear highlights from Haley’s recollection of dealing with some of the world’s worst political actors. Some legal disputes involve civil action. Others involve crimes. Mike Schietzelt, John Locke Foundation criminal justice fellow, distinguishes between civil and criminal disputes. He explains why it’s important to limit the use of the criminal code to the most serious cases. Schietzelt describes North Carolina’s ongoing effort to clean up the criminal code.
Nov
4
2019
Assaulting a referee can carry a more serious criminal penalty than assaulting your neighbor. That’s just one of the curiosities associated with North Carolina’s criminal code. Mike Schietzelt, John Locke Foundation criminal justice fellow, discusses a process designed to identify and compile all of North Carolina’s laws. Once compiled, policymakers could decide whether it makes sense for those two different types of assault to be treated so differently. If you agree that state government should play a larger role in school construction, you likely would support an option that provides more money more quickly – and at a lower overall cost – than the standard school construction bond. State Rep. Dean Arp, R-Union, says that option exists with the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund. Arp explains how the SCIF could help North Carolina address school construction without taking on billions of dollars in new debt. The University of North Carolina System is touting its latest enrollment numbers. Interim President William Roper recently highlighted the news for the university’s Board of Governors. Roper mentioned the positive impact of two programs that help limit tuition charges for new students. The nation recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. In connection with that milestone, the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise at Western Carolina University hosted a talk from the youngest man ever to walk on the moon. Charlotte native Charlie Duke shared stories from his famous space trip. He also offered students advice about following through on promising career opportunities. Government planners tend to love mass transit. Most everyone else tends to prefer driving in a car. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, explains that more and more people are enjoying the freedom to drive cars. Sanders discusses the policy implications for North Carolina.
Oct
28
2019
Supporters of the N.C. Department of Transportation are raising concerns about dwindling funding for highway projects. They point to higher-than-expected costs from hurricane repairs, as well as money diverted from construction to pay legal settlements linked to the now-discarded Map Act. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, explores DOT funding issues. North Carolina does relatively well compared to other states when it comes to parental school choice. That’s the assessment from Neal McCluskey, director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute. During a recent visit to the Tar Heel State, McCluskey highlighted its recent school choice improvements. He also points to steps the state could take to boost options for families. Eastern North Carolina’s long-standing federal judicial vacancy could soon be filled. President Trump has nominated UNC law professor Richard Myers for the post. Senior U.S. Sen. Richard Burr recently touted Myers’ record during a hearing of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee. After several years of inactivity, the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law is back in action. President Jeanette Doran discussed the group’s goals during a recent relaunch event in Raleigh. She also heard words of support from two former state Supreme Court justices: Robert Edmunds and Robert Hunter. Much of the national health care debate in recent years has focused on the number of people with no insurance. Jordan Roberts, John Lock Foundation health care policy analyst, discusses Trump administration actions that are designed to give people more options.
Oct
21
2019
Release of a secret recording has shed some light on national Democrats’ plans for winning North Carolina’s 2020 U.S. Senate race. In the recording, Democratic state Sen. Jeff Jackson says he was discouraged from running a grass-roots campaign for the U.S. Senate seat. Instead, Jackson says Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer wanted Jackson to spend all of his campaign time raising money to fund negative ads against Republican incumbent Thom Tillis. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses the impact of the recording for the 2020 campaign. Britain’s chaotic Brexit process now has a new leader. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won notoriety as a larger-than-life character in British politics. Andrew Taylor, N.C. State University political science professor and a native Briton, analyzes Johnson’s potential impact on his nation’s future. As state lawmakers were complying with a court order to redraw state House and Senate election maps, they heard arguments for and against changing the mapmaking process itself. You’ll hear highlights from that debate. A Winston-Salem surgeon is moving forward with his lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s certificate-of-need restrictions on major pieces of medical equipment. As the case proceeds, the state constitution’s anti-monopoly clause should bolster the surgeon’s case. That’s the assessment from Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies. He explained why during a recent presentation in Winston-Salem for the group Classical Liberals in the Carolinas. A year after Wake County Schools faced the shocking news that systemwide school enrollment had increased by just 42 students, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools reported an overall enrollment decrease for this new school year. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, examines the causes and potential implications of slowing enrollment in North Carolina’s two largest school systems.
Oct
14
2019
A judge will hear arguments this month in a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s certificate-of-need law. A Winston-Salem surgeon is challenging a provision in the CON law that blocks him from purchasing an MRI machine. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, has filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the surgeon’s case. Guze explains why he believes the CON law is unconstitutional. If North Carolina decides to move forward with legislation to allow dental therapy, it will be good to know how that process has played out in other states. Sal Nuzzo, vice president for policy at the James Madison Institute, has watched closely as Florida has considered dental therapy laws. He offers Tar Heel State policymakers ideas about how to proceed. State legislators debated this year a proposed change to school discipline rules. You’ll hear highlights from their discussion. A new state law will allow more small business owners to pursue health insurance options through Association Health Plans. During a recent news conference, legislators and small business advocates touted potential benefits from the plans. Protesters disrupted a recent meeting touting Gov. Roy Cooper’s energy plan. The protesters complain that the Cooper administration isn’t moving fast enough to reach environmental goals. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, responds to the protesters’ concerns. Van der Vaart also offers his own expert assessment of Cooper’s energy priorities.
Oct
7
2019
The University of North Carolina System’s controversial chairman has resigned from that post. Harry Smith’s decision shakes up the university’s Board of Governors as that board deals with other leadership issues. That includes the search for a new system president and for a new chancellor at the flagship campus in Chapel Hill. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses UNC’s leadership challenges. Sarah Lawrence College political scientist Samuel Abrams unleashed a wave of criticism when he decided to write in the New York Times about the lack of ideological diversity on college campuses. Abrams traveled to Raleigh this year to discuss the controversy during a speech for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. Abrams shared themes from that presentation with Carolina Journal Radio. State lawmakers agree N.C. counties should replace voting machines that lack a paper record. Disagreement remains about when. Counties have asked for another extension of a deadline to make the change. The extension would extend past the 2020 elections. You’ll hear highlights from legislative debate about that proposal. The controversial N.C. House vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget bill has led to a war of words between the chamber’s top Democrat and Republican. You’ll learn why House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, D-Wake, labeled his Republican counterparts “liars.” You’ll hear the response from House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, about Jackson’s partisan motives. Some politicians, including Cooper, want to move toward greater use of electric vehicles. Forcing the change could lead to unintended negative environmental consequences. That’s the conclusion from Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow. Van der Vaart explains how a large increase in electric vehicle use could affect other energy resources.
Sep
30
2019
Constitution Day earlier this month reminded us of the importance of the United States’ governing document. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, emphasizes constitutional provisions that protect the nation from damaging policies put forward by elected officials. Guze touts the value of these constitutional safeguards. Jesse Helms departed the American political scene long before Donald Trump started his campaign for the White House. But at least one man who worked for Helms believes the late U.S. senator would appreciate much of what Trump is trying to accomplish in the White House. Marc Thiessen followed his work for Helms by becoming President George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter. He’s now a Washington Post columnist and American Enterprise Institute fellow. Thiessen explains how his work with Helms influences his assessment of Trump. During an ongoing state budget impasse, N.C. lawmakers nonetheless moved forward with pieces of the budget dealing with hurricane and disaster relief. You’ll hear highlights from their debate. North Carolina ranks No. 18 among the states when it comes to freedom. That’s according to a report prepared for the libertarian Cato Institute. Freedom in the 50 States co-author Jason Sorens recently shared details during the annual meeting in Winston-Salem of Classical Liberals of the Carolinas. Sorens, director of the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance at Saint Anselm College, explains what N.C. policymakers have done well, along with areas that could use improvement. From the inception of the N.C. state lottery, critics have contended that state-run gambling would thrive only by relying on money from low-income customers in low-income counties. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, reviews recent data that suggest critics have been correct.
Sep
23
2019
Voters in two N.C. congressional districts headed to the polls for special elections this week. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes results from the special 3rd District and 9th District races. Henderson looks ahead to possible implications for Republicans and Democrats running in 2020. Political polarization has had major effects on American political life. Thomas Cushman, professor of sociology at Wellesley College and a 2018-19 visiting research fellow at Wake Forest, examines the impact of polarization on support for free speech. Cushman says surveys show that young people divide on ideological grounds over whether to give precedence to inclusion and diversity over freedom of expression. Some state lawmakers want to make it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to take their alleged perpetrators to court. The N.C. House recently debated legislation designed to accomplish that task. You’ll hear highlights. Lawmakers also devoted some debate time recently to a bill that would streamline the process for students seeking college credit for their high school Advanced Placement courses. Some lawmakers objected to lauding the University of North Carolina System’s work on the issue. The specific objection involved near-automatic credit for students scoring a three or higher on AP tests. You’ll hear what lawmakers had to say for and against that idea. The N.C. Department of Public Instruction has released its latest report on public school students’ standardized test performance. In general, school and student performance is up slightly. Meanwhile, the state graduation rate remains fairly constant, and some education officials have raised concerns about areas of stagnation. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, dissects the numbers. Stoops focuses on the most significant trends.
Sep
16
2019
Gov. Roy Cooper recently signed into law Senate Bill 584. It marks the latest step in an ongoing campaign to fight overcriminalization in North Carolina. Mike Schietzelt, John Locke Foundation criminal justice fellow, explains how the new legislation fits with the goal of cleaning up the state’s overly complicated criminal code. Overly burdensome occupational licensing rules restrict economic freedom in both North Carolina and South Carolina. During a recent meeting in Winston-Salem, the group Classical Liberals in the Carolinas learned how. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, focused attention on North Carolina’s licensing restrictions. Jennifer McDonald, senior research analyst at the Institute for Justice, offered details about South Carolina’s rules. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., wants to do more to speed up the pace of government hurricane relief. Before Hurricane Dorian approached the N.C. coast, Tillis returned to Raleigh to discuss a bill that could help local governments bypass some layers of red tape in securing federal relief funding. Some state lawmakers want public schools to place more emphasis on phonics in early reading instruction. Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, tried to amend a recent education bill to mandate phonics instruction in the earliest elementary school grades. You’ll hear highlights from N.C. House debate of Pittman’s proposal. Without Cooper’s signature, the Small Business Health Care Act recently became law in North Carolina. It opens the door to Association Health Plans for small business owners and their employees. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, assesses the significance of AHPs and their role in health care reform.
Sep
9
2019
President Trump heads back to North Carolina, one day before voters head to the polls in two special congressional elections. Trump’s trip to Fayetteville is designed to support the campaign of Republican Dan Bishop in the 9th District race. Bishop faces Democrat Dan McCready in a special election resulting from alleged absentee ballot shenanigans involving a contractor for previous Republican candidate Mark Harris. Voters in the 3rd District also head to the polls to choose the successor to the late U.S. Rep. Walter Jones. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes Trump’s visit and its potential impact on the special elections. As North Carolina considers the possibility of permitting dental therapy in this state, the John Locke Foundation recently hosted an event to focus on the issue. Featured speaker Christy Jo Fogarty is a dental therapist in Minnesota and the first advanced dental therapist in the United States. Fogarty offers ideas to help N.C. policymakers decide whether to pursue dental therapy options in this state. As the state budget impasse continues, legislative leaders are pursuing a plan to offer tax refunds of up to $250 to N.C. taxpayers. State House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger recently explained their proposal and its link to North Carolina’s nearly $900 million revenue surplus. Classical liberals play an important role in promoting the virtues and value of the free-market system. John Allison, former head of BB&T bank and former president of the libertarian Cato Institute, delivered that message during the recent annual meeting of the group Classical Liberals in the Carolinas. Some judges and magistrates use computerized risk-assessment tools to determine how to handle criminal defendants before trial. But those tools have come under attack from some high-profile academics. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, analyzes the debate and its possible significance in North Carolina.
Sep
2
2019
President Trump holds slim leads – well within the margin of error – over several major Democratic contenders for the 2020 presidential race in North Carolina. That’s according to the latest Civitas Poll. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes those numbers and other poll highlights. As thousands of college students head back to campus, it’s a good time to remind you about a recent report questioning the politicization of education schools in North Carolina. Jay Schalin, director of policy analysis at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, recently compiled a report detailing the problem. Schalin shares highlights from his research and discusses possible remedies. The N.C. House recently debated a proposal to allow people to deduct gambling losses from their state income taxes. The idea’s chief proponent says the change would move North Carolina into compliance with federal tax law. Critics cited the potential negative impact on the state’s tax system, as well as concerns about treating gambling losses like business expenses. One of the key players in the recent “paper classes” scandal involving academics and athletics at UNC-Chapel Hill recently took her story to Capitol Hill. Former athletic reading tutor Mary Willingham reviewed the scandal during a forum sponsored by a congressman who’s seeking to federal laws regarding student-athletes. You’ll hear highlights from Willingham’s remarks. State law forces most N.C. public school systems to wait until late August to start their academic years. But some school systems have used loopholes to get an earlier start. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, discusses the ongoing debate over the limits of North Carolina’s school calendar law.
Aug
26
2019
North Carolina’s system for funding public schools is broken. A more student-centered approach to funding could fix the problem. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and resident scholar, discusses recommendations from a new report that recommends a major overhaul of N.C. public education financing. When most of think about markets, we think of goods and services. Salim Furth, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, focuses his attention on the market for neighborhoods. Furth discusses the implications of applying economic principles to the places where we live. The N.C. Constitution bans felons from serving as sheriffs. There’s some confusion about the eligibility of a person who has had a felony conviction expunged from his record. The N.C. House recently debated a measure designed to clarify the rules for potential sheriffs with criminal convictions expunged. N.C. lawmakers have debated for years the rules restricting placement of billboards beside state roads. The latest debate involves replacement of billboards that must be torn down when a local government condemns the surrounding property. Some legislators emphasize the billboard owners’ property rights, while others worry about blocking local government control of billboard placement. Multiple Democratic politicians continue to push for a government-mandated $15-per-hour minimum wage. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, highlights economists’ assessments of the idea. Sanders notes that little news coverage of the $15 wage includes analysis from economists, who tend to criticize the idea.
Aug
19
2019
N.C. policymakers recently learned that state government ended its last budget year in June with a revenue surplus of nearly $900 million. Meanwhile, Gov. Roy Cooper wants the state to borrow more money as it increases spending in the new budget year and beyond. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, places those facts in the broader context of North Carolina’s fiscal picture. State Treasurer Dale Folwell has seen pushback from large medical providers as he has proceeded with his Clear Pricing Project for the State Health Plan. It serves government workers and retirees. Folwell discusses the project and explains why it’s necessary for the health plan’s long-term viability. North Carolina’s Read to Achieve program recently faced an attack from N.C. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, D-Wake. You’ll hear Jackson’s comments, along with a response from a Republican House colleague. N.C. lawmakers have debated the pros and cons of legalized smokable hemp. You’ll hear highlights from committee debate about the hemp. Growers and law enforcement interests clash over whether legalized smokable hemp generates more benefits than costs. Most us know that certain drugs are illegal. Far fewer of us know that North Carolinians are expected to pay taxes on their illegal drugs. Brenee Goforth, marketing and communications associate at the John Locke Foundation, discusses the state’s unauthorized substances tax. Authorities can seize property to force people to pay the tax. It generates $6 million to $11 million each year for state government.
Aug
12
2019
Reform of North Carolina’s alcohol regulations has taken a major step forward this year. Gov. Roy Cooper has signed into law measures that ease restrictions on craft brewers and distillers. New laws also make other changes that reduce government barriers for consumers. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses the recent legislative interest in reforming decades-old alcohol rules. President Trump is scheduled to head to Charlotte next year for the Republican National Convention. That didn’t stop Charlotte City Council from voting recently to condemn some of the president’s remarks, including criticism of four Democratic congresswomen known collectively as “the Squad.” You’ll hear highlights from the council’s debate, including criticism from Republican members who disagreed with their colleagues’ decision to insert themselves into national politics. N.C. lawmakers continue to tweak the way the state grades its public schools. You’ll hear highlights from a recent legislative discussion of reforms. Recent advances in genetic editing raise questions about how much freedom parents should have to choose their children’s traits. Jonathan Anomaly, philosophy professor at the University of San Diego, discussed that issue during a recent lecture at Duke. Anomaly explained how interference with the natural range of genetic traits could lead to unintended negative consequences. North Carolina’s Innovative School District has seen recent leadership changes. Lawmakers also continue to tinker with the rules governing how struggling public schools should qualify for inclusion in the ISD. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and resident scholar, analyzes recent developments with the special district designed to help turn around the state’s most challenging schools.
Aug
5
2019
New research from Duke University scholars questions Medicaid’s value for the people the health care program was designed to help. The research arrives as the N.C. General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper continue to bicker over Cooper’s proposal to expand Medicaid to several hundred thousand more people in the state. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, assesses the new research and its potential impact. The latest U.S. Supreme Court term yielded several important rulings, including two with direct impacts on N.C. congressional elections and the state Revenue Department’s taxing authority. Ilya Shapiro, director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, recaps those cases, other key decisions, and important trends from the nation’s highest court. Legislative supporters of President Trump’s latest trade deal with Mexico and Canada ran into trouble when they tried to approve a resolution supporting the agreement. The resolution included positive comments about the 1990s-era North American Free Trade Agreement. Opponents of NAFTA in the N.C. House refused to vote in favor of any legislation praising that trade deal. House leaders dumped the resolution back into a committee. State lawmakers continue to hear bipartisan arguments in favor of the Second Chance Act. It would allow more people to expunge old criminal convictions from their records. During a recent hearing, lawmakers heard support from the idea from district attorneys, the state’s leading business group, and former criminal offenders tied to the Second Chance Alliance. Evidence continues to mount that film incentives fail to live up to the economic promises advocates make for them. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, offers an update on incentives. Sanders also highlights good news in the ongoing campaign to rid N.C. state government of unnecessary and outdated regulations.
Jul
29
2019
One of the sticking points in this year’s state budget debate involves the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund, or SCIF. Legislators propose using SCIF instead of a statewide bond to fund school construction projects. Gov. Roy Cooper objects. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, analyzes the SCIF. He explains how it can work better, faster, and cheaper than a bond package. Some state lawmakers want to take another look at what they call an “opportunity gap” in N.C. public schools. You’ll learn details of their proposed study and hear reaction from Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies. A bill dubbed Sam’s Law is designed to improve the prospects of students who suffer a seizure inside a public school. You’ll hear highlights from legislative debate of the measure. A measure dubbed the First Step Act would give judges more discretion in sentencing criminal defendants charged with drug trafficking offenses. Supporters say the measure makes sense for dealing with drug addicts who aren’t large-scale drug dealers. But the proposal is drawing significant opposition. You’ll hear pros and cons from opposing members of the General Assembly. Efforts to improve North Carolina’s criminal code continue in the General Assembly, Mike Schietzelt, John Locke Foundation criminal justice fellow, explains why the current code causes problems for ordinary citizens and the criminal justice system.
Jul
22
2019
State Rep. Greg Murphy has won the Republican runoff in this year’s special 3rd District congressional election. He moves on to face Democrat Allen Thomas, plus Libertarian and Constitution Party candidates, in the Sept. 10 general election. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes developments in this contest and the special 9th District matchup between Republican Dan Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready. A new state law places more emphasis in N.C. high schools on economics and personal financial literacy. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and colleagues on the N.C. State Board of Education recently discussed the creation of a mandatory high school class on those topics. You’ll hear highlights from their discussion. State lawmakers are helping some school districts fill teaching positions by making it easier to rehire recent retirees. Legislation designed to remove barriers for rehired retirees moved through the General Assembly this year. Some lawmakers continue to push for reform of North Carolina’s certificate-of-need restrictions. You’ll hear debate on the latest version of CON reform moving through the chambers of the state House and Senate. Families continue to turn to homeschooling and private schools as alternatives to the traditional public school system. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the latest enrollment data for both forms of parental school choice.
Jul
15
2019
The 2020 general election is more than a year away, but there’s plenty of political activity at the state and federal level. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest appear to be headed toward a contest for the Executive Mansion. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes recent polling data linked to the governor’s race. Education reform represents an important goal. But reformers have a mixed record of success. That’s the assessment from Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Pondiscio explains why education reform measures often fall short of their worthwhile goals. He offers reformers ideas for improvement. State lawmakers are pursuing changes that would relax restrictions on North Carolina’s craft distilleries. Their proposals are attracting praise from Pete Barger of Southern Distilling Company. He leads a group promoting state craft distillers. One of the most controversial bills in this year’s legislative session has involved N.C. sheriffs and federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. You’ll learn why some lawmakers want to compel sheriffs to comply with ICE detainers for illegal immigrants arrested for crimes. You’ll also hear critics’ objections. A chief dispute in this year’s state budget debate involves Medicaid expansion. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, outlines the details of the dispute. He explains how resolution of that dispute could affect taxpayers and health care consumers.
Jul
8
2019
North Carolina has been dealing with the Leandro school funding lawsuit for 25 years. But recent developments suggest a resolution to the long-running case could be in sight. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the latest recommendations and courtroom developments in the Leandro dispute. Some state lawmakers want to give survivors of childhood sexual abuse more time to take their alleged abusers to civil court. You’ll hear highlights from a recent N.C. House debate over a bill that would allow an adult as old as 38 to file suit in a child sexual abuse case. One N.C. congressman used a recent U.S. House debate to draw attention to the boycott, divestment, and sanctions – or BDS – movement against Israel. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th District, asked colleagues to support an amendment to take action against those who support the movement. You’ll hear his argument. One of the most contentious debates in the N.C. General Assembly this year involves fishing. Sponsors of a bill dubbed “let them spawn” want to set new size restrictions for certain fish caught in N.C. waters. Opponents contend the measure would kill the state’s commercial fishing sector. You’ll hear arguments from both sides. The U.S. Supreme Court has closed the door on partisan gerrymandering cases with a 5-4 decision in North Carolina’s Rucho v. Common Cause case. That means the state will not be forced to redraw election districts for 2020 congressional elections. But a similar legal dispute in state court still could affect the future of N.C. House and Senate election maps.
Jul
1
2019
North Carolina’s 2020 U.S. Senate race picked up two more candidates in recent weeks. Cal Cunningham, a former state senator, dropped his campaign for lieutenant governor to make a second bid for the upper chamber on Capitol Hill. Another former state senator, Eric Mansfield, also added his name to the list of Democrats who want to challenge incumbent Republican Thom Tillis. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the latest developments in the high-profile race. The certificate of need represents one way government steps in to restrict health care innovation. Josh Windham, attorney at the Institute for Justice, explains why IJ is challenging North Carolina’s CON law and a similar restriction of health care freedom in South Carolina. Windham says these types of restrictions crop up in other states as well. Some N.C. lawmakers are pushing Allison’s Law. Based on the 2009 murder of Allison Holt in Forsyth County, the measure would enable new tracking of violent domestic abuse offenders. You’ll hear highlights from legislative debate of the issue. A recent report from the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division gave lawmakers ideas for boosting student achievement in North Carolina’s most challenging public school districts. You’ll hear report details and reaction from lawmakers on both sides of the partisan divide. Unanimous votes in both the N.C. House and Senate killed off North Carolina’s infamous Map Act. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, explains why the end of the Map Act represents a win for property rights.
Jun
24
2019
While Medicaid expansion dominates North Carolina’s health care headlines, other topics deserve attention, too. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, focuses on two health care innovations. First, he explains how Medibid connects patients and doctors through online auctions. Second, he discusses the planned merger of Aetna and CVS and the potential impact on retail health care. Advocates of a Convention of States made their pitch again this year in North Carolina. Mark Meckler, president and founder of the Convention of States project, enlisted public support for the idea from conservative commentator and former Florida congressman Allen West. Meckler and West explain how a convention could help rein in an unaccountable federal government. They also rebut concerns from critics who believe a runaway convention could lead to unintended negative consequences. Most public school students advance from grade to grade with their same-age peers. But not all of them are ready for the academic challenges linked to the next grade level. That’s why some state lawmakers are pushing for study of a competency-based education system. You’ll hear details of their plan. Some lawmakers are working again this year to scale back or even eliminate North Carolina’s certificate-of-need restrictions on new medical facilities and major medical equipment. They explained their goals during a recent news conference. They also cited research that questions the value of CON restrictions in states that employ them. Fourteen years after the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London, North Carolina still has taken no steps to boost protection for residents against eminent domain abuse. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, explains why state policymakers should address the issue. He says the N.C. House has approved seven different eminent domain reform bills since Kelo. The Senate has yet to address any of them.
Jun
17
2019
As Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a compromise between craft brewers and N.C. beer distributors, several other proposed alcohol reforms remain in play within the General Assembly. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the prospects for additional reforms during this legislative session. As Medicaid expansion continues to play a major role in this year’s legislative debates, State Auditor Beth Wood is drawing attention to disturbing findings her auditors have issued in connection with North Carolina’s existing multibillion-dollar Medicaid program. Wood explains why she is raising questions about management of existing Medicaid dollars. North Carolina’s craft brewers and the state’s beer distributors have reached a compromise to end a lawsuit involving state restrictions on brewers’ ability to expand their businesses. You’ll hear highlights from the state Senate’s debate of the measure. Advocates from across the political spectrum have endorsed the Second Chance Act. It’s a measure designed to expand opportunities for expunctions that clear crimes from a person’s criminal record. You’ll learn why the idea is winning support from both progressive and conservative groups. Supporters touted Common Core as a way to boost standards in public schools across the country. But recent research suggests Common Core has had a negative impact on student achievement. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the findings. Stoops also discusses the implications for North Carolina.
Jun
10
2019
State senators have rolled out their version of a $23.9 billion General Fund spending plan for the budget year that starts July 1. The Senate differs from the House in prioritizing pay raises for state workers. Neither chamber has included any money for addressing Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed Medicaid expansion. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, analyzes the Senate’s proposals. Whatever you think about the best way to fight crime, you likely support the idea that crime-fighting policies ought to work as intended. Brandon Garrett, professor at the Duke Law School, focuses on evidence-based criminal justice. He explains how his research could influence public policy. State lawmakers are debating a bill that would loosen restrictions on the state’s craft distilleries. You’ll hear why proponents are touting the measure as a jobs bill, while opponents want to preserve the state’s existing regulations. Fourth Amendment concerns cropped up during debate about a bill to help law enforcement agencies use technology to track missing people. The bill would allow authorities to proceed without a warrant in emergency situations. You’ll learn why some lawmakers raised constitutional objections. State government recently updated rules linked to N.C. livestock operations. The process causes concern for Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow. He explains why the revision seems to be based on discussions between state regulators and environmental activist groups, with little to no input from affected farmers.
Jun
3
2019
Accusations of partisan politics emerged after the new Democratic majority on the N.C. State Board of Elections decided to fire state elections director Kim Strach. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the politics of the decision. He looks at the potential impact on elections scheduled this year and in 2020. Many of government’s problems stem from an unwillingness to apply common sense to public policy issues. That’s a key tenet of Try Common Sense, the latest book from Philip Howard of the government reform group Common Ground. Howard explains how a dose of common sense would make government operate much better. Some N.C. lawmakers want to step up criminal penalties connected with gangs. You’ll hear highlights from their proposal, along with one critique. Lawmakers are also trying to do what they can to limit telephone number spoofing from telemarketers and scam artists. A bill moving through the General Assembly would give telephone customers a new way to report those who target them with fake phone numbers. Dental therapy offers the prospect of increased access and lower costs. North Carolina doesn’t permit the service today, but Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, recently researched the process the state could use to allow patients access to this alternative to traditional dental office visits.
May
27
2019
State Sen. Dan Bishop won a crowded Republican primary in North Carolina’s special 9th Congressional District election. That victory sets up a Sept. 10 showdown with Democrat Dan McCready, who came close to winning the disputed 9th District race in 2018. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses Bishop’s win and looks ahead to the general election. The feminist movement has had an undeniable impact on the lives of women. Mona Charen, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, says feminism has had a much-less-publicized effect on men. Charen explored the consequences of feminism during a recent presentation in North Carolina. Parents, teachers, and policymakers all have complained about the high volume of standardized testing in N.C. public schools. You’ll hear highlights from a bill in the General Assembly designed to address the issue. Some N.C. lawmakers want to extend public whistleblower protections to city police officers and management. A nearly unanimous state House endorsed the idea. You’ll learn why advocates say the additional protection is necessary. There’s a movement in the N.C. General Assembly to modernize state alcohol regulations. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, assesses the proposals. Sanders explains why reform makes sense for consumers and the state.
May
20
2019
Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina will not face an easy path to re-election in 2020. While Democrats have not yet lined up a high-profile challenger, retired conservative businessman Garland Tucker recently announced his plan to challenge Tillis in the GOP primary. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the current state of the 2020 U.S. Senate race. The recent death of a South Carolina college student helped attract attention to concerns about safety involving Uber, Lyft, and similar ridesharing operations. Some N.C. lawmakers are pushing the Passenger Protection Act to address those concerns. You’ll learn key elements of the proposal. The Read to Achieve program is designed to ensure N.C. public school students read at grade level by third grade. The program has had a rocky start. Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, is leading the effort to improve Read to Achieve. You’ll hear his recommendations. Some N.C. lawmakers want to guarantee that public school students learn about the Holocaust. They’re pushing legislation that would mandate Holocaust instruction in the state’s public schools. Telemedicine’s rising popularity has prompted some policymakers to consider new regulations. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, urges caution. Roberts recently prepared a list of telemedicine regulation “do’s and don’ts.”
May
13
2019
Thousands of N.C. public school teachers walked off the job May 1 for a march and rally in downtown Raleigh. They called for higher pay, more benefits, and Medicaid expansion, among other demands. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the impact of the teachers’ one-day walkout. One of Donald Trump’s major selling points during the 2016 presidential campaign was his track record for making business deals. Andrew Taylor, professor of political science at N.C. State University, assesses Trump’s record as a presidential deal-maker. As chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, North Carolina’s Sen. Richard Burr has a front-row seat for Russia’s efforts to disrupt American society. Burr discussed Russian misdeeds during a recent public presentation at Duke University. Some state lawmakers want to address school teachers’ complaints about classroom supply money by making $400 available to every public school teacher in North Carolina. They have unveiled legislation designed to meet that goal. The N.C. House has unveiled its 2019-21 budget proposal. The House would spend less money than Gov. Roy Cooper while still boosting teacher pay by an average of 4.8 percent. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, assesses the House’s key budget provisions.
May
6
2019
Tax incentives are back in the headlines. Carolina Journal reports the rare story of a major aircraft industry company building operations in Winston-Salem without seeking any handouts from state local government. Meanwhile, S.C. legislators squabble over a multimillion-dollar incentives package designed to lure the Carolina Panthers business operations south of the state line. Rick Henderson, CJ editor-in-chief, analyzes the latest incentives news. North Carolina has made billions of dollars in promises to retired state workers. Those promises involve both pensions and health care. State Treasurer Dale Folwell focuses on the price of those promises. He’s warning policymakers about the importance of ensuring the state’s ability to keep those promises. Medicaid expansion dominates much of North Carolina’s current discussion of health care reform. But some leading state senators continue to object to the expansion proposal originally tied to the Affordable Care Act. You’ll hear their alternative plan for shoring up the existing Medicaid program. Members of the University of North Carolina System’s Board of Governors continue to raise questions about rising costs linked to tuition and fees. You’ll hear highlights from their most recent public discussion of the topic. Policymakers have been looking for ways to address North Carolina’s transportation needs as the gas tax becomes a less reliable funding source. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, recently testified before a state Board of Transportation committee on tax principles to consider when modernizing transportation revenues. Coletti summarizes his key findings.
Apr
29
2019
Health care providers in North Carolina need a government permission slip called a certificate of need before they can add hospital beds, build new facilities, or purchase major pieces of equipment. Health care reforms say scrapping CON requirements would boost health care innovation in this state. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health policy analyst, discusses legislative efforts to scale back or eliminate state CON restrictions. Reformers have been targeting the formula North Carolina uses to fund public schools across the state. Aaron Smith, education policy analyst for the libertarian Reason Foundation, has been watching the debate with interest. Smith explains some of the problems with North Carolina’s current system. He explains how reform could lead to better outcomes for students. The shooting death of a state Highway Patrol trooper in Columbus County last year has prompted action at the N.C. General Assembly. Lawmakers say Conner’s Law would step up the penalty for people who use a weapon when assaulting a law enforcement officer. Lawmakers are also pursuing new legislation that would make it easier to charge a drug dealer when an illegal dug transaction leads to death. Dubbed death by distribution, the new crime would enable prosecutors to charge a deal with a crime other than murder or manslaughter. Policymakers continue to push for increased government involvement in providing broadband services. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, explains why these government broadband schemes are misguided. Sanders says they can prove especially costly for taxpayers, even those who never use the service.
Apr
22
2019
The N.C. Association of Educators union is urging public school teachers across the state to skip school on May 1 to take part in a march and rally in Raleigh. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the union’s goals. He also discusses the potential impact of the lost day of classroom instruction. Ever since North Carolina’s Republican-led General Assembly embarked on major tax reform in 2013, the state has served as a model for state-level tax reformers across the country. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, discusses North Carolina’s successful tax reform model. Ever since losing a Forsyth County court case, the N.C. Department of Transportation has stopped using the Map Act. That act blocked property owners from making any significant changes to property designated in a state highway corridor map. Now some state lawmakers are pushing the repeal the Map Act. You’ll hear their arguments. Some state lawmakers are pushing a new measure to ensure high school students develop a better understanding of personal finances. You’ll hear from the bipartisan supporters of a state Senate measure requiring new financial literacy instruction throughout N.C. high schools. Duke Energy customers will overpay about $1.25 billion over the next 10 to 15 years. The overly high bills will be linked to long-term solar energy contracts state government has forced Duke to sign. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, explains that the contracts mean bad news for Duke customers. The arrangement also flouts a state law requiring Duke to seek the lowest-cost electricity and to maintain reliability of the electric grid.
Apr
15
2019
North Carolina has been able to cut tax rates in recent years without having to slash state services. That’s thanks to sustainable budget practices. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, outlines several key steps lawmakers have taken to pursue sustainable budgets. When Margaret Spellings wrapped up her tenure as president of the University of North Carolina System, she offered the Board of Governors a positive assessment of UNC’s current state. Shannon Watkins, policy associate at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, says Spellings and other university leaders might be viewing UNC through “rose-colored glasses.” Watkins explains why the actual picture isn’t as bright as Spellings suggested. State lawmakers deal with important issues. They also deal with ice cream. One bill moving through the General Assembly would designate ice cream as the state’s official frozen treat. North Carolina’s congressional election map headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court recently. You’ll hear highlights from oral arguments, including pointed questions from Supreme Court justices about partisan gerrymandering. Supporters of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina want to fund their proposal with a new tax on health care providers. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health policy analyst, analyzes the proposed tax and the problems it could create.
Apr
8
2019
North Carolina’s ongoing congressional redistricting dispute returned to the U.S. Supreme Court recently. As justices decide whether Republicans engaged in too much partisanship when they drew election maps, a case challenging state legislative district maps is proceeding to trial in state court later this year. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the latest developments in both sets of legal challenges. School choice has boomed in North Carolina in recent years. Advocates hope to build on choice options in the coming year. Mike Long, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, shares his group’s top priorities. Some N.C. lawmakers hope to improve the state’s health care options through new legislation. It focuses on association health plans. AHPs would allow more small employers and self-employed workers to band together for insurance. They could seek insurance options that have been available only to large companies in recent years. During a recent Capitol Hill hearing on crumbling school buildings across the country, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, highlighted another pressing issue. Foxx reminded her colleagues that education spending has increased substantially in recent years. But she says much of that increased spending has funded administrative bloat instead of teacher salaries and other high-priority items. North Carolina has one of the nation’s best laws limiting civil asset forfeiture abuse. But the state still could be open to problems if local law enforcement agencies circumvent that law when working with the federal government. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, discusses how other states have addressed the circumvention problem.
Apr
1
2019
After months of controversy involving his job status, East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton has announced his resignation. He’ll collect a severance package of nearly $600,000. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes Staton’s decision and the implications for the University of North Carolina System’s Board of Governors. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that unions representing state government workers couldn’t force nonmembers to pay union dues. The winning plaintiff in that case, Mark Janus, continues his fight against forced unionization. Now a senior fellow with the Liberty Justice Center, Janus recently visited North Carolina to discuss his case and its aftermath. Some state lawmakers want to change North Carolina’s rules governing liquor sales. Carol Shaw of the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division recently offered some recommendations for how to proceed with reforms. Economic freedom, not socialism, offers the path toward wealthier, health societies. Southern Methodist University economist Robert Lawson delivered that message during a recent speech at Duke University. Lawson shared highlights from an annual report on economic freedom in countries around the world. North Carolina’s haphazard collection of criminal laws creates a losing proposition for N.C. taxpayers. Mike Schietzelt, criminal justice fellow at the John Locke Foundation, explains how taxpayers would benefit from a complete overhaul of the state’s criminal code.
Mar
25
2019
With the appointments of new Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and Associate Justice Mark Davis, the N.C. Supreme Court now has six Democrats and just one Republican. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the political implications of changes within the state’s highest court. Henderson also looks ahead to three contested Supreme Court elections in 2020. Donald Trump has changed the face of presidential politics. He’s also had an impact on the national Republican Party. F.H. Buckley, professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, assesses those changes in his recent book The Republican Workers Party. Buckley shares key themes from his research. Some state lawmakers want North Carolina to ban female genital mutilation. Their legislation responds to a recent court ruling striking down a federal law covering the same topic. Reformers are trying again this year to change the way North Carolina draws state congressional and legislative election maps. One proposal would write nonpartisan election redistricting rules into the state constitution. You’ll hear from supporters, including former UNC System President Tom Ross and conservative businessman and philanthropist Art Pope. Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget proposal features 9 percent pay raises for public school teachers over the next two years. Cooper also wants to kill off the state’s Opportunity Scholarship school voucher program. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, critiques Cooper’s proposals.
Mar
18
2019
Gov. Roy Cooper recommends average 9 percent public school teacher pay raises and a $3.9 billion bond package in his latest budget plan. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, analyzes Cooper’s proposals and highlights key pros and cons. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton garner more attention, but James Wilson also played a significant role as an American Founder. Jim Zink, associate professor N.C. State University, has studied Wilson’s impact on the U.S. Constitution. Zink shares details of his research. State Treasurer Dale Folwell is running into opposition as he tries to change the prices the State Health Plan pays for health care services. You’ll hear debate surrounding Folwell’s presentation of his plan to a state House committee. Longtime conservative commentator and prominent Donald Trump critic  William Kristol will spend the fall teaching ethics at Davidson College. During a recent speech at Davidson, Kristol highlighted some top ethical issues in today’s political landscape. Residents of North Carolina’s 3rd and 9th Congressional Districts have had no representation in Congress this year. But state officials have scheduled special elections to fill both congressional vacancies. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, reminds us of the circumstances surrounding each election. He tells us when residents should know who will represent them on Capitol Hill.
Mar
11
2019
Gov. Roy Cooper outlined his priorities for the 2019 legislative session during his recent State of the State address. Cooper pushed for Medicaid expansion, a statewide school construction bond, and higher pay for public school teachers. The Democrat Cooper also talked about seeking bipartisan solutions. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, analyzes Cooper’s remarks and the response from Senate Republican leader Phil Berger. Freedom of religion is the first freedom spelled out in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. It’s also the fundamental freedom that faces some of the strongest attacks in today’s America. Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with the Catholic Association, assessed ongoing challenges to religious freedom during a recent presentation at N.C. State University. Besides Gov. Cooper, top N.C. House leaders have expressed interest in a state school construction bond. Leading state senators have put forward an alternative plan. Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, recently explained that the Senate plan would devote more money to school construction, available more quickly, and without incurring $1.2 billion in interest payments linked to a bond. Partisans like to bicker over whether Republicans or Democrats are more charitable. Richard Clerkin, director of the Institute for Nonprofits at N.C. State University, looks beyond the partisan spin to focus on the relationship between political competition and charitable giving. Debate over state government’s role in local school construction is likely to take up much of the General Assembly’s time this year. While Cooper and leading House Republicans back a bond, Senate leaders prefer their pay-as-you-go alternative. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, weighs pros and cons of the alternative approaches.
Mar
4
2019
North Carolina’s newly reconstituted state elections board ordered a new election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District after a four-day hearing into absentee ballot irregularities. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the board’s decision and looks ahead to the next stage in the 9th District dispute. During the heated debate over the last U.S. Supreme Court confirmation, critics argued that Brett Kavanaugh represented a threat to the Constitution. Greg Wallace, professor at the Campbell University Law School, examines those claims. Wallace assesses now-Justice Kavanaugh’s likely impact on the nation’s highest court. U.S. Rep. Walter Jones died recently at age 76. He had represented eastern North Carolina on Capitol Hill for nearly a quarter century. His colleagues honored him during a brief ceremony on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. American business history presents many examples of fraud over the years. Edward Balleisen, professor of history at Duke University, documents many of those examples and government responses in a recent book. Balleisen shares key themes from Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff. North Carolina state government exercises tight restrictions over alcohol sales. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, documents the state’s system of alcohol “control” in his latest research report. Sanders highlights key elements from his studies.
Feb
25
2019
Many congressional Democrats, including potential 2020 presidential contenders, have endorsed the idea of providing “Medicare for All.” Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, examines the proposal. He explains why an expansion of the existing federal health insurance program for older Americans would not lead to the results “Medicare for All” proponents are proposing. The Democratic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives means a much different political world for conservatives and for the Trump administration. David French, National Review senior editor, explores the potential impact of recent political changes on conservative policy priorities. State government collects plenty of data. That doesn’t mean the data is used most effectively. Charles Perusse, Gov. Roy Cooper’s state budget director, recently told lawmakers the governor is likely to seek funding in the next budget to help make better use of collected government information. Dr. William Roper recently transitioned from leading the University of North Carolina Healthcare system to leading the university system. During his first official meeting as interim UNC president, Roper outlined his priorities for the 17 campuses across the state. Hog farms have faced repeated legal fights in North Carolina in recent years. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, explains that many of those fights have resulted despite the fact that farmers have complied with regulations established by government agencies.
Feb
18
2019
The newly minted N.C. State Board of Elections meets next week to discuss an investigation into absentee ballot irregularities in the still unsettled 9th District congressional election. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the latest developments in the electoral battle between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. One of the hottest topics in the world of college sports involves paying athletes for their performance. Former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr doesn’t want to get caught up in that debate. But Orr recently told the state’s Legislative Commission on the Fair Treatment of Student-Athletes that he favors allowing athletes to benefit from the “fruits of their own labor,” as the N.C. Constitution requires. During the ongoing debate over the 9th District congressional race, Harris’ lawyers asked a Wake County judge to order elections officials to certify the Republican as the winner. You’ll hear why Judge Paul Ridgeway refused to insert himself into the electoral fight. Social media has had a major negative impact on the tenor of political debate. That’s the assessment of Jonah Goldberg, American Enterprise Institute scholar and National Review senior editor. During a recent visit to Chapel Hill, Goldberg shared his concerns about political polarization and its impact on the American economic Miracle. North Carolina’s latest teacher turnover report offers good news about the number of teachers staying in state classrooms. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and resident scholar, dissects the numbers.
Feb
11
2019
Candidates are already lining up for the 2020 elections in North Carolina. It’s not unusual to see candidates jump into a race a year before the election. But some might be throwing their hats into the ring even earlier than normal. That’s because primary elections have been moved up from May to March. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses developments in the upcoming races for governor, U.S. Senate, and other important statewide elected positions. Some governments use sin taxes to nudge people away from behavior that elected officials and bureaucrats dislike. Adam Hoffer, associate professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse, discusses the problems associated with using taxation to spur behavioral change. His comments are linked to his work from the recent book For Your Own Good. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faced a couple of recent surprises. Chancellor Carol Folt announced her resignation, then decided to remove the pedestal of the controversial Silent Sam Confederate monument in the middle of the night. That move prompted UNC System officials to move up Folt’s departure date. Harry Smith, chairman of the system’s Board of Governors, explains why he and his colleagues took action. The N.C. Supreme Court recently celebrated its 200th anniversary. Speaking less than three weeks before he announced his resignation, Chief Justice Mark Martin urged colleagues to set aside personal policy preferences to work together in upholding the rule of law. N.C. lawmakers will face pressure this year to expand the state’s Medicaid program. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, says Medicaid expansion would create problems for North Carolina, even in a form different from the expansion proposal tied to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Feb
4
2019
School choice takes many different forms in North Carolina. In recent years, state legislators have established Opportunity Scholarship vouchers for students from low-wealth families, a separate grant program for students with special education needs, and education savings accounts. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes each of these programs. Cyberspace might represent the most important battlefield in future conflicts between the United States and its adversaries. During a recent visit to North Carolina, Washington Post staff writer Shane Harris explained how President Trump has approached cyberwarfare differently from his predecessors. Harris analyzes the potential impact of the policy shift. For the first time in his nine years as leader of the N.C. Senate, Phil Berger will not have a Republican supermajority to override a governor’s veto. During the opening day of the new legislative session, Berger explained how the change could affect relations between Senate Republicans and Democrats. Speaking of vetoes, lawmakers voted to override Cooper’s veto of a bill re-establishing separate state elections and ethics oversight boards. During the vote, lawmakers debated the potential impact on investigations of alleged campaign finance violations. Buncombe County voters approved a local sales tax hike in 2011 to address repairs and renovations for their local community college. A recent scandal involving the ousted county manager revealed that the money had been used instead to balance Buncombe’s budget. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, discusses the problem and potential solutions for Buncombe taxpayers.
Jan
28
2019
North Carolina could make a major improvement to its tax system by ending taxation of capital gains. But the state doesn’t have to scrap its capital gains tax completely to move in the right direction. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, recommends capping the capital gains tax at its current rate. With that step, the rate would never climb again, even if future legislatures decide to raise taxes in other types of income. The University of North Carolina System could do a better job recruiting military veterans as students. The system’s Board of Governors heard that message recently from Jared Lyon, president and CEO of the group Student Veterans of America. You’ll hear highlights from his remarks. Political observers are already looking ahead to the 2020 elections. John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood warns against relying too heavily on 2018 election results when making predictions about 2020. Hood offers his own thoughts about trends and factors to keep in mind at this stage of the election cycle. State legislators recently loosened restrictions on one of North Carolina’s key targeted tax incentive programs. The decision to raise the per-job cap for the Job Development Investment Grant generated heated debate among N.C. House Republicans. North Carolina has made great strides in expanding parental school choice during the past decade. As National School Choice Week concludes, we review this state’s recent achievements with help from Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies.
Jan
21
2019
State senators have elected Republican Phil Berger to a fifth consecutive term as the Senate’s top officer. The state House has elected Republican Tim Moore to a third term as House speaker. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses the potential impact of these leadership elections on the next two years of state legislative action, including relations with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Some governments use selective taxes to fund public pension liabilities. This creates potential problems, as professor Thad Calabrese of New York University documents in the recent book For Your Own Good. Calabrese outlined the potential problems during a recent panel discussion co-hosed by the John Locke Foundation. Voters decided last November that North Carolina should add a photo ID voting requirement to the state constitution. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill designed to meet that new constitutional requirement. You’ll hear highlights from the legislative debate before a vote to override Cooper’s veto. Partisans on both the left and right make mistakes when they discuss government and its role in both causing and responding to economic inequality. That’s one of the key points of a recent book, The Captured Economy. Co-author Steven Teles, a Johns Hopkins University political scientist, shared major themes from the book during a recent lecture at Duke University. Trump administration efforts to roll back federal regulations are being counteracted to some extent by the so-called ESG movement. The movement involves basing investment decisions on environmental, social, and governance criteria – rather than the traditional goal of maximizing returns. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, assesses the ESG movement’s impact.
Jan
14
2019
North Carolina’s individual and corporate income tax rates dropped again on Jan. 1. The personal income tax rate now stands at 5.25 percent, down more than 30 percent from the top marginal rate of 7.75 percent that it was in effect in 2013. North Carolina’s 2.5 percent corporate tax rate is the lowest rate of any states that assess a tax on corporations’ income. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, assesses the significance of the latest tax rate cuts. Negative partisanship plays a significant role in our current political debates. That’s a problem for Jonah Goldberg, American Enterprise Institute scholar and National Review senior editor. Goldberg explains how our political discourse suffers when both Democrats and Republicans support their parties only because they hate the opposite party. State lawmakers looking into a controversial fund tied to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have hired three former federal agents as outside investigators. You’ll hear highlights from the legislative meeting that led legislators to hire the agents. Supporters of electric vehicles tout their environmental benefits. Andrew Yates, professor in the UNC-Chapel Hill economics department, says those benefits are not as clear-cut as advocates suggest. During a recent presentation for the John Locke Foundation, Yates detailed research into the environmental impact associated with electric vehicles. After years of fast growth, enrollment in North Carolina’s largest school system – Wake County – grew by just 42 students in the past year. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, assesses the significance of that slowdown for state and local education policy. That includes the prospects for a statewide public education bond package.
Jan
7
2019
When Apple announced plans for a major expansion in Austin, Texas, it appeared that Raleigh and North Carolina had “lost” another competition for a major economic development. That was despite the state’s willingness to give Apple substantial tax incentives. Jon Sanders, the John Locke Foundation’s director of regulatory studies, assesses the impact of Apple’s announcement on N.C. tax incentive policy. Free speech is one of the most fundamental rights protected in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. But free speech faces continual attacks. David French, senior writer for National Review, worries about attacks on the culture of free speech. He explained his concerns during a recent visit to Raleigh. Association health plans offer an alternative to the Affordable Care Act in providing access to health insurance. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, praised those plans during a recent floor speech in the U.S. House of Representatives. Millions of people know Brian Kilmeade as a co-anchor of the Fox News morning program. He’s also an author of books focusing on key episodes in American history. Kilmeade discussed his TV role, his historical research, and current events during a recent speech in Raleigh for the John Locke Foundation. A federal judge recently struck down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, assesses the ruling’s significance for health care policy in North Carolina and across the country.
Dec
31
2018
As we look forward to a new year, Carolina Journal Radio reviews some of the most interesting topics from 2018. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York describe themselves as socialists. But neither one fits the classic definition of “socialist.” Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, distinguishes the two politicians from traditional socialists and explains why their policy goals would not lead to institutionalized socialism. More and more elected leaders treat politics as a type of performance. That approach has helped transform American politics. Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, is working on a book that explores the transformation. He shared insights from his research during a visit to Raleigh. It’s possible to define “conservative politics” in multiple ways. John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood offered his definition during a speech to the Leadership Institute. Hood explained why his definition follows Margaret Thatcher’s maxim that the facts of life are conservative. Private property rights play a critical role in a free society. The U.S. Constitution focuses attention on protecting those rights. Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University, discussed the Constitution’s property rights protections during a speech this year at N.C. State University. Somin shares themes from that presentation. North Carolina’s certificate-of-need law has restricted new medical facilities and major medical equipment for decades. The idea behind the CON law goes back even further. That’s according to Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst. He discusses the history and explains how the CON law hurts those seeking affordable health care options.
Dec
24
2018
Republicans have been able to cut tax rates, balance budgets, and increase spending on high-priority items since taking control of the N.C. General Assembly in 2011. But they will face some new challenges as they return to the budget process in the new year. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, outlines those challenges. Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman delivered free-market messages to a wide television audience with his “Free to Choose” program on public TV. The Free to Choose Network follows in Friedman’s footsteps with a series of programs highlighting the importance of markets. President and CEO Robert Chatfield discusses the network’s latest projects. Before announcing plans to step down as UNC System president, Margaret Spellings offered praise for a program designed to highlight two cost-saving programs for students within the statewide university system. Spellings touted the taxpayer-funded We Promise campaign during a meeting with the system’s Board of Governors. Absentee ballot irregularities in southeastern North Carolina prompted members of the N.C. elections board to delay certifying results of the hotly contested 9th District congressional race. As elections officials investigated, three Republican state senators called on the governor to establish a new bipartisan task force to look into the issue. You’ll hear why they believe an outside group should probe allegations of illegal activity involving absentee ballots. A special N.C. House committee has unveiled its proposals for addressing safety in the state’s public schools. Lindsay Marchello, Carolina Journal associate editor, covered the committee’s debate of its final report. Marchello highlights the group’s top priorities.
Dec
17
2018
Legislators recently loosened restrictions on North Carolina’s targeted tax incentive program, allowing companies to claim as much as $16,000 for every job created in connection with a Job Development Investment Grant. That’s a 246 percent increase from the old cap of $6,500 per job. The change passed without much opposition in the General Assembly. But Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, explains why an increased reliance on targeted tax incentives means bad news for state taxpayers. Progressives argue that their policies are designed to help disadvantaged groups, including minorities and the poor. But Michael Jacobs, professor at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, has conducted research demonstrating how policies adopted by North Carolina’s most progressive local governments have ended up hurting the groups progressives say they want to help. Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused substantial damage in North Carolina, including the state’s agriculture and agribusiness. State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler delivered a recent status report to state lawmakers. After 55 percent of N.C. voters supported a constitutional amendment requiring people to present photo identification when they head to their polling place, state lawmakers sought input about translating that new constitutional requirement into law. You’ll hear highlights from a public comment session tied to the debate over implementing North Carolina’s new voter ID requirement. Prospective charter school operators face a number of challenges as they try to set up their publicly funded, privately operated K-12 schools. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, has seen many of those challenges firsthand. Stoops and his wife are leading efforts to establish a new charter school in Wake County. Now that the school has reached its groundbreaking, Stoops reflects on the charter school development process.
Dec
10
2018
A recent Civitas poll suggests North Carolina will continue to play a role as an election battleground state in 2020. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, dissects the poll’s key findings. Henderson assesses the implications for Tar Heel politics during the next two years. Partisans on both the left and right tend to agree that our political debates have become far too polarized. In a recent column for National Review Online, John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood offered ideas for addressing the crippling level of polarization. Hood highlighted the work of North Carolina’s bipartisan Leadership Forum. Today’s economy requires an increased role for community college training. That’s the assessment from N.C. Community College System President Peter Hans. He recently explained to University of North Carolina leaders how state community colleges are responding to the state’s changing economic needs. A special legislative study group is looking into the controversial $57.8 million fund Gov. Roy Cooper set up in connection with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Lawmakers want to ensure that Cooper’s office did not coerce pipeline operators into paying the money in return for a necessary state environmental permit. You’ll hear highlights from the group’s first meeting. State Treasurer Dale Folwell is taking steps to increase transparency related to health care costs charged to the State Health Plan for government workers and retirees. Folwell’s efforts are facing some opposition within the General Assembly. Dan Way, Carolina Journal associate editor, reports on the latest developments. Way also notes Folwell’s concerns about some local governments’ financial stability.
Dec
3
2018
A state legislative committee plans to hire an outside investigator to look into a controversial $57.8 million fund tied to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief analyzes the decision to seek outside investigative help. Henderson explains why the fund has raised concerns about North Carolina’s environmental permitting process. Some people want to target hate by censoring or banning so-called “hate speech.” Nadine Strossen, professor at New York Law School and former national president of the American Civil Liberties Union, disagrees. During a recent visit to North Carolina, Strossen touted free speech as the best tool to fight hate speech. A special N.C. legislative committee is studying the treatment of student-athletes on University of North Carolina campuses. During the group’s first meeting, one senator questioned a representative of the NCAA about the group’s role in overseeing big-money football and men’s basketball programs. A top advocate of school choice in North Carolina has a new leader. Mike Long recently joined Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina as its new president. Though new to PEFNC, Long is a native North Carolinian with more than three decades of experience in public and private school education. Millennials’ desire for on-demand services could lead to major changes in the future of American health care. That’s the assessment of Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst. Roberts discusses the shift away from traditional health care services toward urgent care, retail clinics, telemedicine, and direct primary care.
Nov
26
2018
The U.S. economy has posted impressive gains recently. Both President Trump and former President Barack Obama are claiming credit. Roy Cordato, the John Locke Foundation’s senior economist, puts the competing claims to the test. A Winston-Salem surgeon is taking North Carolina state government to court because of a law that blocks him from purchasing an MRI scanner. Dr. Gajendra Singh says the scanner would help him provide a valuable service to his patients at a reasonable cost. North Carolina’s certificate-of-need law blocks Singh from making the purchase. Singh and his attorney, Josh Windham of the Institute for Justice, explain why they’re challenging the CON law. One likely consequence of the 2018 elections is a renewed push for redistricting reform in North Carolina. John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood offered that prediction during a recent post-election analysis. Hood says Republican legislative leaders looking ahead to 2020 elections might want to rethink their opposition to reform. Higher education faces significant challenges in North Carolina and across the United States. Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, highlighted key challenges during a recent speech in Raleigh. Robinson emphasized the lack of viewpoint diversity on college campuses, along with an overall decline in academic quality. As state and national politicians continue to debate the future of health care, the recent rise of Association Health Plans is offering a new option for many health care consumers. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, explains AHPs. He also assesses their potential impact on the future of health care.
Nov
19
2018
Voters have broken veto-proof Republican supermajorities in the N.C. General Assembly. The November election results ensure a more powerful role for both the Democratic minority and Gov. Roy Cooper. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, analyzes the election’s significance. The United States and other Western nations are choosing to reject the economic Miracle that has generated most of the world’s prosperity. That’s the assessment of Jonah Goldberg. The American Enterprise Institute Scholar and National Review senior editor explains his assessment in the recent book Suicide of the West. He discussed key themes from the book during a recent visit to Chapel Hill. The University of North Carolina System has turned to the retiring CEO of UNC Health Care to lead the state’s public universities on an interim basis. Dr. William Roper recently shared with reporters his reaction to the appointment as interim UNC president. Conservative principles can improve public policy at all levels of government. P.J. Connelly is applying those principles to his job as mayor of Greenville. It’s the largest N.C. city with a Republican mayor. Connelly discusses his priorities and challenges as a conservative working in local government. Democrats made big gains in N.C. judicial elections on the statewide November ballot. The state’s voters also approved four of six proposed constitutional amendments. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the significance of the only ballot items every N.C. voter faced this year.
Nov
12
2018
Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order calling on state agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to have North Carolina follow through on dictates of the Paris climate agreement, even though the Trump administration has pulled the United States out of that agreement. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow and former N.C. environmental secretary, dissects Cooper’s order and analyzes its implications. Many American cities appear to face a state of decline. The group Strong Towns endorses action that would help reverse that decline. Development director Bo Wright discusses Strong Towns’ recommendations. That includes the roles public and private actors should take. After less than three years on the job, UNC System President Margaret Spellings has announced plans to resign in March. Despite the surprise announcement, Spellings told reporters she is proud of the system’s accomplishments during her tenure. She outlined some of those accomplishments during a recent news conference. Today’s college students have embraced activism to a degree last seen in the 1970s. But former Yale professor William Deresiewicz recently cautioned a Duke audience against treating college as a way to promote that activism. Deresiewicz made a plea for a traditional liberal-arts education that forces people to think, reason, and question their beliefs. The federal government has granted North Carolina a waiver to make major changes in its Medicaid program. Among the changes is a shift from a fee-for-service system to one in which the state allots a set amount of funding to address care for each Medicaid patient. Statewide and regional groups will contract with state government to manage its Medicaid services. Dan Way, Carolina Journal associate editor, discusses waiver details and assesses the significance for Medicaid’s future.
Nov
5
2018
Voters will choose all 170 members of the N.C. General Assembly Tuesday. The elections will determine whether Republicans maintain veto-proof supermajorities in both the state House and Senate. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, explains how the legislative elections could affect state policy. That includes relations with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Most of us believe that we possess pretty good character. A recent book, The Character Gap, suggests we’re wrong. Author Christian Miller, professor of philosophy at Wake Forest University, identifies the gap between the character we have and the character we want. Miller also explains how we can help shrink that gap. Hurricane Florence tore up hundreds of N.C. roads, causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. N.C. Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon offered state lawmakers a recent status report. Trogdon explained that the state DOT hopes to make major roads more resilient in the face of future hurricanes. As the debate over global warming and climate change continues, Bill Lynch tries to separate facts from myths. Lynch, fellow at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, explains why some popular arguments related to climate change are wrong. All 13 seats in North Carolina’s delegation to the U.S. House are up for grabs this year. Three in particular are attracting attention. In each case, Democrats could unseat Republicans and change the delegation’s current 10-3 GOP majority. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses hotly contested congressional races in the 2nd, 9th, and 13th Districts.
Oct
29
2018
N.C. lawmakers have approved an additional $850 million for relief from damage inflicted by Hurricane Florence. That total exceeded the amount Gov. Roy Cooper requested, and the relief package earned unanimous support within the General Assembly. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, analyzes key aspects of the relief package. Governments tend to like imposing “sin taxes” on items like alcohol and tobacco. But a new book titled For Your Own Good explores the potential negative consequences of sin taxes and other selective taxes that target disfavored groups. Co-editor Todd Nesbit, assistant professor of economics at Ball State University, explores key problems associated with selective taxes. Some lawmakers are raising concerns about an unpublicized office within the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles that offered driver’s licenses for selected state government employees. The office drew negative media scrutiny. And some legislators urged their colleagues to take a closer look into the matter. They also want to know why waiting times are so long at many public DMV offices. Governments often get involved in financing stadiums for privately owned sports teams. Many of those projects rely on selective taxes, including extra charges for car rentals or hotel and motel bills. Craig Depken, professor of economics at UNC-Charlotte, discusses unintended consequences associated with those taxes. With no presidential, gubernatorial, or U.S. Senate race on the North Carolina ballot this year, some observers are focusing most of their attention on six proposed constitutional amendments. The major parties have staked out positions: Republicans support all six, and Democrats oppose them. All living former governors and state Supreme Court chief justices have joined the debate on two amendments. And an activist group that often supports Republican causes is launching a campaign against one of the amendments. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses recent developments in the amendment debate.
Oct
22
2018
Gov. Roy Cooper is one of just two Southern governors – and eight nationwide – to earn F grades in the libertarian Cato Institute’s latest “Fiscal Report Card for America’s Governors.” Cooper earns this failing grade despite the fact that other measures tout North Carolina’s strong economy and fiscal health. Chris Edwards, editor of Cato’s DownsizingGovernment.org, explains why North Carolina’s chief executive deserves such low marks. School choice faces a number of attacks from critics. One of the most common criticisms involves standards at private schools that see increased enrollment thanks to school voucher programs. Matthew Ladner, senior research fellow at the Charles Koch Institute, explains why those critiques miss the mark. As students headed back to class this fall, state education officials sought to reassure parents that public schools are taking steps to ensure safety. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson led a recent news conference outlining safety measures designed to help prevent the incidents of school violence that have generated headlines across the country in recent years. A new state commission is focusing on the fair treatment of college student-athletes in North Carolina. During the group’s first meeting, some of the most compelling testimony came from lobbyist David Collins, a former UNC-Chapel Hill football player. Collins explained how a serious ankle injury during his senior year led to unexpected problems and lingering health concerns. State lawmakers are offering contrasting assessments of hog lagoons’ environmental performance during Hurricane Florence. Dan Way, Carolina Journal associate editor, reported those assessments from one of the General Assembly’s top agricultural advocates and one of its most vocal environmental watchdogs. Way shares highlights from his work.
Oct
15
2018
N.C. legislators returned to Raleigh for the first of what they expect to be multiple sessions linked to Hurricane Florence disaster relief. In addition to a $56.5 million disaster relief fund, lawmakers unanimously supported legislation targeting schools, state matches for federal disaster funding, even mosquitoes. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses lawmakers’ initial responses to the hurricane. North Carolina’s Robert Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, recently took part in a U.S. Justice Department forum addressing free speech on college campuses. Shibley discussed recent improvements in campus speech codes. He also identified ongoing challenges, including problems linked to outside speakers invited for campus lectures. As lawmakers returned to Raleigh to address hurricane relief, some of them were still dealing with issues linked to hurricane damage in their home communities. Sen. Michael Lee, R-New Hanover, offered inland colleagues insight about the storm’s impact on his community and neighbors. Before he leaves office at the end of the year, Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, is trying to draw attention to the danger of Lyme disease. During a recent hearing, Jones and Lyme disease patient Nia Davenport described some of the problems associated with the tick-related illness, which few people have associated with North Carolina. Some public school students missed weeks of classroom instruction because of Hurricane Florence. State lawmakers have granted local school systems flexibility in making up that lost time. But that still leaves school systems with challenges in trying to educate thousands of students. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, evaluates those challenges.
Oct
8
2018
Higher education watchdogs have seen good news in recent years when it comes to free-speech protections on N.C. college campuses. Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, discusses a new report that grades the campuses based on their policies promoting or limiting speech. It’s no secret that American politics has become increasingly polarized. Duke University ethics professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong believes more argument could help fight that polarization. Sinnott-Armstrong explained his theory during a recent speech in Raleigh. You’ll hear highlights from his remarks. Before Hurricane Florence stormed through North Carolina, state lawmakers already were talking about ways to improve disaster relief in the wake of the 2016 damage from Hurricane Matthew. Rep. Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, explains how government could learn lessons about disaster preparations from the state’s farmers. N.C. voters face six proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot. John Dinan, professor at Wake Forest University, places North Carolina’s latest proposals in a national context. Dinan is author of the book State Constitutional Politics: Governing by Amendment in the American States. North Carolina’s certificate-of-need law has restricted new medical facilities and major medical equipment for decades. The idea behind the CON law goes back even further. That’s according to Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst. He discusses the history and explains how the CON law hurts those seeking affordable health care options.
Oct
1
2018
As North Carolina recovers from Hurricane Florence, state government leaders are happy to have access to a $2 billion “rainy-day fund.” The Republican-led General Assembly made a concerted effort to rebuild that fund in recent years. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, explains why. Coletti also explains how the fund could help state government move more quickly to address issues arising from Florence’s damage. Amid recent controversies involving Facebook, some critics have called for increased regulation of the social media giant. Computer expert Bob Chandler, president of Macvantage, discusses Facebook’s recent woes. Chandler examines pros and cons related to government involvement in Facebook’s operations. The U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh has taken recent twists and turns. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis recently chided Democratic colleagues and left-of-center partisan activists for refusing to engage Kavanaugh on substantive legal issues. President Trump recently traveled to Charlotte to unveil a new program designed to help more small business employees save money for retirement. U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Linda McMahon of the Small Business Administration, and other national and local business leaders joined the president to tout the new program. The arrival of Hurricane Florence prompted N.C. officials to trigger the state’s price-gouging law. It allows people to complain to government when they believe vendors are charging prices that are too high. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, says the law creates serious negative unintended consequences. Among them: empty store shelves and dried-up gas pumps. Cordato explains why higher prices make sense during an emergency.
Sep
24
2018
With legal battles over congressional redistricting and state constitutional amendments resolved – for now – North Carolina’s election ballot is now set for November. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses the key issues voters will be addressing in this so-called “blue moon” election with no presidential, gubernatorial, or U.S. Senate race. Critics of school voucher programs often point to history. They say vouchers arose from segregationists’ efforts to fight school integration. Phillip Magness, senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, says the actual history is much more complicated. Magness explains that the earliest supporters of school vouchers often believed they would help fight the negative impact of segregated public school systems. A new digital tool is giving members of the UNC Board of Governors quick access to valuable data about the system’s schools. During a recent discussion about the new “dashboard,” board members debated the value of relying more heavily on data to guide board decisions. The N.C. General Assembly is setting up a new committee to examine the details of a $58 million fund set up in connection with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Sen. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, explained in a recent committee meeting why lawmakers want to examine Gov. Roy Cooper’s role in establishing the fund. Kristi Jones, Cooper’s chief of staff, questioned lawmakers’ actions. You’ll hear highlights from their remarks. A national education group claims that North Carolina’s public school math scores have lagged because the state dropped its support of Common Core academic standards. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and resident scholar, says the argument is wrong. Stoops corrects the record. He explains why North Carolina’s math standards still have ties to the controversial Common Core.
Sep
17
2018
As Carolina Journal Radio marks its 800th weekly episode, we look back at some of the most interesting guests who have analyzed political, public policy, and historical developments over more than a dozen years. You’ll hear from Fred Barnes, Arthur Brooks, Charles Cooke, Steve Forbes, Robert George, Jonah Goldberg, Mary Katharine Ham, Andrew McCarthy, Deroy Murdock, Charles Murray, Peggy Noonan, Michael Novak, P.J. O’Rourke, Ramesh Ponnuru, Virginia Postrel, John Stossel, Cal Thomas, and Walter Williams. New data released from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction help tell the story of student performance in the state’s public schools. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes the most important information emerging from the latest DPI report. The N.C. Historical Commission recently rejected Gov. Roy Cooper’s request to move three Confederate monuments from the State Capitol grounds to a historic battlefield site in Johnston County. But commission members hold a range of views about the best way to deal with the monuments. You’ll hear highlights from two members with contrasting viewpoints. UNC-Chapel Hill has attracted national attention after protesters toppled the Silent Sam Confederate statue just as the new school year started. The university system’s Board of Governors has ordered Chapel Hill campus leaders to develop a permanent plan by Nov. 15 for dealing with Silent Sam. You’ll hear Chancellor Carol Folt’s initial reaction to that timeline, along with concerns from BOG member and former state senator Thom Goolsby. State legislators have formed a new subcommittee to look into a nearly $58 million fund set up in connection with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, explains why lawmakers have questions about Gov. Roy Cooper’s role in establishing that discretionary fund.
Sep
10
2018
Political prognosticators often look at independent, unaffiliated voters for clues about the likely outcomes of upcoming elections. The Civitas Institute recently polled unaffiliated N.C. voters. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the poll’s findings. He discusses how the numbers could affect key elections and the fate of proposed constitutional amendments. A Winston-Salem surgeon is challenging state certificate-of-need restrictions that block him from buying an MRI machine. Dr. Gajendra Singh says the machine would help him provide MRI services for patients at a lower price than they would pay at a nearby hospital. You’ll hear highlights from a recent news conference with Singh and Institute for Justice attorneys. IJ is helping Singh challenge the state CON law in court. Among the recent honors for the late U.S. Sen. John McCain is one you might not have expected. Democratic N.C. Sen. Erica Smith praised the longtime Republican U.S. senator and GOP presidential nominee during a speech in the state Legislative Building. Smith used McCain’s words to urge her Democratic and Republican colleagues to do a better job working together. Silent Sam has filled recent headlines, but that Confederate statue at UNC-Chapel Hill is not the only monument generating controversy on college campuses. Shannon Watkins, policy associate at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, shares her concerns about recent debates involving the future of campus monuments. A leading Democratic U.S. senator is promoting legislation dubbed the Accountable Capitalism Act. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, highlights flaws in Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal. Cordato explains that capitalism already holds businesses accountable without government intrusion.
Sep
3
2018
Most school-age children are back in classrooms after summer break. Their families recently encountered the annual trip to the store to buy new school supplies. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and resident scholar, crunches the numbers to determine how much parents, teachers, and state taxpayers spend to equip kids for a new year of school. Advocates of North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship school voucher program recently touted results of a study from N.C. State University. It documented the vouchers’ “positive, large, and statistically significant” benefits for low-income students. Two of the key NCSU researchers, assistant professor Anna Egalite and professor Stephen Porter, discuss their findings. They explain why the Opportunity Scholarship program’s design limits researchers’ ability to perform the highest-quality performance review. North Carolina voters will decide in November whether to lower the state constitution’s existing cap on the state’s income tax rate. The current cap stands at 10 percent. The amendment would reduce that number to 7 percent. You’ll hear highlights from the N.C. House’s recent debate on the issue. Greenville businessman Harry Smith recently took over as chairman of the UNC System’s Board of Governors. During his first meeting as chairman, Smith outlined for colleagues his priorities for the board, which oversees 16 university campuses and the N.C. School of Science and Math. You’ll hear highlights from his remarks. A recent state audit criticized the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission for millions of dollars of waste over more than a decade. Some observers hope the audit will help spark interest in privatizing state alcohol sales. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes reaction to the audit and the likely response from state policymakers.
Aug
27
2018
Headlines in recent months have focused on accusations of Russian collusion. At least one aspect of the collusion debate deserves more scrutiny. In a recent column for TheHill.com, John Locke Foundation Senior Fellow Donald van der Vaart recommended that the Trump administration look into possible collusion between the Russian government and American environmental activist groups. Van der Vaart explains why an investigation makes sense. Small business leaders today often point to government regulation as one of the largest obstacles blocking their growth and success. But that attitude about government is a relatively new development in the history of American small business. UNC-Chapel Hill history professor Benjamin Waterhouse says small businesses once relied on government as an ally against big business. Waterhouse offers a history lesson and discusses some of the reasons for the changing stance regarding government involvement in the economy. One of the N.C. General Assembly’s latest debates involved ballot captions for six constitutional amendments in the November election. You’ll hear highlights from floor debate about a measure to replace captions with the simple words “constitutional amendment.” Speaking of the constitution, North Carolina’s five living former governors have united in opposition to two proposed amendments. One would change the way the state fills judicial vacancies. The other would change the makeup of the state elections board and assign the General Assembly the ultimate power over appointments to state boards and commissions. You’ll learn why Republicans Jim Martin and Pat McCrory and Democrats Jim Hunt, Mike Easley, and Bev Perdue all oppose the changes. As state lawmakers raise questions about the pace of state disaster relief related to Hurricane Matthew, Gov. Roy Cooper spent a recent day touring parts of the state hit hardest by the storm. Lindsay Marchello, Carolina Journal associate editor, covered Cooper’s tour. She recaps her account of Cooper’s interaction with North Carolinians who continue to recover from Matthew’s damage.
Aug
20
2018
Legal scholars of all political stripes are assessing the relative merits of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Considering arguments from conservatives, libertarians, free-speech advocates, and fair-minded liberals, Jon Guze is inclined to support Kavanaugh’s nomination. Director of legal studies at the John Locke Foundation, Guze explains why assessments of experts from a range of political perspectives convince him that Kavanaugh would make a good addition to the nation’s highest court. Facebook has faced some major political blows in recent months. N.C. State University political scientist Andrew Taylor analyzes Facebook’s recent controversy and assesses its significance. Former UNC System President C.D. Spangler died recently at age 86. North Carolina’s senior U.S. senator, Richard Burr, honored Spangler with a speech in the U.S. Capitol. You’ll hear highlights from Burr’s remarks. One question drives much of the debate about college sports: Are big-time athletic programs compatible with universities’ core missions? UNC-Chapel Hill history professor Jay Smith answers no. He explained why during a recent presentation for the John Locke Foundation. Time magazine recently offered glowing praise to Georgia’s film incentive program. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, says the Time article omitted key facts that would have painted a much different picture.
Aug
13
2018
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez describe themselves as socialists. But neither one fits the classic definition of “socialist.” Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, distinguishes the two politicians from traditional socialists and explains why their policy goals would not lead to institutionalized socialism. Most of consider ourselves to be law-abiding citizens. But we might be breaking laws without our knowledge, thanks to the problem of overcriminalization. James Copland, senior fellow and director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute, explains the problems created when a state has too many crimes on its books. Copland emphasizes the negative impact for small business owners who might face criminal charges when they run afoul of complicated regulations. North Carolina could be leading the nation in educational achievement if it had joined Florida years ago in launching reform efforts. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush delivered that message during a recent visit to Raleigh. You’ll hear Bush’s recommendations for N.C. policymakers interested in pursuing reforms. A congresswoman from North Carolina is leading a new charge against unfunded federal government mandates. The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx’s legislation targeting unfunded mandates. You’ll hear highlights from Foxx’s speech defending the proposal on Capitol Hill. The N.C. School Boards Association and local school boards across the state are heading back to court to get more money from state government. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, explains why the school boards are turning to the judicial branch to help secure more funding.
Aug
6
2018
Charlotte will host a major national political convention for the second time in a decade. Republicans chose the Queen City to host their 2020 convention. That decision came despite Charlotte City Council’s 6-5 split to endorse the deal. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the potential impact of the RNC for Charlotte, the state, and 2020 politics. More and more elected leaders treat politics as a type of performance. That approach has helped transform American politics. Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, is working on a book that explores the transformation. He shared insights from his research during a recent visit to Raleigh. The recent furor over President Trump’s Helsinki summit with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has prompted one N.C. congressman to renew his push for bipartisan legislation tackling election security. During a recent news briefing, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-11th District, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, highlighted details of his proposed PAPER Act. Meadows explained why he believes Congress should act on the measure before the fall election. A Fayetteville man will lead the federal government department charged with handling veterans affairs. The U.S. Senate confirmed Robert Wilkie to serve as secretary of the department that oversees veterans’ services. You’ll hear highlights from Wilkie’s confirmation hearing. New Mexico is taking new steps to reform its system of occupational licensing. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, analyzes the western state’s actions. He discusses possible implications for occupational licensing in North Carolina.
Jul
30
2018
A new Vanderbilt University report questions the academic benefits of Tennessee’s prekindergarten program. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president of research and director of education studies, assesses the new research and discusses its implications for state pre-K programs in North Carolina. As stories about a national opioid epidemic continue to generate headlines, more and more states are considering new taxes on opioid drugs. Patrick Gleason, vice president of state affairs at Americans for Tax Reform, analyzes the growing interest in targeting opioids for taxation. He explains ATR’s concerns about these taxes. It’s hard to tell how well a government program works if no one is measuring its impact. That’s why John Turcotte, director of the N.C. General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division, is touting the idea of establishing new government performance measures. He discussed the topic during a recent briefing for state lawmakers. Much of the recent debate about American trade involves popular myths. Bryan Riley, director of the Free Trade Initiative at the National Taxpayers Union, rebutted some of those myths during a recent panel discussion in Raleigh. Riley touts the benefits of free trade. GenX dumped in the Cape Fear River has generated plenty of headlines. But there’s been much less publicity surrounding the presence of GenX and related chemicals in solar panels that dot the N.C. landscape. Dan Way, associate editor of Carolina Journal, reports that some policymakers are beginning to raise questions about solar panel composition and potential long-term environmental impacts.
Jul
23
2018
Parents homeschool more than 135, 000 students in North Carolina. Nearly 102,000 more students attend private schools in the state. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, analyzes recent growth in both of those numbers. Stoops assesses the significance for education policy in the state. Private-sector innovation has driven massive positive changes in the American energy industry. Recent tax and regulatory reforms should lead to even more growth in the nation’s energy sector. Dan Brouillette, deputy U.S. energy secretary, delivered that message recently during a speech in Raleigh for the Jesse Helms Center. Brouilette explains how American energy production affects the nation’s geopolitical position. A proposed constitutional amendment on North Carolina’s ballot this November would change the way the state fills vacancies for state judges. During a recent floor debate, senators spelled out the pros and cons of changing the current rules. State leaders will need to take more steps to shore up long-term funding for North Carolina’s State Health Plan. State Treasurer Dale Folwell describes recent steps his office has taken to help address the issue. Folwell explains why state policymakers need to take the issue seriously. North Carolina continues to pay out millions of dollars for an “expired” tax credit linked to renewable energy. Dan Way, Carolina Journal associate editor, recently reported the numbers. Way explains why taxpayers are still paying for a credit that’s been eliminated.
Jul
17
2018
State Treasurer Dale Folwell has made headlines in recent weeks. He’s proposed that any new statewide bond package should face a voter referendum. He’s working to help reduce State Health Plan costs. He’s advocating pension reforms related to spiking and government workers convicted of crimes. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes Folwell’s high-profile activity. No one knows all of the crimes created in North Carolina. Not even the woman who literally wrote the state’s book on criminal law. Jessica Smith, professor of public law and government at the UNC School of Government, says hundreds of crimes are scattered across more than 140 chapters of the N.C. General Statutes. Plus local governments and licensing boards have authority to create even more crimes. Smith explained during a recent presentation for the John Locke Foundation why she’s interested in a complete rewrite of the state criminal code. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has called on the Republican-led General Assembly to raise teacher pay. During a recent news conference, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore responded that they’ve already planned average 6.2 percent teacher pay raises for the new budget year that starts in July. Berger and Moore also explained their recent efforts to boost overall education spending. The transition from Barack Obama’s presidential administration to one led by Donald Trump has led to major changes in a number of federal government policies. Scott Bullock, president and general counsel at the Institute for Justice, has been monitoring changes in the federal government’s approach to property rights. Bullock sees some good news from the Trump administration, along with some areas in which Obama’s policy was preferable. The lack of easily accessible medical services serves as no roadblock to the thousands of motorcyclists who head to Graham County every year to tackle the Tail of the Dragon mountain pass. Dan Way, Carolina Journal associate editor, recently offered details about the popular motorcycle route and the connection to local health care challenges.
Jul
1
2018
Politicians who rely on targeted tax incentives to help recruit businesses to North Carolina share a common trait with teenagers who stuff their faces with the first piece of chocolate cake they see. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, explains that analogy as he dissects this state’s incentives policy. Coletti explains why the politicians – and teenagers – would benefit from considering alternatives. Charlotte’s Sugar Creek Charter School has demonstrated clear success. But school founder and former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot says that success followed early struggles. Vinroot explained recently for state lawmakers how an early threat of closing prompted Sugar Creek leaders to improve the school’s performance. A national education expert recently urged N.C. lawmakers to add more local spending flexibility to the state’s school funding formula. Marguerite Roza of Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab explained how North Carolina could benefit from a formula establishing a more direct link between taxpayer money and particular students. The former Dorothea Dix mental hospital campus in downtown Raleigh is moving closer to conversion into the area’s largest park. Kate Pearce, Dix Park planner for Raleigh’s city government, recaps key pieces of the park planning discussion and looks ahead to the next steps in the process. The top statewide race on this year’s N.C. election ballot features Republican state Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jackson. Democrat Anita Earls already has announced plans to challenge Jackson, and other candidates could file for the office starting June 18. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, handicaps the race and explains its significance for the high court’s future.
Apr
30
2018
When legislators return to Raleigh in May, their primary task involves adjusting the $23 billion General Fund budget for 2018-19. As they approach that task, the John Locke Foundation has compiled a new document that should help them place budget decisions in context. It’s dubbed the “North Carolina Budget in Pictures.” Senior Fellow Joseph Coletti explains how those pictures will help policymakers and the public make sense of a complex document. As the 2018 election season heats up, veteran political strategist Marc Rotterman is analyzing key factors that will shape the outcome of critical contests at ballot boxes across the country. The host of UNC-TV’s “Front Row with Marc Rotterman” confronts the prospect of a Democratic wave election, and he addresses the issue of whether 2018 elections will end up serving as a referendum on the first two years of the Trump administration. State agencies are offering some pushback after a legislative study recommended scaling back the number of supervisors throughout state government. The committee overseeing the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division recently debated the issue. You’ll hear highlights. The word “liberal” has undergone massive transformation over the past 200 years. During a recent Hayek Lecture at Duke University, economist Deirdre McCloskey of the University of Illinois at Chicago urged a redefinition of “liberal.” McCloskey would like to see the word used to describe those who value liberty, not those who prefer government action in most public policy debates. The National Council on Teacher Quality has released its latest rankings of the top teacher-preparation programs in North Carolina. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, scours the rankings for clues about ways the University of North Carolina system can produce higher-quality teachers for classrooms across the state.
Apr
23
2018
As N.C. lawmakers look for ways to improve school safety in the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, one area that’s attracting attention is increased access to school mental health services. Lindsay Marchello, Carolina Journal associate editor, reports on a recent meeting that emphasized recommendations for more school nurses and psychologists. Marchello also notes one other interesting piece of education news: the selection of a charter school operator to run the Robeson County school selected for the state’s new Innovative School District. College athletes devote much of their time to practicing and playing games. They also spend a lot of time traveling to competitions. Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, looks into the impact of travel time on athletes’ ability to complete their academic coursework. Issues surrounding economic mobility help keep University of North Carolina system President Margaret Spellings up at night. She explained why during a recent speech in Charlotte. Spellings discusses the role she believes the UNC system needs to play to help address mobility issues. State lawmakers are considering major changes in the way North Carolina selects its judges. One expert in the field believes this state already uses one of the best – if not the best – possible system. Chris Bonneau, associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh, defended partisan judicial elections during a recent Raleigh forum sponsored by the Federalist Society. Bonneau highlights advantages of partisan elections and rebuts criticism against that method of filling the top jobs within the judicial branch. The Wall Street Journal recently praised a Nebraska proposal for reforming that state’s occupational licensing system. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, says that proposal should look familiar to people who have read his work. Sanders explains how Nebraska’s Occupational Board Reform Act fits with proposals he has advocated for years.
Apr
16
2018
When the General Assembly returns to work in May, lawmakers will focus on key education-related issues, including school safety and the funding formula for school districts. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, assesses the legislature’s approach to education heading into the 2018 session in Raleigh. More than a year into Donald Trump’s term in the White House, it’s fitting to talk about a “disruptive presidency.” That’s the label political scientist Andrew Taylor of N.C. State University has applied to the Trump administration. Taylor explains what he means by “disruptive.” He also analyzes the impact of that disruption on American politics in 2018 and beyond. State lawmakers have raised concerns about mental health issues for inmates in county jails across North Carolina. You’ll hear highlights from a recent legislative briefing on the issue. Historical accounts of medieval Europe often depict the role of the Jewish money lender. That role is more myth than fact, according to Julie Mell, associate professor of history at N.C. State University. Mell has written a book exposing the myth and highlighting contrasting facts about medieval European economic history. Mell shares highlights from her research. Military leaders continue to raise concerns about the impact of an Amazon Wind Farm in eastern North Carolina. Carolina Journal recently documented those concerns. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson shares key facts from CJ’s reporting on the topic.
Apr
9
2018
Pro-growth policies have helped boost North Carolina’s economy in recent years. From tax reform to regulatory reform to government spending restraint, policymakers have taken steps to help boost North Carolina’s competitiveness. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, highlights evidence of the state’s recent economic successes. A process called civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement agencies to seize private property from people who have been convicted of no crimes. It’s the type of property-rights abuse the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice fights across the country. During a recent visit to North Carolina, IJ President and General Counsel Scott Bullock discussed his group’s efforts to fight civil asset forfeiture. Bullock also compared North Carolina to other states in the area of civil forfeiture abuse. North Carolina hopes to boost some of the state’s worst-performing public schools through the Innovative School District. That district allows outside operators to step in and change operations in schools with records of poor academic performance. During a recent legislative update on the ISD, some lawmakers raised questions about how its work could translate into improvements statewide. Ten years after the historic gun-rights ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller case, winning attorney Alan Gura says the status of gun rights is less strong than advocates might have hoped. During a recent forum at Campbell University Law School, Gura said many federal judges across the country refuse to follow the Heller precedent. Gura says he’s not sure the precedent will stand in the years to come. Democrats and Republicans often adopt different stances on public policy issues. But a recent High Point University poll suggests widespread bipartisan agreement on major public education issues. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, explains that the poll offers less value than one might expect. It relies on vague questions and offers respondents little detail about trade-offs involved in key policy choices.
Apr
2
2018
The University of North Carolina system recently studied the way its campuses train teachers for the state’s public schools. The resulting report titled “Leading On Literacy” draws poor reviews from Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research. Stoops shares his concerns about UNC teacher training. He also offers suggestions for improvement. Time is running out for North Carolina’s gas tax to play the leading role in funding state transportation projects. Adrian Moore, vice president for policy at the libertarian Reason Foundation, delivered that message recently to state lawmakers. Moore explains why he believes now is a good time for North Carolina to start a pilot project for a potentially controversial replacement: a mileage-based transportation fee. N.C. legislators are studying the prospects for splitting up school systems in the state. While critics have argued that the study signals lawmakers’ interest in breaking up large systems in Wake or Mecklenburg counties, Rep. Bill Brawley says his study committee is actually responding to questions that arise periodically in many counties. Brawley also told colleagues during the committee’s first meeting that he doesn’t expect the group to recommend splitting any specific school systems. N.C. lawmakers want to know how much money school systems would need to update their school buildings. A recent study from MGT Consulting Group focused on building needs in nine primarily low-wealth school systems. You’ll hear highlights from a legislative presentation on that study, along with a response from Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union. Voters in at least one dozen N.C. counties will see local sales-tax measures on their primary election ballots. Julie Tisdale, John Locke Foundation city and county policy analyst, assesses the recent history of local sales-tax referendums. Tisdale also discusses prospects for sales-tax votes this year.
Mar
26
2018
North Carolina government could help improve health care in the state by reforming the existing system of graduate medical education. That’s a recommendation from Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy. Restrepo explains GME’s important role and suggests ideas for helpful changes. When you think of concepts linked to the U.S. Constitution, corruption might not be the first one that comes to mind. But professor Frank Buckley of George Mason University argues in his latest book that the Constitution was designed as an anti-corruption tool. Buckley shares key themes from Republic of Virtue and discusses ways Americans can restore the anti-corruption elements tied to a founding document of our system of government. The recent federal tax reform should unleash the power of entrepreneurs to spur economic growth. That’s the assessment of Raleigh businessman Bob Luddy, a panelist at the recent national Conservative Political Action Conference. Luddy explains why he believes the tax cut could represent the most significant development in the American economy for years. The original political progressives pursued some particularly illiberal goals. That includes their widespread support for eugenics, which led to thousands of forced sterilizations in North Carolina and across the country. Thomas Leonard, research scholar at Princeton University, discusses progressives’ support for eugenics in the recent book Illiberal Reformers. He shared key points from his research during a recent Hayek Lecture at Duke University. Governments can erect harmful barriers to entry into various types of jobs. One tool designed to reduce or eliminate those barriers is the proposed Right to Earn a Living Act. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, has been conducting an in-depth analysis of the legislation. He shares details of his work.
Mar
19
2018
The General Assembly continues to raise questions about negotiations that led Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers to set up a $57.8 million fund that would be controlled by Gov. Roy Cooper. Leading legislators have labeled the money a “slush fund” that seems to violate constitutional rules about the use and oversight of state money. Carolina Journal Associate Editor Dan Way offers an update on the evolving controversy. Most of us wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week, or next year. Some look ahead five or 10 years. N.C. State University economist Michael Walden focuses even further in the future. Walden’s latest book projects North Carolina top challenges and opportunities in 2050. Walden shares key themes from North Carolina Beyond the Connected Age. In the age of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, N.C. state government is taking a closer look at the threats posed by government insiders who compromise private data and information. Maria Thompson, the state’s chief information risk officer, recently offered lawmakers an update of her work. There’s no simple blueprint for advancing public policy goals. But John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood recently offered some ideas during a presentation for the Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. Hood’s advice boiled down to four basic messages: dream big, start small; yearn to learn; engage before you wed; and what’s right is rarely wrong. The rest of the speech explained the deeper meanings of those ideas. State education officials have released plenty of information in recent weeks about student performance in North Carolina’s public schools. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, sifts through the data and highlights key findings. Stoops explains the significance of the numbers for efforts to improve public education in North Carolina.
Mar
12
2018
The N.C. Press Association recently recognized Carolina Journal’s excellence with three awards. Carolina Journal Online won first-place honors in NCPA’s annual competition for Election/Political Reporting and Editorials. CJ also collected a third-place award for News Enterprise Reporting. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson discusses the awards and their significance for Carolina Journal’s work. Thirty years have passed since then-U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett put forward a theory that increased student aid from the federal government drives up the cost of college tuition. President Jenna Robinson of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal recently reviewed what has come to be known as the Bennett hypothesis. Robinson investigated whether Bennett’s idea still holds true three decades later. The University of North Carolina system recently spent $250,000 as part of an effort to rebrand itself. President Margaret Spellings explained in a news conference why the system pursued a rebranding campaign. The next federal farm bill is bound to feature dubious subsidies. One person keeping an eye on that legislation is Daren Bakst, research fellow in agricultural policy for the Heritage Foundation. Bakst explains why the farm bill does much more than give a helping hand to struggling American farmers. He urges reform of the legislation. The candidate field is set for 2018 N.C. legislative elections. Most offices will be contested this year. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, discusses interesting matchups, key legislative retirements, and the potential impact of this year’s electoral contests on control of the General Assembly.
Mar
5
2018
State lawmakers interested in improving access to health care in North Carolina should consider relaxing restrictions on nurse practitioners. That’s a recommendation from Katherine Restrepo, John Locke Foundation director of health care policy. Restrepo explains how so-called scope-of-practice reform could play an important role in boosting rural health care. Private property rights play a critical role in a free society. The U.S. Constitution focuses attention on protecting those rights. Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University, discussed the Constitution’s property rights protections during a recent speech at N.C. State University. Somin shares themes from that presentation. Another mass school shooting, this time in Florida, has revived the discussion of arming school teachers and principals. During a recent N.C. legislative debate, Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, and Sen. Ronald Rabin, R-Harnett, shared opposing views on the issue. State government retirees saw an almost immediate benefit from the federal tax law change. State Treasurer Dale Folwell credits the quick work of his staff. Folwell explains how their actions helped place an extra $5.7 million in retirees’ bank accounts. Some economic commentators believe recent economic growth signals that increased inflation is on the way. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, explains why those commentators are wrong. Cordato says the basic economic law of supply and demand counters the faulty argument linking growth to inflation.
Feb
26
2018
Problems have been festering for years at North Carolina’s state prisons. A fatal 2017 attack on officers at a Pasquotank County prison helped push the issue into the headlines. The latest Carolina Journal cover story focuses on the issue. Associate Editor Kari Travis discusses key findings from her investigation. Two recent federal law enforcement investigations have focused on the major protagonists in the 2016 presidential election. Andrew McCarthy, senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a former federal prosecutor, says the two investigations present a major contrast. While the investigation linked to Donald Trump has been aggressive, the one involving Hillary Clinton amounted to “kid-glove” treatment. McCarthy explains why this contrast presents problems for federal law enforcement and our system of government. State lawmakers continue to debate the best way to select judges in North Carolina. You’ll hear highlights from a recent N.C. Senate proposal that would replace judicial elections with an appointment process involving the state Supreme Court chief justice, the General Assembly, and the governor. As N.C. lawmakers consider potential changes to the state’s public school funding formula, some of them want to ensure that local school systems get as much flexibility as possible. Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke, made that point during a meeting of the legislative task force exploring school funding. You’ll hear Blackwell’s comments and reaction from Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies. Hospital mergers have generated headlines in recent weeks. UNC Health Care and the former Carolinas HealthCare System, now known as Atrium, are pursuing a partnership that has raised red flags for some observers. Atrium is also pursuing a merger with a Georgia hospital system. Katherine Restrepo, John Locke Foundation director of health care policy, discusses pros and cons of hospital mergers. Restrepo focuses on the potential impact for health care consumers in North Carolina.
Feb
19
2018
Gov. Roy Cooper has generated controversy by announcing a special $58 million fund connected with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. The fund is slated to pay for mitigation work connected with the pipeline, along with other economic development and renewable energy projects. Cooper considers the fund a “voluntary contribution” to the state. Critics say Cooper is trying to get around constitutional requirements that would give the General Assembly control over the money. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses the latest developments in the case. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is drawing fire from state lawmakers. Legislators say DHHS appears to be unwilling to establish a new accountability office established in a 2015 state law. No one has been hired to oversee the planned Office of Program Evaluation Reporting and Accountability, or OPERA. Lawmakers shared their frustrations during a recent meeting with top DHHS officials. After years of delays, North Carolina’s newest state mental hospital is nearly complete. State lawmakers heard a recent update on construction of the new Broughton Hospital in Morganton. They also reviewed lessons learned from their previous mental hospital construction project in Goldsboro. You’ll hear details. State Auditor Beth Wood continues to pursue her goal of ensuring that state agencies spend billions of taxpayer dollars appropriately each year. Wood says her work as taxpayer “watchdog” has revealed patterns of repeated violations of standard accounting practices. She explains her efforts to correct those problems. North Carolina has acted as a national leader in protecting people against civil-asset forfeiture abuse. Now legislation in Alabama could help propel that state past the Tar Heel State in delivering effective protection. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, explores the Alabama proposal and explains how North Carolina could improve its own rules against abuse.
Feb
12
2018
Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration ended months of speculation by approving a key water-quality permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. While complaints from environmental activists grabbed headlines, Cooper also raised eyebrows by announcing the creation of a new fund totaling nearly $58 million. Cooper says the money can fund more than just mitigation of the pipeline’s environmental impact. The funds might also pay for economic development and renewable energy projects. Critics contend this money represents a “slush fund.” Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the pipeline’s latest developments. Much has changed in N.C. politics during the past 19 years. The “NC SPIN” program has documented those changes for television viewers across the state. Now, after celebrating the milestone of its 1,000th episode, “NC SPIN” has moved to a new home on UNC public television. Program creator and moderator Tom Campbell shares insights from following the state’s political developments for the past two decades. A 2017 data breach has prompted policy changes at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. During a recent legislative review of those changes, Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, questioned HHS Secretary Mandy Cohen about accountability. Driverless cars are on their way to N.C. highways. The state Department of Transportation is devoting some attention now to issues that must be addressed to accommodate those cars. Kevin Lacy, state traffic engineer, outlined some key questions N.C. DOT is considering as it ponders a future with driverless cars, also known as “autonomous vehicles.” President Trump wants new tariffs on foreign-made washing machines, solar panels, and other items. These tariffs would amount to a tax on American consumers. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, explains why these tariffs represent a bad approach to public policy.
Feb
5
2018
The Triangle made Amazon’s cut for the list of 20 potential sites for the online retailer’s second headquarters. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes the issues surrounding the local bid to land Amazon’s HQ2 and its promises of 50,000 jobs. The federal tax reform package has grabbed recent headlines, but advocates of better tax policy have seen recent gains at the state and local levels as well. Patrick Gleason, director of state affairs at Americans for Tax Reform, says his group has been happy to see recent victories against taxes on soda and plastic bags. Tighter security measures could be on the way soon for North Carolina’s legislative complex. Martin Brock, chief of the General Assembly Police, recently answered questions from lawmakers about the prospects for metal detectors in legislative buildings. Raleigh attorney Thomas Farr has been nominated four times since 2006 for the same seat as a federal District Court judge in North Carolina’s Eastern District. During a recent U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, Democratic members blasted Farr’s nomination. You’ll hear some of their comments, along with a defense from U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. Plans to build large solar farms in rural North Carolina are pitting neighbor against neighbor. Dan Way, Carolina Journal associate editor, has reported on these property rights fights. He shares highlights from his coverage.
Jan
29
2018
Feb. 1 marks the opening date for applications involving two school choice programs in North Carolina. Parents can apply for the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides funding for low-income families to send their children to private schools. Parents also can apply for the new Education Savings Account program. It provides funding to help defray other education costs for students in low-income families. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, explains the role of both programs in promoting parental school choice. Nearly 110,000 state regulations help slow North Carolina’s economic growth. James Broughel, research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, delivered that message recently to state lawmakers. Broughel discusses his research and explains how a focus on regulatory reform helps improve state economic conditions. The N.C. State Board of Education and the state Rules Review Commission have been fighting in court since 2014. The school board believes its rules are exempt from rules review oversight. The RRC disagrees. That board’s chairman, Garth Dunklin, recently updated state lawmakers on the current status of the courtroom fight. A panel of the state’s leading economists agrees the new federal tax law should produce significant benefits for North Carolina’s economy. Mark Vitner of Wells Fargo, N.C. Bankers Association economist Harry Davis of Appalachian State University, N.C. State professor Michael Walden, and UNC-Charlotte professor John Connaughton shared their analysis of the federal tax changes during the Bankers Association’s annual economic forecast forum. Policymakers preparing for the next state budget debate should focus attention on reining in government spending. That’s the recommendation from Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow. Coletti says Gov. Roy Cooper is likely to recommend hundreds of millions of dollars in new government spending. State lawmakers will have to scale back Cooper’s proposals to keep state government operating on a fiscally sustainable path.
Jan
22
2018
Telemedicine can play an important role in the future of North Carolina health care. But that doesn’t mean the state needs a law forcing insurers to pay health care providers the same amount of money for services provided through technology as they would for in-person visits. Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, explains why North Carolina should not follow the lead of other states that have adopted so-called “telemedicine parity” laws. Speaking of government restrictions on health care, North Carolina’s certificate-of-need law continues to stifle innovation and reduce options for patients. Dr. Jay Singleton, a New Bern ophthalmologist, offers a firsthand account of the CON law’s negative impact on his ability to provide the best services for his patients. Driverless cars are heading to North Carolina’s roads. A state legislative committee recently asked experts in the field what the state should do to prepare for these new vehicles. You’ll hear their responses. Charlotte is one of two American communities attracting increased attention from the U.S. Justice Department. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently visited the Queen City to announce the creation of a new federal violent crime task force targeting Charlotte. Sessions explained how that group –  and another focusing on western Pennsylvania –  will work to target violent criminals. The General Assembly recently returned to Raleigh for a day, but lawmakers didn’t end up doing much business. A session that was originally designed to address state constitutional amendments, judicial reform, and other matters ended up producing only a handful of appointments to state boards and commissions. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, recaps the latest legislative action.
Jan
15
2018
North Carolina’s teacher attrition rate dropped last year, and those who left the job were less effective teachers than those who stayed. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, digs into the latest data about teacher attrition and teacher vacancies. Members of the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors are interested in boosting intellectual diversity on campuses. They sought advice recently from Princeton professor Robert George, the founder and leader of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. George highlighted his program’s positive impact on the Princeton campus. He also pointed to potential challenges of mirroring his program in a public university system, or even a single flagship university. It’s possible to define “conservative politics” in multiple ways. John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood offered his definition during a recent speech to the Leadership Institute. Hood explained why his definition follows Margaret Thatcher’s maxim that the facts of life are conservative. Gov. Roy Cooper has decried Republican lawmakers’ “corporate giveaways,” meaning corporate tax rate cuts, while at the same touting targeted tax incentives that amount to real corporate giveaways. Donald Bryson, N.C. state director of Americans For Prosperity, spots the apparent contradiction. Bryson explains why his group is drawing attention to Cooper’s rhetoric on taxation of corporations. Supporters and opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are vying for Gov. Roy Cooper’s attention. The latest Carolina Journal cover story highlights the ways different interest groups are trying to sway Cooper to support their positions on the pipeline. It would extend through several eastern North Carolina counties. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson discusses CJ’s reporting on the topic and Cooper’s relative silence on the topic.
Jan
8
2018
Two years after the final resolution of a long-running court fight between a North Carolina family and state government over ownership of property near Hammocks Beach State Park, there’s a footnote: a new master plan for the park’s expansion. Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson reminds listeners about the newspaper’s role in bringing the story to light. He also discusses former Gov. Pat McCrory’s role in resolving the dispute to ensure the state paid the family for its property. Conservatives can feel marginalized on a college campus. That’s especially true for conservative women. But a group called the Network of Enlightened Women offers support for female college students with conservative views. During a break from a recent NEW event in Raleigh, program associate Vanessa Rivera discussed the group’s goals. The opioid crisis continues to plague North Carolina. Legislators had a chance recently to debate the latest statistics about opioid deaths. They also discussed the next steps designed to help fight the problem. As state lawmakers study possible changes to North Carolina’s formula for funding public schools, they heard advice recently from Michael Griffith. He’s senior school finance analyst for the Education Commission of the States. Griffith explained why many states have abandoned the type of funding system North Carolina uses. Most are now pursuing a funding model that ties money more directly to individual students’ education needs. We hear a lot about economic development. We ought to focus instead on economic growth. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, explains the distinction between the two terms. Cordato also explains why government policies should focus more on growth than development.
Jan
1
2018
As we welcome a new year, Carolina Journal Radio reviews some of the most interesting topics from 2017. Politically active corporate CEOs made news during the past year. In some cases, the political activism could mean bad news for the corporate bottom line. Jon Pritchett, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, argued in a co-authored Wall Street Journal column that corporate shareholders negatively affected by a CEO’s activism should be able to take legal action. He explains why. Some pundits and politicians worry about the American trade deficit. Donald Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University, says those worries are misplaced. Boudreaux addresses common myths surrounding trade and the desirability of surpluses rather than deficits. North Carolina needs a full-scale rewrite of its criminal code. That’s the argument from Jessica Smith, professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government. During a public forum this year in Raleigh, Smith explained how recodification would clarify and simplify the state’s current system for identifying crimes. Thanks in part to a widely lauded Broadway musical, American Founder Alexander Hamilton has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. But many of those singing Hamilton’s praises misread his political philosophy. Richard Salsman, visiting assistant professor of political science at Duke University, explains why Hamilton, a “classical liberal,” set the stage for today’s right-of-center political thinkers rather than the progressives who have championed him in recent years. A report this year from the N.C. Hospital Association and Research Triangle Institute appeared to suggest that the North Carolina economy benefits when people get sick. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, labels this an “outrageous implication.” Cordato questions the economic analysis used in assembling the report.
Dec
25
2017
Experts fear that poorly designed government policies could make a bad situation worse when it comes to North Carolina’s opioid epidemic. Carolina Journal’s latest cover story highlights the experts’ concerns. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson shares details from the CJ report. Free trade has taken a hit in recent public policy debates. Bryan Riley, senior analyst in trade policy at the Heritage Foundation, explains why free trade continues to play an important role in American economic growth. Riley rebuts dubious claims about the negative impact of trade. One of the most popular statistics in debates about public education is per-pupil expenditure, PPE, the amount of money spent for each student in the public schools. Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, says an undue focus on PPE bothers him. He says the statistic can prove misleading in a fast-growing state such as North Carolina with a relatively young teaching work force. North Carolina has a state law designed to boost public access to government records. The state could take steps to boost that law’s effectiveness. That’s the argument from Elliot Engstrom, fellow at the Elon University law school. Engstrom discusses current challenges facing people who use the state public-records law today. North Carolina sets up multiple regulatory obstacles for people trying to get jobs. A recent Institute for Justice report shows that this state places a higher-than-average number of barriers in place for people seeking low-paying jobs. Another report explains how licensing barriers hamper people with criminal records who are trying to re-enter the work force. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, responds to the reports and offers recommendations for reducing unnecessary barriers.
Dec
11
2017
A 600-acre waterfront property in Southport set aside for a state-run “megaport” remains vacant, and the N.C. State Ports Authority has no plans to develop or sell it. The property’s most recent tax appraisal also shows the land is worth half its original purchase price. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, details the latest news surrounding this government project that has gone nowhere since the Ports Authority purchase the property in 2006. News media outlets have enjoyed longstanding exemptions from federal and state campaign finance restrictions. It makes sense to extend those exemptions to nonprofit social and civic groups that also inform the public. That’s the argument from Jon Riches, director of national litigation for the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. Riches says extending the media exemption would help encourage more information about important public policy issues. Riches makes the case for protecting educational nonprofit groups’ donor privacy. North Carolina lawmakers continue to look for a long-term alternative to the state gas tax. They heard suggestions recently from Joung Lee, policy director for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Lee explained that state governments have identified more than 50 potential sources of state transportation funding. N.C. lawmakers recently heard a progress report on the nearly $1 billion in bond funding voters approved for new building construction and renovation projects throughout the University of North Carolina system. Several legislators raised questions about a single data point: the $464 average cost per square foot of new construction. You’ll hear their concerns, along with the response from the UNC system associate vice president overseeing bond-funded projects. North Carolina’s public charter school movement has seen great success in recent years. Success appears to have bred some complacency. That’s the assessment from Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research. Stoops explains why charter school advocates need to be prepared for potential pushback against recent reforms that have opened up charter school enrollment in the state.
Dec
4
2017
North Carolina’s Medicaid program is on track to remain under budget for the fourth straight year. Federal regulators are also giving high marks to the state’s plans for shifting Medicaid to managed care. Carolina Journal Associate Editor Dan Way offers an update on major N.C. Medicaid developments. The Trump administration has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement and dumped the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. That doesn’t mean the world is on its way to overheating. Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the libertarian Cato Institute, explains why neither change will have any noticeable impact on the climate. Michaels says we’re heading toward a period of what he calls “lukewarming.” The Democratic minority lodges multiple complaints about the way Republicans run the N.C. General Assembly. Some of those complaints are valid. House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson of Wake County recently protested that Republican leaders are misusing a legislative tool called a conference report to pass legislation with input from only a handful of lawmakers. Many people believe the idea of “safe spaces” on college campuses conflicts with the notion of protecting free speech. Professor James Otteson of Wake Forest University’s Eudaimonia Center offered a different take during a recent public program. Otteson says he believes universities should serve as safe spaces for free speech. He explained how those two concepts can coexist. Incumbent Republican N.C. Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jackson will face at least one opponent in her 2018 re-election bid. Democrat Anita Earls of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice has announced plans to run for Jackson’s job. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses Jackson and Earls and their potential election battle.
Nov
27
2017
A recent Elon University poll reveals stark partisan divisions on many of the top political issues of the day. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, highlights some of those key divisions. He explains how those divisions affect poll results for President Trump and top state government leaders. The economy is always changing, but some elements of an economy can remain remarkably consistent over decades – even in the face of major technological transformations. Barak Richman, Duke University professor of law and business administration, has studied one clear example of longstanding economic practices: the diamond district on 47th street in Manhattan. Richman explores the district’s operations in the book Stateless Commerce. It’s rare to hear a Democratic legislator describe North Carolina’s traditional public schools as “failing.” But Rep. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland, used that word more than once during a recent legislative debate. He wanted his colleagues to consider convening a special legislative session to deal with education issues. You’ll hear Richardson’s comments, along with a response from Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, the N.C. House’s chief budget writer. The N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation recently welcomed a new executive director. Jonathan Kappler explains the foundation’s two main tasks: promoting business-friendly state policies and educating North Carolinians about the current state of Tar Heel politics. The opioid crisis has filled headlines in recent months. But Dr. Jeffrey Singer, a Phoenix, Ariz., surgeon and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, says many people misdiagnose the crisis. Singer says misguided government policies are playing a large role in the crisis that’s driving up the number of opioid-related deaths.
Nov
20
2017
North Carolina lawmakers could take a step toward protecting private property rights by banning state and local law enforcement agencies from participating in so-called “equitable sharing” programs with the federal government. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, explains how these programs work. Guze also discusses the misuse of the programs and the negative impact on the relationship between law officers and the people they are hired to protect. October 31 marked the 500th anniversary of actions from German monk Martin Luther that led to the Protestant Reformation. The world still feels the effect of Luther’s decision to question basic practices of the Catholic church. Michael Gillespie, professor of political science and philosophy at Duke University, discusses how various strands of Luther’s thought helped influence competing ideas within American political history. N.C. lawmakers learned recently that three people die in this state every day because of opioids. The number might soon increase to four deaths per day. You’ll hear highlights from a legislative discussion of the ongoing opioid epidemic. This state’s elected leaders have been turning attention in recent months to the process of selecting judges to serve in N.C. courts. James Drennan, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Government, offered them a recent presentation comparing North Carolina to the rest of the states. Drennan reminded lawmakers that no state has developed a perfect system that guarantees both accountability for judges and independence from political forces. A new state legislative task force is diving into the details of North Carolina’s K-12 public education funding models. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, explains why the current system is confusing. He explains how reform might help N.C. taxpayers see a greater impact from the billions of dollars they spend each year on public schools.
Nov
13
2017
Recent “Hometown Debates” sponsored by the Institute of Political Leadership in Rocky Mount, Burlington, and Newton highlighted key points of debate involving N.C. public education. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, served as a panelist in each debate. He summarizes his arguments related to the state’s role in local school construction, school choice accountability, and teacher pay. The 17th-century English philosopher John Locke is known for his influence on the American Founders’ political principles. Duke University professor Michael Munger says Locke also could be dubbed the first “modern” economist. Munger points to a little-known 1695 Locke essay, Venditio, that points to some of the same economic concepts that Adam Smith popularized nearly 100 years later. Munger explains how Locke’s ideas help make sense of the problems associated today with laws targeting “price gouging.” As residents of southeastern North Carolina continue to worry about the long-term impacts of a chemical known as Gen X, which has been dumped into the Cape Fear River for decades, a new state legislative committee is studying broader issues linked to N.C. river water quality. You’ll hear what the group’s leaders hope to accomplish. You can’t get much further east in the United States than North Carolina. That’s not stopping online Western Governors University from setting up shop in the Tar Heel State. State officials and university leaders recently unveiled WGU North Carolina during a ceremony at the State Capitol. You’ll hear highlights from the event, including remarks from new Chancellor Catherine Truitt. Regulations are creating obstacles to innovation in the funeral industry. It’s the subject of Carolina Journal’s latest cover story. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson explains how government rules are blocking practitioners from meeting people’s changing needs.
Nov
6
2017
State Attorney General Josh Stein has latched onto national campaigns designed to resist Trump administration policies. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, analyzes Stein’s actions. Guze assesses whether North Carolinians stand to benefit from Stein’s anti-Trump stances. Most of us rely on experts to help guide at least some of our decisions. But expertise can be misused, especially in the political process. Andrew Taylor, professor of political science at N.C. State University, wrote a recent Carolina Journal column outlining cases of an overreliance on expert opinion, rather than input from affected voters and property owners, in important local government decisions. Taylor shares themes from that column. The N.C. Child Fatality Task Force has been focusing attention on the impact of the state’s opioid epidemic for North Carolina’s youngest residents. Task force executive director Kella Hatcher shares information about the group’s findings. The United States faces a host of national security challenges. During a recent speech at Duke University, former Obama administration homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco detailed some of those threats and the Trump administration’s response to them. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will not move forward with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. While some environmental activists decry the EPA’s reversal on the power plan, Jon Sanders believes the decision represents good news. The John Locke Foundation’s director of regulatory studies explains why the plan would have generated far more costs than benefits for North Carolinians.
Oct
30
2017
North Carolina moves up to No. 11 in the Tax Foundation’s latest ranking of states’ business tax climates. Before comprehensive tax reform launched in 2013, the Tar Heel State’s ranking languished in the 40s. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist and resident scholar, discusses the reasons for the improvement. Cordato also outlines some top priorities for federal tax reform. Free speech will get additional attention and protection on N.C. public college campuses. That’s thanks to the Campus Free Speech Act state lawmakers approved this year. Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, explains why this legislation means good news for students and faculty in universities across North Carolina. Better gas mileage in gasoline-fueled cars and the emergence of electric cars present significant challenges to North Carolina’s state transportation budget. N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon delivered that warning recently to state lawmakers. Trogdon says changing conditions threaten the long-term viability of the state gas tax as the chief funding source for transportation projects. Fans of North Carolina’s Campus Free Speech Act can give much of the credit to the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix, Arizona-based free-market think tank that has been pushing for similar legislation in states across the country. During a recent visit to North Carolina, Goldwater President Victor Riches discussed his group’s approach to enacting market-based reform ideas at the state level nationwide. Legislators returned to Raleigh recently to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of an election-related bill. The new law loosens restrictions for third parties and unaffiliated candidates who want access to the state’s election ballot. It also lowers the threshold from 40 percent to 30 percent for winning primary candidates to avoid a runoff. The provision that generated Cooper’s opposition eliminates 2018 primary elections for judicial races. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses the new law and the political debate surrounding it.
Oct
23
2017
The N.C. Department of Transportation believes enough people will want to pay $15 apiece for pedestrian-only access to Ocracoke Island to justify a $6 million passenger ferry program. Carolina Journal’s latest cover story examines the DOT Ferry Division’s plan. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson discusses the proposal and its potential impact. Like it or not, popularity plays a key role in our lives. Mitch Prinstein, professor of psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill, explores that role in the book Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World. Prinstein distinguishes between two different types of popularity. He explains why it’s better for us to person one type than the other. When President Trump ended his predecessor’s immigration program targeting so-called “Dreamers,” those brought to this country illegally as children, he gave Congress time to come up with legislation that would address the same goal. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., responded with a bill called the SUCCEED Act. In a recent news conference, Tillis explained why he believes his proposal would benefit the Dreamers without encouraging more illegal immigration in the future. Raleigh attorney Thomas Farr has been nominated to serve as a judge for the U.S. District Court. Senators from both parties questioned Farr during a recent confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill. You’ll hear questions and answers about Farr’s judicial philosophy and his approach to recent N.C. cases dealing with redistricting and voting rights. North Carolina lawmakers recently reopened the door for companies seeking state film incentives. Jon Sanders, the John Locke Foundation’s director of regulatory studies, explains why that decision means bad news for the state’s taxpayers.
Oct
16
2017
North Carolina public school students saw gains in the past year in both Advanced Placement courses and SAT scores. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, examines the data. Stoops explains whether the latest numbers represent unqualified good news. The Trump administration has talked about achieving energy dominance. Daniel Fine, associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy and senior policy analyst for the New Mexico State Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources, assesses the Trump team’s proposals. Fine explains whether the United States is capable of meeting those goals. Among the ideas the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors wants to pursue is a renewed focus on reducing tuition and fee burdens for students. You’ll hear highlights from a recent BOG debate about the issue. North Carolina has achieved major economic gains in recent years, but those gains often have gone unreported as media outlets have focused on political infighting. Donald Bryson, N.C. state director of Americans for Prosperity, explains why his group is drawing attention to the economic gains through a program dubbed NC Real Solutions. The Carolina Beach Town Council recently earned kudos from the John Locke Foundation’s city and county policy analyst. Julie Tisdale says she was happy to see local leaders debating whether the town places too many restrictions on construction and use of accessory buildings. Tisdale says Carolina Beach already has taken positive steps to loosen rules regarding the height and size of those structures. She’s waiting to see how the town will address rules limiting use of accessory buildings for apartments or rental units.
Oct
9
2017
High Point plans to move forward with a taxpayer-funded downtown baseball stadium, despite concerns from some Guilford County commissioners. Julie Tisdale, John Locke Foundation city and county policy analyst, analyzes the latest developments in the debate over devoting tax dollars to baseball in the Triad city. Division and debate cropped up to a greater degree than normal in a recent meeting of the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors. The fractious meeting had been sparked by concerns over the way board leaders and system President Margaret Spellings handled a controversy surrounding the Chapel Hill campus’s “Silent Sam” Confederate statue. Disgruntled board members put forward a series of resolutions creating new committees to study Spellings’ administrative team, a potential move of that team out of Chapel Hill, and the future of tuition and fees at UNC campuses. You’ll hear highlights from the discussion. Members of the N.C. House have been debating the possibility of redrawing judicial election maps across the state. Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, explains why he promotes the idea. You’ll also hear from Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, who wants to take more time to study the issue. As lawmakers consider the first statewide revision of judicial election districts in 60 years, judges are offering their own comments. District Court Judges Athena Brooks and Robert Stiehl and Superior Court Judge Joe Crosswhite offered public testimony during a recent hearing on judicial redistricting. You’ll hear highlights from their remarks. North Carolina’s state government collected more revenue than expected and spent less money than expected for the third year in a row. That’s great news. But Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow for fiscal policy, explains why lawmakers need to shore up their support for spending restraint to avoid future problems.
Oct
2
2017
The N.C. General Assembly returns to work Oct. 4. In addition to gubernatorial vetoes and unresolved bills from this year’s regular “long session,” legislators could address proposed constitutional amendments and a plan to redraw judicial election maps. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, analyzes legislators’ priorities as they prepare to head back to the capital city. Many people believe science should guide public policy. That idea sounds good, but the science used to make public policy decisions can be shoddy. John Staddon, Duke University professor emeritus, is writing a book about the scientific method. He says much of what passes for science today has little to do with the empirical research that could help policymakers as they make decisions. State lawmakers are debating whether to redraw election maps for judges across North Carolina. The idea has generated plenty of debate. During a recent meeting on the topic, Rep. Marcia Morey, D-Durham, a former judge, questioned the head of the state Administrative Office of the Courts about current plans for judicial redistricting. A Charlotte woman is suing the state over rules that block her from opening a school focusing on makeup artistry. The woman, Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani, is working with the Institute for Justice to challenge those regulations in court. Just after the lawsuit was filed, Bukvic-Bhayani, a potential student, and IJ attorneys discussed the suit during a news conference in Charlotte. You’ll hear highlights. North Carolina’s certificate-of-need restrictions continue to block medical providers from developing new facilities and purchasing major equipment unless they obtain state government’s permission slip. Katherine Restrepo, John Locke Foundation director of health care policy, discusses the latest case in which overly burdensome state CON rules stand in the way of medical innovation.
Sep
25
2017
Carolina Journal has spent more than 25 years exposing government boondoggles. CJ recently revisited two of the most prominent ill-fated projects that left taxpayers on the hook. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson discusses the 10-year anniversary of the failed Randy Parton Theatre in Roanoke Rapids and the 25-year anniversary of the disappointing Global TransPark surrounding the Kinston Airport. America faces numerous foreign policy and national security threats. Van Hipp tracks them as chairman of American Defense International Inc. During a recent visit to Raleigh, Hipp spelled out his key concerns about interlocking threats from North Korea, radical Islam, and other sources. The term “efficiency gap” has cropped up in recent years during national discussions about gerrymandering and electoral redistricting. A recent debate over new N.C. legislative maps included an interesting exchange about the efficiency gap and its role in helping guide legislative mapmakers. You’ll hear highlights. State lawmakers recently voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill to expand the availability of credit insurance. You’ll hear highlights from the N.C. House’s debate on the measure. Supporters said it would enable more people to insure purchases of items such as all-terrain vehicles and jet skis. Critics worried that predatory lenders would take advantage of the new law to harm consumers. The N.C. Department of Public Instruction has released its latest grades for public schools across the state, along with graduation rates and other significant school data. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, analyzes the data and highlights key findings.
Sep
18
2017
Devastation in Texas linked to Hurricane Harvey and the threat of East Coast damage from Hurricane Irma helped lead to higher prices at N.C. gas pumps. State officials also invoked North Carolina’s price-gouging law. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist and resident scholar, explains why the law ignores the laws of economics. He explains the link between price-gouging restrictions and gasoline shortages. While U.S. Supreme Court justices enjoy a brief break in their work, Ilya Shapiro is busy analyzing the court’s work from the past year. Shapiro is senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. During a recent visit to Raleigh to speak to the Triangle Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, Shapiro analyzed the court’s latest term in a one-on-one interview with Carolina Journal Radio. As N.C. legislators deal with court orders to redraw election maps, they’re hearing input from the public about the best way to approach that task. You’ll hear highlights from a public hearing linked to the legislative redistricting effort. State policymakers are concerned about the recent revelation that a chemical called GenX has been dumped into the Cape Fear River since the early 1980s. Gov. Roy Cooper has asked the General Assembly for more money to address the issue. Meanwhile, the legislature’s Environmental Review Commission traveled to Wilmington to take public comment on the GenX issue. You’ll hear highlights from that meeting. Telemedicine offers great promise for addressing American health care needs in the future. But Katherine Restrepo, John Locke Foundation director of health care policy, has raised concerns about legislative proposals to create “telemedicine parity.” Restrepo explains what that concept means and why she believes it could prove counterproductive.
Sep
11
2017
A Charlotte makeup artist wants to open a school to share her expertise. But a state regulatory board says no. To win state permission, Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani would be forced buy thousands of dollars of new equipment and expand her curriculum to include 500 hours of instruction in subjects other than makeup. So she is suing the state. Carolina Journal has covered her story. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson explains why the Institute for Justice is pursuing the lawsuit on free-speech grounds. The political left has turned to the sports world in recent years for ammunition in its ideological battles. The “weaponization” of sports has attracted attention from John Locke Foundation Senior Vice President Jon Pritchett and Duke University visiting professor Ed Tiryakian. They explain how the campaign to turn the athletic arena into a political battleground is hurting entities such as cable sports giant ESPN. The N.C. Supreme Court listened recently to the latest arguments in a political fight between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-led General Assembly. Cooper’s attorney, Jim Phillips, challenged the legislature’s plan to merge state elections and ethics boards into a new eight-member group split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. The legislature’s attorney, Noah Huffstetler, responded that lawmakers have the constitutional power to reshape state agencies. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions touted local and federal efforts to fight gang violence during a recent speech in Winston-Salem. The nation’s top law enforcement officer detailed efforts in Washington, D.C., to support anti-gang work from local law enforcement agencies. A recent tweet from President Trump faulted online shopping giant Amazon for its negative impact on local retail business across the country. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economic and resident scholar, explains why Trump’s comments miss the mark. Cordato says the president ignores the importance of consumer choice in markets and the ultimate purpose of production in a free market.
Sep
4
2017
Politically active corporate CEOs have been making news in recent months. In some cases, the political activism could mean bad news for the corporate bottom line. Jon Pritchett, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, argues in a recent co-authored Wall Street Journal column that corporate shareholders negatively affected by a CEO’s activism should be able to take legal action. He explains why. Critics have been pointing to Kansas in recent years as the poster child for the pitfalls of state-level tax reform. But Patrick Gleason, director of state affairs at Americans for Tax Reform, contends that North Carolina serves as a better model for other states to emulate. Gleason says the Tar Heel State succeeded where the Sunflower State failed because N.C. lawmakers curbed government spending growth at the same time they enacted tax rate cuts. The newest member of North Carolina’s congressional delegation hasn’t shied away from high-profile issues. U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, R-13th District, has focused recent efforts on repealing the Davis-Bacon Act, which forces contractors working on government-funded projects to pay workers a certain level of wages. Budd also supports a measure to set a new national strategy for fighting terrorism and illicit finance. You’ll hear highlights from his remarks. Another North Carolina congressman, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-11th District, heads the conservative House Freedom Caucus. During a recent address at the National Press Club, Meadows discussed the group’s goals and explained how it operates as a counterweight against the formal caucus structure within the U.S. House of Representatives. Public school enrollment declined across North Carolina in 2016-17. District school enrollment has been stagnant for five years. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, analyzes the latest numbers and assesses their implications. Stoops discusses the impact of the growing school choice movement and the future of traditional public schools.
Aug
28
2017
Gov. Roy Cooper recently announced a statewide drive to collect classroom supplies for public schools. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, examines Cooper’s proposal and discusses a curious double standard about private companies profiting from public education. North Carolina state government has been dealing with budget surpluses in recent years. But State Treasurer Dale Folwell is highlighting a long-term budget challenge. Folwell says unfunded liabilities for state retiree pension and health benefits will consume billions of dollars from the budget in the coming years. Folwell wants to see structural changes that will help North Carolina deal with those costs. The UNC system’s Board of Governors recently heard advice from the head of the group that offers accreditation to the system’s campuses. Belle Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, explained what her group expects from an oversight board. Wheelan urged board members to avoid micromanagement. You’ll hear her comments and BOG reaction. A group called NC MedAssist has provided free medication and health care advocacy to low-income and uninsured North Carolinians since 1997. Board chairman Sidney Bernstein explains NC MedAssist’s goals and explains how the group offers an alternative to programs funded entirely by taxpayers. North Carolina has scrapped more than 1,400 state government rules since adopting a process that requires those rules to face a periodic review. That’s about one out of every eight rules subjected to the review process. Jon Sanders, John Locke Foundation director of regulatory studies, analyzes the latest numbers. Sanders also explains how a proposed legislative change could subject even more rules to extensive scrutiny.
Aug
21
2017
Gov. Roy Cooper wants the N.C. Supreme Court to declare part of the new state budget unconstitutional. In a recent court filing, the governor expanded his Cooper v. Berger lawsuit. It now includes a challenge to budget provisions targeting Opportunity Scholarship school vouchers, roughly $1 billion in block grant funding, and the use of $87 million secured from a legal settlement. Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson analyzes Cooper’s argument. The N.C. Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice presented a report this year designed to address long-term changes that would improve the state’s court system. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin established the commission. He says it offers important ideas that should help guide court policies in the years ahead. Cooper recently signed Britny’s Law. It would allow prosecutors to take a history of domestic violence into account when deciding whether to bring charges of first-degree murder in a domestic killing. During a bill-signing ceremony, Cooper explained his support for the measure. Stephen Puryear, father of the murder victim after whom the law was named, gave thanks to lawmakers and others who pushed for the change. The N.C. House voted this year against the idea of North Carolina supporting a Convention of States to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. But representatives later revived the bill and sent it to a committee. One person who has lobbied N.C. lawmakers in favor of the convention is former U.S. Sen. Jim Demint of South Carolina. DeMint is also the former president of the conservative Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation. DeMint explains why he believes the Convention of States offers the best way to help restore limited, constitutional government. As policymakers on Capitol Hill continue to struggle with government-related health care reform, one area outside of government’s focus is thriving. The multibillion-dollar telemedicine industry is thriving. Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, explains why.
Aug
14
2017
Twenty years have passed since the N.C. Supreme Court issued the first of its two rulings in the state’s long-running Leandro lawsuit. The case pits small, low-wealth school systems against the state in a clash over the state constitution’s guarantee that each student will have an opportunity for a “basic, sound education.” The 20th anniversary of the landmark court decision has prompted two recent developments. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, analyzes those developments. You might reflexively answer “no” when asked whether N.C. legislators deserve a pay increase. But Duke University political scientist Nicholas Carnes suggests you might want to rethink that initial reaction. Carnes has studied the impact of higher legislative pay on the quality of legislative work and the type of people who run for office. He shares his findings. The Washington, D.C., headlines suggest that members of Congress spend all their time fighting partisan battles. First-term Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina says the truth is much different. During a recent speech in Asheville, Tillis explained that his service on the highly contentious Judiciary Committee has led to opportunities for bipartisan cooperation. Almost every structure built in North Carolina requires some type of permit. Reviews connected to those permits can lead to lengthy construction delays. A piece of legislation moving through the General Assembly this year aims to improve permitting efficiency. You’ll hear highlights from a legislative committee debate on the process. A committee of the UNC system’s Board of Governors has voted to ban UNC-Chapel Hill’s civil rights center from filing lawsuits. Chapel Hill campus leaders oppose the change. Carolina Journal Associate Kari Travis has been covering the story. She shares the latest developments and discusses whether the full BOG is likely to support the ban.
Aug
7
2017
Two N.C. State University researchers say the university has silenced them because they’ve raised concerns about potential negative impacts from utility-scale solar energy projects in North Carolina. In a Carolina Journal exclusive, Associate Editor Dan Way has documented evidence of the university’s efforts to downplay the researchers’ work. North Carolina has attracted national attention in recent years because of the positive effects of its tax reforms. Joseph Henchman, executive vice president of the Tax Foundation, explains why North Carolina’s reforms offer a good example for other states across the country. Henchman also discusses other reforms state officials could pursue in the future. North Carolinians pay about $10 billion a year in property taxes. Julie Tisdale, the John Locke Foundation’s city and county policy analyst, has examined how local governments use that tax revenue across the state. She recently shared her findings during a presentation for the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society. North Carolina’s unemployment rate has dropped by more than one full percentage point during the past year, dropping most recently to 4.2 percent. But that headline rate masks wide variations among the 100 counties. N.C. State University economist Michael Walden has examined county-by-county rates. He explains why some counties are seeing excellent employment news while others continue to struggle years after the Great Recession. Home schools educated more than 127,000 North Carolina students in the last academic year, while private school enrollment topped 100,000 for the first time. This growth prompted Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, to recommend that North Carolina adopt a new nickname: The School Choice State. Stoops examines the enrollment trends and explains why more parents are seeking alternatives to traditional public district schools.
Jul
31
2017
The daughter of North Carolina-based former Ambassador Jim Cain serves as lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against Twitter. Cameron Cain and a co-plaintiff contend that the social media giant has not taken adequate stops to block ISIS from using Twitter to plan its terrorist attacks. Jon Guze, the John Locke Foundation’s director of legal studies, explores the legal implications of Cain v. Twitter. North Carolina lawmakers continue to debate whether and how to use targeted tax incentives to lure new jobs into the state. A recent N.C. House committee meeting featured debate about proposals to tweak incentives rules in ways that could favor poorer rural counties. You’ll hear highlights from supporters and opponents of targeted tax breaks. A political tug of war between the elected N.C. superintendent of public instruction and the appointed State Board of Education has reached the courtroom. You’ll hear both sides of the argument about who controls state education policy. Superintendent Mark Johnson won the first round in court, but the state board is appealing the ruling. Urban growth often leads to growing concerns about transportation and public transit. As the Triangle copes with these issues, retired Duke professor John Staddon has been studying how other communities have addressed transit concerns. Staddon shares his findings. He offers suggestions about how those other communities could influence decisions in Triangle cities and towns. Prospective owners are pushing competing plans to bring Major League Soccer to Charlotte or Raleigh. The Charlotte plan calls for taxpayers to foot the bill for most of the cost of a new stadium. Meanwhile, the Raleigh plan calls for private financing of a stadium that would sit on leased state government land. Julie Tisdale, the John Locke Foundation’s city and county policy analyst, contrasts the two proposals.
Jul
24
2017
North Carolina lawmakers and law enforcement agencies are focusing increased attention on the problem of human trafficking. The latest Carolina Journal cover package details those efforts. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson explains how state legislation approved this year targets trafficking in new ways. Travis also shares personal stories from trafficking victims. A controversial proposal from Washington, D.C., could force North Carolina families to pay hundreds of dollars more each year in taxes on everyday household items. It’s called the border-adjustment tax. Andy Ellen, president and general counsel of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association, explains why his group has been highlighting the BAT’s potential impact on merchants and their customers. The 2015 death of a Moore County toddler has prompted North Carolina lawmakers to approve Rylan’s Law. It requires a county social services department to observe a parent or guardian at least twice before returning a child after allegations of child abuse or neglect. You’ll hear highlights from legislative debate on the issue. While President Trump’s foreign policy is still a work in progress, a noted expert from the Reagan administration sees the outlines of a credible grand strategy. Henry Nau, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, analyzed key elements of Trump’s policy during a recent conference in Raleigh. Nau explains why Trump’s policy might fit well with an approach called “conservative internationalism.” The General Assembly’s budget staff estimates that North Carolina could face a $1 billion gap between revenue and expenses in future years. Democrats and their ideological allies have pointed to the estimate to support their complaints about recent state tax cuts. Republicans have responded that the estimates are based on faulty projections of future state government spending. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, places the numbers in context.
Jul
17
2017
North Carolina lawmakers have adjourned their regular “long” session, but that doesn’t mean they have finished work for the year. They plan to return to Raleigh in early August and again in September. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, explains why lawmakers have planned to return to work at least a couple more times in 2017. He’ll also preview their legislative agenda. Members of the General Assembly tend to be older than the state’s general population. But a handful of lawmakers younger than 45 have decided to form a new group. It’s called the North Carolina Future Caucus. It will take a bipartisan look at issues of importance to younger adults. You’ll hear from the new group’s leaders, along with the head of the Washington, D.C.-based Millennial Action Project. That group plans to work with the new caucus and with similar groups in other states. North Carolina has maintained one of the nation’s strictest laws limiting access to the statewide election ballot. But legislation under negotiation in the state House and Senate would ease restrictions on both third parties and unaffiliated candidates seeking a spot on the ballot. You’ll hear highlights from committee debate on the issue. Agriculture remains one of North Carolina’s largest businesses. Rep. Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, has served as one of the General Assembly’s top advocates for agricultural issues in recent years. Dixon shares his thoughts about the current state of farming and agribusiness, along with the impact of the state’s regulatory climate. New research offers clues about the primary factors that go into making a public school teacher effective. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, examines the data. He explains how the research fits with recent legislative efforts to change the way North Carolina pays its teachers.
Jul
10
2017
North Carolina lawmakers approved a $23 billion General Fund budget plan, overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto with more than two days to spare before the start of the new budget year. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, shares highlights from the spending plan. Gray also explains how the latest budget fits with Republican legislative leaders’ long-term strategy of limiting government spending growth and lowering tax burdens. Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement agencies to take property from people suspected of illegal activity, even if they never face criminal charges. The process is open to abuse. Darpana Sheth, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, explains why civil asset forfeiture can create problems. Sheth also explains how North Carolina compares to other states in its treatment of civil forfeiture cases. The U.S. House has approved a bill designed to fix problems created by the Dodd-Frank federal financial regulations. U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th District, spoke on Capitol Hill about the potential benefits of the Financial Choice Act. The idea would need support from the U.S. Senate to become law. Some North Carolina lawmakers have shown interest in having this state join 12 others in supporting a Convention of States. That’s an option provided in Article V of the U.S. Constitution for states to initiate constitutional amendments. During a recent visit to Raleigh, former Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma explained his support for the convention. He also addressed concerns from critics who fear a convention could lead to unanticipated negative results. The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down a North Carolina law that banned registered sex offenders from using social media sites such as Facebook. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, discusses the reversal of the state Supreme Court ruling that had upheld North Carolina’s law. Guze outlines U.S. Supreme Court justices’ concerns. He also explains why the high court split on some details of the majority opinion.
Jul
3
2017
It has attracted much less attention than other high-profile elements of the N.C. state budget plan, but one provision could have major long-term positive benefits for taxpayers and for public education. The provision creates a Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, explains how that task force could play an important role. When people lobby government to create a new occupational license for their profession, they usually claim to be looking out for their customers’ best interests. In most cases, they actually hope to limit entry into their profession. That change protects existing businesses from competition. That’s the contention of a book titled Bottleneckers, co-authored by Dick Carpenter, director of strategic research at the Institute for Justice. Carpenter explains how bottleneckers can help limit innovation and increase prices for consumers. North Carolina moved its 2016 presidential primary election forward from May to March. The goal was to increase the Tar Heel State’s impact on the presidential race. Now, legislation could make that change permanent for future elections. You’ll hear highlights from a recent debate about the pros and cons of March primaries. Amid partisan fights on Jones Street, N.C. lawmakers have reached bipartisan agreement on some issues. Among them is an effort to improve relationships between local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. During a recent news conference, legislators from both sides of the political aisle highlighted bills that address that goal. A new report from the N.C. Hospital Association and Research Triangle Institute appears to suggest that the North Carolina economy benefits when people get sick. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, labels this an “outrageous implication.” Cordato questions the economic analysis used in assembling the report.
Jun
26
2017
As N.C. state government continues to consider policies that benefit the solar energy industry, residents of one Beaufort County community are fighting a proposed 600-acre solar facility planned near a local school. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, explains why people in Terra Ceia are raising concerns about the project. North Carolina lawmakers have been debating proposed changes in laws limiting the freedom of craft brewers to distribute their own products. It’s an issue that has attracted attention from Christopher Koopman, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Koopman explains why state restrictions on craft breweries in North Carolina and other states create impediments blocking economic growth. During a recent debate about state tax plans, members of the N.C. House Finance Committee tackled a basic question: Does it make more sense to build North Carolina’s General Fund or to devote particular funding sources to specific government programs? At issue was the use of money raised from deed stamps. But some lawmakers raised the larger issue of when it makes sense to tie specific programs to dedicated revenue streams. It’s rare for a legislative body to take an overwhelming public vote against a bill. But the N.C. Senate recently took that step to block a proposed Megaproject Fund for transportation. Senators explained during their debate that they fear the Megaproject concept would blunt the positive impact of the Strategic Transportation Investments reform. STI was designed to replace politics with data in guiding state transportation spending decisions. The N.C. Court of Appeals recently ruled against the estates of three eugenics victims. The estates had sued to win access to part of the $10 million state eugenics compensation fund. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, analyzes the court ruling’s significance.
Jun
19
2017
After President Trump announced plans to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper joined more than 1,000 public officials across the country in signing an open letter pledging continued support for the agreement. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes Cooper’s action and the response from Republican legislative leaders. Henderson also discusses North Carolina’s ability to take any actions on its own that would affect global warming. North Carolina lawmakers continue to wrestle with the best way to handle taxation of sales made over the internet. One idea under discussion would force online vendors to collect sales tax in North Carolina if they have gross sales of at least $100,000 or at least 200 transactions within the state during the course of the year. You’ll hear highlights from a Senate committee debate on the issue. Members of the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors raised concerns recently about a proposed change in board policy. It would have forced them to report all conversations with state legislators to the board chairman and the chair of the board committee that handles legislative outreach. You’ll hear why BOG members objected to the proposal. You’ll also hear their concerns about lobbying from UNC staffers on issues directly affecting BOG work. Some N.C. lawmakers want to step up state efforts to fight human trafficking. Legislation moving through the General Assembly specifically targets sex trafficking. During a recent news conference, a sex trafficking survivor shared her story. Legislators also explained their proposal to help get more of these survivors off the streets. One of North Carolina’s most vocal advocates for public charter schools is taking a more direct interest in the topic. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, is married to a public school teacher who just won approval to open the new Carolina Charter Academy in Wake County in 2018. Stoops describes the process his wife pursued to start the school. He also explains how CCA will offer an alternative to traditional school options in one of the fastest-growing parts of the state.
Jun
12
2017
North Carolina’s largest health insurer wants to raise rates by 23 percent for policies tied to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, analyzes factors contributing to the rate increase. Restrepo also offers ideas about ways the state and federal government could change policies to help reduce health care costs. The threat of natural disasters often prompts calls for government action. People often pay less attention to market forces that help communities prepare for disasters and other emergencies. But Ben Foster, Ph.D. student in environmental sciences and engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill, has researched the role of market forces in addressing problems linked to a 2012 drought and the Mississippi River. Foster shares key findings from his research and discusses their application to other emergencies. Some N.C. lawmakers hope North Carolina can learn valuable lessons from Texas when it comes to improving teacher training. Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, discusses proposed legislation that would allow this state to follow the Lone Star State’s lead in pursuing alternatives to current teacher training programs. The Raise the Age initiative reached a significant milestone when the N.C. House voted, 104-8, to approve the idea. The legislation would treat nonviolent 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders as juveniles rather than adults. You’ll hear highlights from the House’s debate on the topic. The nation’s largest teachers union recently ranked North Carolina No. 43 in average per-student spending among the 50 states. Dr. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, explains why the National Education Association’s numbers are not necessarily accurate, appropriate, or meaningful.
Jun
5
2017
The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down congressional election maps North Carolina used in 2012 and 2014. The justices agreed, 5-3, with a lower court that ruled two of the election districts were unconstitutional cases of racial gerrymandering. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling for the future of North Carolina elections. American presidents have dealt with disasters since the nation’s earliest days. But changes in society, including expectations of presidential action and the development of a 24/7 news cycle, have changed the White House’s approach to those disasters. Presidential historian Tevi Troy documents disaster management dilemmas in the book, Shall We Wake The President? Troy shares key themes from the book and names the best and worst presidents for disaster management. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has blamed Republican legislative leaders in recent weeks for their tax policies. Cooper’s criticism didn’t sit well with lawmakers such as Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland. During a recent news conference, Szoka compared the record of Republicans who have run the General Assembly since 2011 with that of their Democratic predecessors, including Cooper.  The Raise the Age initiative targeting 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders gained some additional publicity this year thanks to the endorsement of N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin. Martin named as his No. 1 legislative priority the effort to treat nonviolent 16- and 17-year-olds as juveniles, rather than adults. You’ll hear highlights from a news conference featuring Martin and other vocal Raise the Age proponents. High Point is the latest North Carolina city considering spending millions of dollars for a downtown baseball stadium. Julie Tisdale, the John Locke Foundation’s city and county policy analyst, considers herself a fanatic baseball supporter. But Tisdale questions the wisdom of investing tax dollars for a private sports venture.
May
29
2017
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case involving North Carolina’s 2013 election law. That decision leaves intact an Appeals Court ruling striking down the law. It also means North Carolina will not require voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses the significance of the ruling. Some pundits and politicians worry about the American trade deficit. Donald Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University, says those worries are misplaced. Boudreaux addresses common myths surrounding trade and the desirability of surpluses rather than deficits. Some state lawmakers want to make it easier for public charter schools to fund transportation for their students. The state offers no charter transportation funding now, but a proposed grant program would help schools serving students from low-income families to cover up to 65 percent of their transportation costs. You’ll hear from the proposal’s supporters. North Carolina voters could be asked to amend the state constitution to add more protection of crime victims’ rights. It’s part of a national campaign dubbed “Marsy’s Law.” Supporters in the N.C. General Assembly says the amendment would ensure that crime victims play a greater role in the judicial process. The idea cleared the N.C. House in April with a 98-17 vote. A proposed federal border-adjustment tax could boost N.C. property-casualty insurance premiums by $800 million over a decade. That’s the key finding in a new report from the John Locke Foundation and R Street Institute. Report co-author Lawrence Powell of the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research at the University of Alabama explains why North Carolina would be especially susceptible to higher costs associated with a tax that could raise the cost of reinsurance from companies based outside the United States.
May
22
2017
The N.C. Senate has approved its $22.9 billion General Fund budget. It features a tax cut that would total nearly $1 billion over two years. It also limits the state government spending increase to roughly half the level recommended in the governor’s budget, while setting aside more money for reserves and increasing funding for high-priority items. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, analyzes the Senate’s proposals and looks ahead to the development of a state House budget. The political world is still coming to grips with Brexit, Britain’s vote in 2016 to leave the European Union. Matthew Elliott, senior fellow at the Legatum Institute, was CEO of the “Vote Leave” campaign that supported Brexit. During a recent visit to North Carolina, he offered an update on the Brexit process and discussed potential implication for this state and for the national economy. Elliott particularly emphasizes the potential benefits of stronger, formalized trade deals between the United States and United Kingdom. One of the legislative ideas that fell by the wayside during this year’s legislative session was a proposal to lengthen lawmakers’ terms of office from two years to four years. You’ll hear why some state representatives pushed for four-year terms. You’ll also hear a response from those who argued that longer terms would violate basic constitutional principles linked to popular sovereignty. Legislators are pushing forward with a bill that’s designed to protect free speech on North Carolina’s public university campuses. The measure calls on university system leaders to devise a plan to ensure individual campuses do not shut the door on free, open debate. You’ll hear arguments for and against the measure. It’s attracted much less attention than the booming craft brewing industry, but North Carolina’s craft distillery sector also has seen substantial growth in recent years. Proposals in the General Assembly could pave the way for even more growth. Carolina Journal Managing Editor John Trump highlights key themes from his new book on N.C. distilleries. It’s titled Still & Barrel: Craft Spirits in the Old North State.
May
15
2017
North Carolina lawmakers approved a compromise measure that puts off for one year new class-size restrictions in the earliest grades of the state’s public schools. School districts had complained that the new requirements would have forced them to lay off specialty teachers or make other drastic budget changes. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, analyzes the controversy. Many of today’s most heated political debates are tied to competing interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. They date back to the earliest days of the American republic. That’s a key theme of Our Republican Constitution, a book from Georgetown University constitutional law professor Randy Barnett. During a recent visit to Raleigh to deliver N.C. State University’s annual John W. Pope Lecture, Barnett outlined the competing constitutional views. He also explained how those views play out in debates about replacing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite a veto from Gov. Roy Cooper, state lawmakers have pushed forward with legislation that would combine state elections and ethics boards into a new eight-member group with an even split of Republicans and Democrats. During the N.C. House’s vote on overriding Cooper’s veto, Republican Rep. David Lewis and Democratic Rep. Darren Jackson set out opposing views about the wisdom of making the change. Government should do a better job protecting a longstanding right to self-medication. That’s the argument University of Richmond professor Jessica Flanigan made during a recent Hayek Lecture at Duke. Flanigan explained how restrictions tied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can cause more harm than good. That includes costing thousands of lives each year. The Raise the Age campaign picked up a high-profile endorsement recently. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin made a rare appearance at the state Legislative Building to tout the campaign. It would change state law to ensure that most nonviolent 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders would be treated as juveniles, not adults. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, analyzes potential benefits of the campaign.
May
8
2017
One coastal North Carolina county is fed up with solar energy operations. Currituck County commissioners have enacted a moratorium on new solar operations. Carolina Journal recently highlighted the commissioners’ concerns. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson highlights key points from the Carolina Journal report. Some advocates are pushing North Carolina to engage in “mens rea” reform. “Mens rea” is Latin for “guilty mind.” The idea is that some state laws – especially those linked to regulations –  do not specify that a person should have an intent to do harm before they can be charged with a crime. Joe Luppino-Esposito, policy analyst for Right on Crime and the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, explains how North Carolinians would benefit from a clearer application of “mens rea” in the state’s law books. Retailers and consumer advocates are speaking out against the proposed border-adjustment tax under discussion now on Capitol Hill. You’ll hear highlights from a recent news conference on the topic. It featured leaders of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association and Americans for Prosperity, along with the CEO of discount retailer Variety Wholesalers. Those who want North Carolina to reform is electoral redistricting process continue to make their case to state lawmakers. A bipartisan group within the N.C. House filed a bill again this year to change the current process, which allows legislators to draw the maps for their own elections and for congressional races. You’ll hear why both Republicans and Democrats are supporting reform. A national news publication recently recognized North Carolina’s best high schools. The top five were all schools of choice. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, assesses the significance of the U.S. News and World Report ranking for the state’s growing school choice movement.
May
1
2017
The NCAA has agreed to return some of its championship events to North Carolina in the coming years. The college sports organization made that decision after the General Assembly repealed the controversial House Bill 2 “bathroom law” with a compromise that blocks local governments from regulating bathrooms or enacting ordinances dealing with private employment or public accommodations until December 2020. Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson analyzes reaction to the NCAA’s decision. While Gov. Roy Cooper wants to end future state funding for Opportunity Scholarship school vouchers, some of his Democratic Party colleagues in the N.C. General Assembly disagree. A group of African-American Democrats recently scheduled a news conference at the state Legislative Building for the sole purpose of confirming their support for vouchers, public charter schools, and school choice in general. You’ll hear why these Democrats support school choice options along with traditional public schools. Lawmakers have filed a series of seven bills designed to benefit members of the N.C. National Guard. The legislation targets topics ranging from education benefits to the role of post-traumatic stress disorder in criminal sentencing. You’ll hear from the veterans who are sponsoring the bills. North Carolina will submit a plan soon addressing potential changes in the way the stay addresses high school accountability. Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, says the state has opportunities to improve the way it gauges success for the state’s public high schools. Petrilli says an updated accountability system ought to account for student progress and for schools’ success in moving students beyond basic proficiency to an advanced level of knowledge. North Carolina has seen surpluses, rather than deficits, with its recent state budgets. The Republicans who took control of the budget process in 2011 also have placed more restraints on spending growth. Joe Coletti, senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation, points to small institutional changes in the budget process that can have significant effects. Coletti discusses those changes and discusses others that could improve the budget process moving forward.
Apr
24
2017
The N.C. House has approved legislation that would limit the amount of damages neighbors could collect in nuisance lawsuits against hog farms and other agricultural operations. But a key amendment stopped the bill from applying to the hundreds of lawsuits already filed against the world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods. Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson analyzes the debate over new limits on nuisance lawsuits. North Carolina has seen dramatic improvements in recent years in the libertarian Cato Institute’s report ranking Freedom in the 50 States. The report’s co-authors are William Ruger, vice president for policy and research at the Charles Koch Institute, and Jason Sorens, program director at the Political Economy Project at Dartmouth College. Ruger and Sorens recently visited North Carolina to brief lawmakers on the reasons for North Carolina’s climb to its current No. 19 ranking. They also offered ideas for state policy changes that could raise that ranking even higher. North Carolina needs a full-scale rewrite of its criminal code. That’s the argument from Jessica Smith, professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government. During a recent public forum, Smith explained how recodification would clarify and simplify the state’s current system for identifying crimes. Prospective charter schools would get more time to amend their applications and secure state approval, under a policy change North Carolina education officials debated this year. Alex Quigley, head of the state Charter School Advisory Board, explained to the State Board of Education that the existing charter school approval timeline had created unnecessary obstacles for some prospective charters. State education board members signaled support for changes that would help more worthwhile charter school proposals move forward. Four Republicans in the N.C. House have filed a bill called Carolina Cares that would expand the state’s Medicaid program. It’s based on ideas Indiana employed to expand Medicaid when Vice President Mike Pence was Indiana’s governor. Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, assesses the Carolina Cares proposal and offers alternative ideas for improving health care access in North Carolina.
Apr
17
2017
The income tax filing deadline is approaching, and it’s a good time to remind ourselves of major changes North Carolina has made in recent years to the state’s personal income tax. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, recaps recent reforms and discusses additional changes that are under discussion now in the state Legislative Building. Ask a dozen different pundits, and you might get a dozen different answers about whether the American economy is heading toward prosperity or peril. Robert Whaples, professor of economics at Wake Forest University, co-edited a recent book assessing the national economy’s 50-year outlook. Whaples highlights key themes from that book, including obstacles that could limit future economic growth. Voters could have a chance to decide whether North Carolina should lower its constitutional limit on the state income tax rate. The current limit stands at 10 percent. A state Senate bill aims to reduce that limit to 5.5 percent, just above the current state tax rate. You’ll hear arguments for and against the change. It would require a positive vote in a statewide referendum. North Carolina lawmakers are pursuing new rules to restrict the use of the state’s “rainy-day” savings reserve. While the General Assembly has made a conscious effort to rebuild that reserve in recent years, they have had no rules to guide them. New legislation would mandate that a portion of each year’s revenue growth must head to the reserve. The plan also would limit rainy-day spending to a limited number of fiscal and natural emergencies. You’ll hear highlight from a recent debate about the topic. Now that the N.C. General Assembly has repealed controversial House Bill 2, the NCAA and ACC have announced that North Carolina is once again eligible to host the sports organizations’ championship events. It’s not clear that the fights sparked by the “bathroom bill” have ended. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses the latest developments in the skirmish over LGBT rights.
Apr
10
2017
An increased focus on direct primary care could lead to major benefits in the fight against chronic diseases that lead to disabilities. That’s the conclusion of the latest report from Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy. Restrepo explains why DPC holds so much promise for addressing one of the most vexing problems in American health care. As policymakers in Washington consider potential repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, one observer who’s watching their actions closely is Tevi Troy, chief executive officer of the American Health Policy Institute. Troy is also former deputy secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a White House official under former President George W. Bush. Troy discusses the reforms he would like to see as efforts continue to repeal, replace, or reform Obamacare. Some state lawmakers are focusing increased attention on fighting opioid abuse. Republican legislators and Democratic N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein recently stood together to promote the potential benefits of the STOP Act. You’ll hear highlights from their presentation. Competition has helped make the Triangle one of the best places in the nation for college basketball. That same type of competition could help improve public education in the Triangle and across the state. That’s the assessment from Richard Vinroot, the former Charlotte mayor and N.C. charter school pioneer who also had firsthand experience with Triangle basketball competition as a member of the UNC Tar Heels playing for Coach Dean Smith. Vinroot explains why he believes competition plays such a key role in education reform initiatives. Payments tied to North Carolina’s eugenics compensation program have been delayed because of ongoing court cases. Jon Guze, the John Locke Foundation’s director of legal studies, explains the significance of the legal dispute and its impact on eugenics survivors.
Apr
3
2017
North Carolina’s solar energy industry depends on heavy subsidies from taxpayers and electric ratepayers. State legislators recently heard a presentation from Duke Energy spelling out the details of those subsidies. Dan Way, Carolina Journal associate editor, recaps the presentation’s highlights and the reaction from state lawmakers. North Carolina’s premier higher education watchdog recently changed its name. The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal honors North Carolina’s only two-term Republican governor of the 20th century. Martin explains why he was willing to lend his name to the group, while Martin Center President Jenna Robinson explains the group’s priorities for the future. Some N.C. lawmakers want to take an in-depth look at funding formulas for the state’s public schools. You’ll hear highlights from a recent legislative debate about a proposed task force that would investigate alternatives to the current system of sending money to schools. Free speech has secured at least a limited victory on college campuses across the country. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reports improvement in its latest analysis of college speech codes. Robert Shibley, FIRE’s executive director, shares highlights from the new speech code report. Shibley also reminds us about other lingering challenges to free speech at colleges and universities. North Carolina has seen positive results from its recent adoption of a regulatory reform that places state rules under the microscope at least once every 10 years. It’s known officially as “sunsetting” rules with “periodic review.” Jon Sanders, the John Locke Foundation’s director of regulatory studies, explains why that reform has generated benefits for taxpayers and business owners. Sanders also describes a proposed change that could make the reform work even more effectively.
Mar
27
2017
Gov. Roy Cooper promoted his first State of the State speech as an effort to find “common ground” with the legislature. Meanwhile, Senate leader Phil Berger’s response to Cooper blamed the governor for sabotaging efforts to reach common ground on the high-profile issue of House Bill 2. Rick Henderson, Carolina journal editor-in-chief, assesses the significance of Cooper’s first primetime address as the state’s top chief executive. Those who want to shift nonviolent 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders from North Carolina’s adult court system to the juvenile system are making another push toward that goal this year. The “Raise the Age” campaign moves forward as North Carolina has seen notable improvement in its juvenile crime rate in recent years. William Lassiter, the deputy commissioner who oversees juvenile justice in the N.C. Department of Public Safety, offers details about juvenile crime in North Carolina and touts potential benefits of the Raise the Age campaign. North Carolina public schools have seen a decline in their dropout rates over the past year. The N.C. State Board of Education recently reviewed the data. You’ll hear highlights along with the board’s reaction. Thanks in part to a widely lauded Broadway musical, American Founder Alexander Hamilton has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. But many of those singing Hamilton’s praises misread his political philosophy. Richard Salsman, visiting assistant professor of political science at Duke University, explains why Hamilton, a “classical liberal,” set the stage for today’s right-of-center political thinkers rather than the progressives who have championed him in recent years. Gov. Roy Cooper’s State of the State address singled out several public school teachers for special recognition. Among them was a Raleigh high school teacher who spends money from her own paycheck to buy school supplies. Cooper didn’t mention that the teacher earns $65,000 a year, thanks in no small measure to recent pay increases supported by the Republican-led General Assembly. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s director of research and education studies, sheds light on the state of teacher pay in North Carolina. He also highlights the difficulty of compiling accurate data about the amount of money teachers earn for their work across the state.
Mar
20
2017
Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare took a recent step forward with a proposal from U.S. House Republicans. But the GOP plan has generated mixed reviews, with some conservatives labeling the proposal “Obamacare Lite.” Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, analyzes the proposal and offers her own ideas about the best way to approach health care reform. The N.C. Constitution is generating plenty of headlines these days, with near-constant skirmishes pitting a new Democratic governor and the Republican-led General Assembly. John Dinan, professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University, discusses the disputes. Dinan explains how the state constitution and the government’s third branch, the judiciary, will help resolve the political conflicts. North Carolina’s junior U.S. senator has concerns about the process the military uses to replace outdated weapons. During a recent confirmation hearing, Thom Tillis used the example of one Air Force firearm to explain why he believes the U.S. Department of Defense needs to reform its weapon replacement process. A November 2016 attack at Ohio State University, which hospitalized 11 people, has promoted a renewed interest among N.C. lawmakers in college campus safety issues. A legislative oversight group listened recently to a presentation from Brent Herron, the UNC system’s associate vice president of campus safety and emergency operations. You’ll hear highlights from Herron’s remarks, along with lawmakers’ reactions. It’s entirely possible for a North Carolinian to be charged, prosecuted, and convicted of a crime, even if he had no reason to believe his conduct was wrong. That’s a problem. It gets to the erosion of a core legal principle known as “mens rea,” the idea that a crime involves both a wrongful act and a “vicious will” or “culpable mind.” Jon Guze, the John Locke Foundation’s director of legal studies, explains why North Carolina ought to take steps to restore the “mens rea” principle in the state criminal code.
Mar
13
2017
Gov. Roy Cooper’s first state budget proposal includes an emphasis on raising public school teacher pay. Cooper’s plan shows little interest, and some outright opposition, to boosting school choice options. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s director of research and education studies, analyzes Cooper’s proposals and compares them to the Republican-led General Assembly’s recent education priorities. Stoops also highlights recent remarks from some African-American Democratic legislators who stand against Cooper in supporting school choice. Most of us have heard about mandates associated with the federal Affordable Care Act. But a group called the N.C. Coalition for Fiscal Health is working to reduce the number of state-level health insurance mandates. Executive Director Matt Bales explains why his group is targeting these state rules. A North Carolinian could have a major impact on the next federal law dealing with higher education funding. U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, now chairs the U.S. House’s Committee on Education and the Work Force. During a recent public speech, Foxx outlined her priorities as that committee deals with reauthorization of the federal Higher Education Act. President Trump has promised to promote school choice, suggesting that he’ll proceed with a choice plan involving as much as $20 billion from the federal government. Michael Petrilli, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute, offers his analysis of how Trump’s plan might work. Petrilli also explains why school choice supporters approach federal involvement in the issue with caution. A Florida beachfront property-rights battle has attracted attention from George Leef, Forbes columnist and Martin Center director of research. Leef explains why one couple’s court battle exposes a larger problem of government trying to threaten property rights by citing the public’s “customary use” of otherwise privately owned land.
Mar
6
2017
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has proposed spending more than $800 million over the next two years to raise public school teacher pay. Republican legislative leaders have their own ideas about boosting teacher salaries. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s director of research and education studies, analyzes the competing priorities and explains what they could mean for the future of teacher compensation in North Carolina. Craft brewers are trying to raise awareness about state laws that limit their ability to grow their businesses. Ryan Self, director of sales at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte, explains why it makes little sense for the state to mandate that brewers must work with an outside distribution company once they start producing more than 25,000 barrels of beer each year. A movement dubbed Craft Freedom is working to change the law. Now that a Democrat is back in the governor’s mansion, the top Democrat in the N.C. House tried to change House rules to prevent Republican House leaders from creating a new “veto garage.” You’ll learn what that means and why House Republicans rejected his proposal. It’s no secret that countries in the Middle East have not developed the same liberal societies as their counterparts in the West. During a recent forum at Dartmouth College, professor Timur Kuran of Duke University helped answer the question “What Killed Middle East Liberalism?” Kuran explains that historical factors, rather than Islam itself, explain why Middle Eastern societies have not developed the pillars of Western liberalism. Progressives who decry payday lending should learn some lessons from the University of Pennsylvania professor who worked for four months at a check-cashing store. The professor discovered that most customers who used the store relied on its cost, transparency, and service. Jon Sanders, the John Locke Foundation’s director of regulatory studies, recounts the professor’s findings and analyzed the implications for North Carolina.
Feb
27
2017
North Carolina taxpayers have spent millions of dollars – and might spend more – to restore a Hyde County landmark before turning it over to a private partner to run as a for-profit enterprise. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, explains why this arrangement for the Lake Mattamuskeet lodge is raising red flags for government watchdogs. Every American president has been a leader, but some have exhibited much better leadership than others. Attorney Talmage Boston has used public cross-examinations of presidential historians and other experts to identify key traits shared by the most successful leaders among the presidents. He compiled those observations in the book Cross-Examining History, and he highlights details from the book for Carolina Journal Radio. Some state legislators want to ensure that North Carolina is taking the proper steps to protect the state’s electrical grid. They heard a recent briefing on the topic from key Duke Energy staffers. You’ll hear key elements from that briefing. It took a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence to confirm Betsy DeVos as the new U.S. Education secretary. Now that DeVos has the job, Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based education think tank, predicts the likely impact for traditional public schools and school choice across the country. The N.C. Military Affairs Commission recently generated unwanted headlines when it refused to discuss a report about a controversial wind farm project until a reporter had left the group’s meeting. Before he left, the reporter, Carolina Journal Associate Editor Dan Way, had refused the commission’s request not to report on what he saw and heard. Way explains why the Military Affairs Commission’s actions ran afoul of the spirit – and possibly the letter – of North Carolina’s open-meetings law.
Feb
13
2017
President Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to succeed the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Conservatives have offered general praise for Trump’s choice, while some critics have geared up for a confirmation fight. Jon Guze, the John Locke Foundation’s director of legal studies, analyzes Gorsuch’s record and assesses his likely impact on the state’s highest court. North Carolina lawmakers have devoted much of their time and taxpayer dollars in recent years to raising public school teacher pay. Now some lawmakers want to focus attention on pay for school principals. You’ll hear highlights from a recent legislative debate on the topic, along with reaction from Terry Stoops, JLF’s director of research and education studies. Speaking of schools, North Carolina’s newly elected state superintendent of public instruction recently briefed the State Board of Education for the first. You’ll learn Superintendent Mark Johnson’s top priorities as he begins his new job working with the Department of Public Instruction. Some N.C. legislators want to focus attention on the state’s long-term transportation needs. They say the state can’t address those needs with its current funding sources. You’ll hear highlights from a recent meeting of a study committee addressing North Carolina’s transportation challenges in the coming decades. Just before Roy Cooper entered North Carolina’s executive mansion as governor, state lawmakers approved a new law that subjects Cooper’s Cabinet appointments to a confirmation process in the state Senate. As Cooper challenges the process, senators have spelled out details of how it will work. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses the process and explains how it might impact Cooper’s agenda and the new governor’s relationship with the General Assembly.
Feb
6
2017
Now that Barack Obama has left the White House, congressional Republicans can make a serious effort to repeal and replace his namesake health care law. Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, analyzes key elements of the GOP health care reform proposals. Donald Trump’s presidential election win could lead to major shifts in the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. Campbell University Law School professor Greg Wallace assesses Trump’s likely impact on the nation’s highest court, especially with an initial appointment to replace conservative icon Antonin Scalia. North Carolina’s senior U.S. senator, Richard Burr, sees plenty of room for improvement in the U.S. Treasury Department, especially in terms of cleaning up the Internal Revenue Service. Burr made that point clear during the confirmation hearing for President Trump’s treasury secretary. You’ll hear highlights from Burr’s questioning of Steven Mnuchin. Some of the state’s top economic minds gathered recently to deliver their forecast for North Carolina’s economy in 2017. State business leaders heard from Michael Walden of N.C. State University, Harry Davis of Appalachian State University and the N.C. Bankers Association, John Connaughton of UNC-Charlotte, and Mark Vitner of Wells Fargo. You’ll learn details of each economist’s take on the next year’s economic outlook. North Carolina has seen dramatic improvement in recent years in national rankings of state tax policies. Roy Cordato, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research and resident scholar, scrutinizes the rankings and explains why North Carolina has fared so well recently.
Jan
30
2017
The popularity of public charter schools has prompted North Carolina’s largest public school system to lower its enrollment projections. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s director of research and education studies, assesses the significance of these enrollment changes for parents, students, traditional district schools, and taxpayers. The American system of constitutional government depends on citizens who hold a basic understanding of the way the system works. That’s why people like N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justices Sam Ervin IV and Paul Newby stress the importance of civics education. Chief Justice Mark Martin has charged Ervin and Newby with leading a statewide education campaign about North Carolina government, especially the role played by courts and the judicial branch. The two associate justices explain why they’re happy to discuss the topic in speeches across the state. Some state lawmakers will push again this year to “Raise the Age.” That’s the name of the campaign designed to treat most nonviolent 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders as juveniles rather than adults. You’ll hear highlights from a recent N.C. Courts Commission debate about the topic. Familiar faces are leading both the N.C. House and Senate this year. Speaker Tim Moore will oversee the House for a second two-year term, while Senate leader Phil Berger is starting his fourth term as the top officer in his chamber. Moore and Berger outlined their priorities during brief speeches on the opening day of the 2017 N.C. legislative session. Both mentioned commitments to building the economy and maintaining the spending and tax restraint Republican legislators have emphasized in recent years. North Carolina’s two largest cities both have groups working toward the potential acquisition of Major League Soccer franchises. Julie Tisdale, the John Locke Foundation’s city and county policy analyst, warns that taxpayers in Charlotte and Raleigh should pay attention as plans move forward. Sports franchises often seek substantial public subsidies.
Jan
23
2017
North Carolinians will see some familiar faces leading both chambers of the General Assembly over the next two years. Republican Phil Berger starts his fourth two-year term as Senate leader, while Republican Tim Moore begins his second term as N.C. House speaker. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses Berger’s and Moore’s priorities. He also assesses the role of the leaders of the Democratic opposition in both chambers. As a 2013 state law forces North Carolina to sift through thousands of government rules, reviewers have designated roughly 12 percent of those rules to disappear. Another 26 percent will face a more thorough re-examination. Now the chairman of the Rules Review Commission wants to go even further. Garth Dunklin recently recommended that lawmakers scrap a third alternative that has allowed state agencies to keep current rules on the books, without a more thorough review, if they are deemed to be necessary and not controversial. Dunklin and his colleagues believe every rule should undergo a thorough review at least once every 10 years. Some state lawmakers want to take a closer look at the way North Carolina government plans for emergencies. Sen. Ronald Rabin, R-Harnett, recently reminded colleagues that a legislative oversight committee can help the state cope with natural disasters, riots, campus unrest, and large-scale protests. Before Gov. Roy Cooper designated him as the next secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, Jim Trogdon briefed state lawmakers on the state’s long-term transportation needs. Trogdon is a DOT veteran and has worked most recently as national transportation director at the SAS Institute. In that role, he assessed the current state of North Carolina’s transportation system and highlighted ongoing funding challenges. A dispute over a proposed operating room in Leland is shining light on the continuing debate over certificate-of-need restrictions in North Carolina. Katherine Restrepo, John Locke Foundation director of health care policy, explains how the state’s CON law blocks innovation in the health care industry.
Jan
16
2017
The N.C. General Assembly returns for its long legislative session with a new sparring partner in the governor’s mansion. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, examines the potential impact of new Gov. Roy Cooper on the 2017 session. She also highlights lawmakers’ top priorities for the new year. Much of the current energy debate in North Carolina and across the country involves solar power, wind, and natural gas. Much less attention has been paid to the future of nuclear energy. David McNelis, director of the Center for Sustainable Energy, Environment, and Economic Development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says changing technology ensures that nuclear energy could play a key role in the future. North Carolina legislators have focused much time and energy on the state’s long-term transportation needs. During a recent legislative meeting, Alison Premo Black of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association told lawmakers the average North Carolinian spends much less on the state’s transportation infrastructure than on other basic needs. You’ll hear her comments, along with lawmakers’ reactions. North Carolina state government might have “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” That’s the way one lawmaker summarized a recent report on the size and scope of government bureaucracy. The report suggested government has more supervisors and decision-making layers than it needs. You’ll learn details. The head of North Carolina’s Rules Review Commission would like to see a change that would ensure even more of the state’s rules face regular scrutiny. Carolina Journal Associate Editor Dan Way explains why the RRC chairman hopes state lawmakers will amend a rules review process to ensure all rules go under the microscope on a regular basis.
Jan
9
2017
North Carolina lawmakers took steps in December to reorganize several large chunks of state government. They cut back the number of political appointments incoming Gov. Roy Cooper can make, while removing his ability to appoint members to UNC campus boards of trustees and subjecting his Cabinet appointments to legislative review. Lawmakers also consolidated state agencies that deal with elections, ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance. John Locke Foundation Senior Vice President Becki Gray analyzes key elements of the reorganization legislation. A recent state review critiqued the North Carolina Medicaid program’s efforts to detect waste, fraud, and abuse. You’ll hear highlights from the review conducted by the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division, plus reaction from the state Medicaid director and leading legislators. It’s not clear when the military will conduct another edition of Base Realignment and Closure, BRAC, but state government is already taking steps to prepare. Cornell Wilson, outgoing secretary of the N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, recently detailed the state’s BRAC plans for a legislative committee. Charlotte attracted national attention in the fall because of the riots that followed the fatal police shooting of a black man. Now that the city has calmed down, lawmakers are trying to learn what worked and what didn’t work as the city and state governments responded to the unrest. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Deputy Police Chief Jeff Estes briefed a legislative committee on the city’s review of the incident. You’ll hear highlights from his remarks along with legislators’ reactions. The N.C. Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal from outgoing N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory in his longstanding public-records dispute with media outlets and two left-of-center advocacy groups. Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson analyzes the significance of the ruling. Henderson also addresses new Gov. Roy Cooper’s approach to government transparency.
Jan
2
2017
As we welcome a new year, Carolina Journal Radio reviews some of the most interesting topics from 2016. If you’re searching for a common thread that unites most progressive public policy proposals, consider coercion. That’s the conclusion of John Locke Foundation Vice President for Research Roy Cordato. From the minimum wage to environmental restrictions to education programs, progressives tend to want government to force people into making decisions that satisfy the progressives’ policy preferences. Cordato contrasts the coercive approach to one that focuses on freedom and limited government. Students have returned to college campuses across the country, but many of them have not returned to places interested in the free flow of often-controversial ideas. Robert Shibley, the N.C.-based executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, documents disturbing trends for free speech on campuses in North Carolina and nationwide. N.C. State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues hosted an event this year focusing on the future of work. During one panel discussion, JLF Chairman John Hood responded to a question about whether governments should address income inequality by increasing the mandated minimum wage. It’s unlikely that you’ve heard much about the potential threat of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. But James Carafano hopes to raise awareness of the devastation that could result in the United States from an EMP attack. Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, says the complications from an EMP attack could end up killing nine out of 10 Americans. He’s urging policymakers to take steps that would limit the potential for such havoc. North Carolina’s criminal code is much larger than those in neighboring states. That doesn’t necessarily mean the state is doing a better job fighting crime. Many of the state’s crimes target small business owners and entrepreneurs who fail to fill out proper paperwork or jump through bureaucratic hoops. Becki Gray, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for outreach, discusses efforts to fight overcriminalization in North Carolina.
Dec
26
2016
North Carolina lawmakers returned to Raleigh in December to address Gov. Pat McCrory’s $200 million disaster relief plan linked to Hurricane Matthew and western N.C. wildfires. The special session also generated concerns from left-of-center critics about other items the legislatures might address. Becki Gray, the John Locke Foundation’s senior vice president, analyzes the flurry of activity surrounding the state Legislative Building. The 2016 elections are over, but pundits and prognosticators are still sifting through the results. They’re trying to determine what the elections say about the state of politics and the future course of public policy in North Carolina. John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood recognizes that the election was important. He doesn’t label the results transformational. Now that the state no longer faces the obstacle of a $2.5 billion debt to the federal government for unemployment benefits, state leaders are rebuilding their unemployment trust fund. They’re also trying to determine the proper size of that trust fund moving forward. The goal is to avoid future debt during the next economic downturn. You’ll hear highlights from a recent legislative debate on the topic. North Carolinians will play key roles in the 115th Congress. Among them is U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, R-6th District, who will lead the conservative Republican Study Committee. During a recent speech for the American Enterprise Institute, Walker outlined some of his key goals in his new post. In addition to Walker, fellow Republican N.C. congressman Mark Meadows will lead the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses the impact Walker and Meadows are likely to have as conservatives attempt to influence policy on Capitol Hill in 2017.
Dec
19
2016
Nearly a month after Election Day, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s concession confirmed that Democrat Roy Cooper would assume office as North Carolina’s new governor in January. Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson recounts some of the questions about the election process and looks ahead to Cooper’s challenge of working with a General Assembly dominated by Republicans. No one bats an eye when we trade money for food or clothing. The situation changes if we talk about spending money to buy or sell a kidney. Georgetown University professor Jason Brennan argues in the book Markets Without Limits that kidney sales should be no less acceptable to society, especially when a kidney market would lead to more kidneys being available to save lives. North Carolina could benefit from a thorough review of the state’s criminal penalties. That’s the assessment of Marion Warren, director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. During a recent legislative presentation, Warren explained why he believes criminal regulation reform would help “right-size” penalties associated with the state’s crimes. North Carolina lawmakers have taken steps in recent years to rebuild North Carolina’s state government savings account. As they try to determine how much savings is enough, they’re getting help from people like Steve Bailey, senior associate for state fiscal health and economic growth at the Pew Charitable Trusts. During a recent legislative presentation, Bailey explained why North Carolina would benefit from establishing clear rules governing when money should be added to its reserves and when those reserves can be spent. Republicans will maintain supermajorities in the N.C. General Assembly after the latest round of elections. But they might have to run for re-election again after one year. John Locke Foundation Senior Vice President Becki Gray analyzes the potential impact on public policy in 2017, given a court order that will force lawmakers to redraw legislative districts and stand for election in a rare off-year contest.
Dec
12
2016
North Carolina’s maze of alcohol regulations stands in the way of entrepreneurs trying to expand a growing industry in the state. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, outlines the complicated regulatory scheme in a recent report. He also calls for a rollback of regulatory overreach that would help the economy and enhance freedom within the state. Politics tends to influence central bankers, and the results often to lead to bad news for the economy. That’s the argument from Wake Forest University economist John Wood. He cites historical examples of political influence that have led central bankers away from decisions that would have been best for monetary policy in Britain and the United States. Hurricane Matthew had a devastating impact on eastern North Carolina. As lawmakers assess the damage, one of the first areas they targeted was transportation infrastructure. Mike Holder, chief engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation, recently offered lawmakers an update on DOT’s response to the storm. North Carolina’s premier higher education watchdog group is changing its name. The John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy will soon take on the name of a former Davidson University chemistry professor who later served as North Carolina’s only two-term Republican governor in the 20th century. The namesake of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal discusses his willingness to accept the honor. Pope/Martin Center board member John Hood also explains why the organization decided it was a good time to make such a major change. Discussions about direct primary care often involve individual patients. But DPC also can lead to tangible benefits for local governments. Union County government saved nearly $1.3 million in the first year of offering a DPC option for county workers. Katherine Restrepo, John Locke Foundation director of health care policy, explains how Union County has saved money without sacrificing quality health care benefits for workers.
Dec
5
2016
A Wallace couple is heading to federal prison for its role in defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars in phony tax refunds. Carolina Journal has been documenting the tax fraud story of Perfecto Ruano and Walda Luna in a series of articles dating back to February. Editor-in-chief Rick Henderson assesses the resolution of the case, which involved charges of $12 million in refund fraud. People from across the political spectrum want to see improvement in North Carolina’s public schools. Former state Rep. Marcus Brandon approaches that goal now as executive director of the education advocacy group Carolina CAN. Brandon says one key component of the effort to improve N.C. schools involves shifting away from a top-down approach emphasizing state government. Now that North Carolina has paid off a more than $2.5 billion debt to the federal government for unemployment benefits, state leaders are trying to decide how much money to keep in the state’s unemployment reserve fund. That fund holds more than $2 billion now. You’ll hear highlights from a recent legislative debate about the issue. Colleges and universities have touted the value of academic freedom for centuries. But the concept of academic freedom takes on a new dimension during the age of political correctness on campus. The John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy recently released a report on the topic, then invited experts from inside and outside academia to debate its merits in New York City. You’ll hear highlights from the program. Few people understand the details of North Carolina’s multibillion-dollar public education budget. The General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division released a recent report highlighting the lack of transparency in school funding. It also suggested that wealthier school systems are likely to take a higher share of the state’s education funds than their poorer counterparts. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation director of research and education studies, analyzes the report’s key findings and offers his own recommendations for the best way for lawmakers to address future funding.
Nov
28
2016
The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president is likely to lead to major changes in the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, assesses the potential impact of a Trump administration on the future of American health care policy. Free speech on N.C. public university campuses has had no more vocal advocate in recent years than Mike Adams, professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. During a recent speech in Raleigh, Adams explained why his latest free-speech cause involves the orientation sessions first-year students face at campuses across the state. Adams wants to see First Amendment training replace “microaggression” training during those orientation meetings. Before voters headed to the polls on Election Day to select North Carolina’s next governor, Republican incumbent Pat McCrory announced plans for dealing with Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts. Those plans include a special legislative session to deal with recommendations from an appointed hurricane relief committee. Much of that work is expected to take place before the end of the calendar year and the next gubernatorial inauguration. The N.C. General Assembly continues to examine the future of occupational licensing in the state. The legislature’s Program Evaluation Division has recommended several changes to the licensing process. That includes a new commission to look into consolidation and termination of some licensing groups. Some lawmakers recently noted their interest in moving forward with a legislative review of commissions without the new bureaucracy of a licensing commission. You’ll hear highlights from their debate. North Carolina voters booted longtime State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson from office and replaced her with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board member Mark Johnson. That could lead to major changes in the way the state Department of Public Instruction operates. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation director of research and education studies, explores Johnson’s potential impact on state education policy.
Nov
21
2016
Republican Donald Trump shocked many political observers by winning the presidential race, including North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes. Republican incumbent Richard Burr withstood a hard campaign from Democratic challenger Deborah Ross to win a third term as North Carolina’s senior U.S. senator. Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson analyzes the significance of these election results and what they say about the N.C. electorate. You’ll also hear highlights from Burr’s election-night victory speech and Ross’ concession speech. Seven months after arriving in Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina system president Margaret Spellings used her official installation ceremony to make a plea for treating higher education as a new civil right. Spellings explained the importance of higher education in the years ahead. She discussed the UNC system’s role in helping the state’s residents take advantage of that resource. You’ll hear highlights from her remarks. State government can threaten private property rights when it abuses the use of its eminent domain powers. Ruth Sheehan, an attorney with the Francis law firm, has worked on property-rights issues. She discusses recent N.C. cases in which property owners have fought back and won victories against the state. One way to boost economic growth throughout the United States involves reform of the American system of business taxation. Curtis Dubay, research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, recently discussed the need for business tax reform during a visit to Charlotte. He shares themes from that speech and discusses prospects for reform under a Donald Trump presidential administration.
Nov
14
2016
Teachers who left North Carolina public school classrooms in the past year were “on average, less effective” than those who stayed. That’s one of the key findings of a newly redesigned report on teacher attrition prepared by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation director of research and education studies, analyzes the changes and explains why they might prove helpful in assessing links between state public policy and teachers’ willingness to work in the Tar Heel State. Education reformers have made great strides in North Carolina in recent years. They have scrapped the state’s public charter school cap, increased funding for school vouchers targeting low-income and special-needs students, and created a new Achievement School District to boost North Carolina’s lowest-performing elementary schools. More opportunities await reformers. Lisa Snell, director of education for the libertarian Reason Foundation, says one area for potential improvement involves the way tax dollars flow from state government to local systems. New academic research confirms what conservative N.C. policymakers have predicted in recent years: State tax reform is producing sizeable positive benefits for the state’s economy. High Point University economist Stephanie Crofton recently shared highlights from her study of the impact of historic changes to state tax and unemployment laws. Colleges can pursue truth or social justice as their central mission. They can’t pursue both. That’s the assessment of Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at New York University’s business school. During a recent lecture at Duke University, Haidt explained why truth and social justice are incompatible goals for institutions of higher learning. Haidt is calling for a schism that would force universities to choose between the two options. Justice Clarence Thomas has surpassed the major milestone of 25 years serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. But one of the nation’s most important legal minds has not enjoyed the accolades one might have expected for his silver anniversary. Jon Guze, the John Locke Foundation’s director of legal studies, analyzes the apparent slight of Thomas and his stellar legal record.
Nov
7
2016
State government has approved an average 24.3 percent rate increase for the only insurer that will provide Obamacare coverage in all 100 N.C. counties. Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, analyzes the rate hike and its implications for the Affordable Care Act’s long-term viability in North Carolina. The term “crowdfunding” is relatively new, but a similar phenomenon led by the private sector helped spur massive growth in the North Carolina economy more than a century ago. Brent Lane, director of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Competitive Economies, has studied the history. He shares insights about the long-term impact of previous crowdfunding efforts. Conservatives need to be prepared for tough battles, and they can arm themselves with facts and a willingness to listen to arguments on all sides of an issue. JLF Vice President for Outreach Becki Gray delivered that message recently to a group of college-aged women gathered in Raleigh. They were learning leadership lessons from women who have played key roles in North Carolina’s conservative movement. Conservatives are outnumbered on college campuses, and the number of vocal conservative college women is especially small. But the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute offered help to conservative college women during a recent summit in Raleigh. Among those offering advice to those women was author and political activist Kate Obenshain. She urged her audience to fight political correctness on campus, starting with correcting the record in class when liberal professors spout faulty political ideas. Some left-of-center politicians and pundits are advocating a $15 per hour government-mandated minimum wage. Academic studies suggest such a mandate could cost North Carolina more than 330,000 jobs. Jon Sanders, the John Locke Foundation’s director of regulatory studies, says teenagers, the poor, and the least-skilled workers would face the most harmful impacts. He shares the results of his research into the topic.
Oct
31
2016
Education reformers have made great progress in North Carolina in recent years. They still have plenty of work to do to improve traditional public schools and to expand opportunities for parental school choice. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s director of research and education studies, outlines key education recommendations from the latest version of JLF’s Agenda document. Free trade has taken a beating during the 2016 presidential campaign. Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton all took aim at agreements designed to remove trade barriers between the United States and foreign countries. That’s bad news to Scott Linciome, international trade attorney, visiting lecturer at Duke University, and adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute. During the recent celebration of Milton Friedman Legacy of Freedom Day, Lincicome touted the benefits of trade and explained why the presidential candidates are wrong to attack trade. Lincicome shared highlights of his presentation in an interview for Carolina Journal Radio. The N.C. General Assembly might consider tweaking its formula for funding the state’s community colleges. You’ll hear highlights from a recent presentation on the topic from the legislature’s Program Evaluation Division, along with reaction from state community college leaders and lawmakers. North Carolina has adopted laws specifically targeting gang activity, but it’s not clear those laws have done much to fight gang activity. During a recent legislative meeting, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman and Chuck Hastings of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department outlined key challenges related to current anti-gang laws. They also explained why data linked to anti-gang prosecutions fail to tell the full story. Wake County government is asking voters to consider raising the local sales tax by 0.5 percent to help fund a $2.3 billion county transit plan. Key elements of the plan involve a new commuter rail line and adoption of new Bus Rapid Transit. Julie Tisdale, JLF’s city and county policy analyst, explains why taxpayers should be wary of funding an “underutilized, inconvenient, and expensive” local transit plan.
Oct
24
2016
Conservative government reformers have made great strides in North Carolina in recent years, but there’s still room for improvement. The 20th-anniversary edition of the John Locke Foundation’s Agenda book spells out 85 recommendations for free-market, limited-government reforms in taxation, spending, education, health care, property rights, and other critical areas of state government. JLF Vice President for Research Roy Cordato discusses some of the recommendations and explains why they would help North Carolina prosper. This year’s presidential election will have a profound impact on the American courts. Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, reminds us that the next president will nominate a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Since three other sitting justices have reached or surpassed the average retirement age, Bandow says it’s likely that the next president could appoint almost half of the members of the nation’s highest court. Bandow analyzes the potential judicial impact of either a Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump presidency. The state auditor’s office generates plenty of documents each year. Most spell out problems in specific agencies or programs. But Auditor Beth Wood recently shared with lawmakers some key issues that crop up repeatedly in audits across state government. The University of North Carolina system continues to look for ways to provide more “bang for the buck.” One option under consideration is an increased focus on performance-based funding. Matthew Pellish of the Education Advisory Board recently briefed the UNC Board of Governors on performance-based funding options used by university systems across the country. You’ll hear highlights from his remarks, along with questions and reaction from the BOG. Carolina Journal continues to shine light on stories involving government rules that limit people’s use of their private property. Associate Editor Barry Smith offers updates on two of his most recent stories. First, a judge has told the N.C. Department of Transportation that it must move forward in making payment to Forsyth County property owners who successfully challenged North Carolina’s Map Act. Second, the Durham Rescue Mission has been forced to reassess its options now that the city council has determined that part of the mission’s property is subject to the costly rules associated with a local historic district.
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