by Doug Clark, Greensboro News-Record, July 28, 2014.
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper is premature in giving up defense of the state’s marriage laws.
“It is time to stop making arguments we will lose and instead move forward, knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Cooper said today.
If “ultimate resolution” likely will come from the U.S. Supreme Court — and it will — then declaring the game over today, following the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling striking down Virginia’s marriage laws, is self-contradictory.
The game will be over when the Supreme Court says it’s over.
The Fourth Circuit panel, in a 2-1 result, went well beyond any guidance from the Supreme Court.
That court’s Windsor decision, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, has “contributed heavily to recent lower court opinions against the state bans, even though that ruling did not deal dir [...]
by Burlington Times-News, July 28, 2014.
Whether or not the government should execute people for particularly heinous crimes has always posed murky moral, ethical and legal questions. But whether people agree or disagree on the subject, it seems that there is an overriding responsibility in our society for executions — as much as possible — to be conducted in a humane manner.
That’s why it’s increasingly troublesome that executions today are handled so poorly. It seems unfathomable that technology and medical know-how could take such a quantum leap backward in this area.
The most recent example occurred in Arizona last week when for the third time this year, executioners administering a lethal injection to a condemned man botched it. It took nearly two hours to kill convicted murderer Joseph Wood using the same two-drug protocol involved in Ohio’s slow, torturous execution of Dennis McGuire in January. The other mis-execution occurred in Oklahoma, where Clayton Lockett writhe [...]
Little Details is an online boutique specializing in personalized gifts and boutique apparel. Launched in October 2012, Little Details began with handmade monogrammed items, and has expanded to include the latest trends in clothing, jewelry and home decor, all at customer friendly prices!
Yep, every time a new search algorithm update is introduced, heated debates between the doomsayers and the SEO evangelists follow. Controversy draws attention, contention creates buzz, and [...]
Earlier this week, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) announced that they will no longer award premium credit to employers with fewer than 100 eligible employees based upon participation in their Healthy Outcomes Group Wellness Program. We anticipate this to be a trend among all carriers for similar sized groups. While this news may come as a surprise to many, when you think about the change to community rating that is scheduled to launch in 2016, it begins to make more sense . In this upcoming change, all fully insured groups with under 100 employees will no longer be impacted by claims experience or health factors. This begs the question as to whether employers in this size market segment will continue to see value in spending time and resources on worksite wellness and medical management initiatives. Certainly employers who move to a self-funded model could continue to see an impact in their claims. However, for those employers who continue on the fully insu [...]
Editorial by Rocky Mount Telegram, July 26, 2014.
The N.C. Senate last week inexplicably approved a Medicaid reform plan that is all but dead on arrival in the N.C. House and opposed by Gov. Pat McCrory.
The Senate took this action as negotiations between the two chambers remain at a standstill over a budget plan for the fiscal year that began July 1.
The Senate bill aims to partially privatize Medicaid, the state and federally funded program that provides health care coverage for 1.8 million low-
income children, pregnant women, low-income elderly and disabled people.
The Senate plan would allow private, for-profit companies – Managed Care Organizations – to compete with doctor- and hospital-led health plans for state contracts to serve Medicaid patients. The bill also would remove the state Medicaid office from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and create a new state agency to manage the $13 billion program.
The Senate’s notion to contract out the Medicaid sy [...]
When we talk to clients about their employees who currently do not have insurance, the discussion always turns to the individual mandate. The mandate was implemented to “force” every American to purchase insurance, thereby reducing healthcare costs for everyone. However, as it turns out, individuals may be able to claim exemptions from the mandate. According to a recent investors.com article, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) disclosed that the exemption list is so broad that 87% of people may be eligible to claim exemptions. Only 4 million people out of the 30 million who will be uninsured in 2016 will end up paying a tax penalty, opposed to the 6 million CBO previously estimated. This drop in payment rate is largely caused by the ad hoc changes made by the administration and rules written since 2012. As a result, the penalty will raise $27 billion less than expected over the next decade. On the other hand, as the 2014 tax penalty appeared to be insufficient to motivate in [...]
The Raleigh City Council voted unanimously today to award a construction contract to Diamond Contracting Inc. for improvements to Millbrook Exchange Community Center and Durant Nature Park’s... [...]
The Raleigh City Council today approved a resolution calling for a referendum on a $91.775 million bond issue for parks and recreational facilities. The bond proposal will appear on the Nov.... [...]
This is a guest blog post from Persis Swift who serves as the Marketing Communications Specialist for our HR partner, CAI. CAI is a trusted resource for N.C. employers for HR, compliance and people development. Businesses that want to see success as the economy continues to improve should keep a close eye on their top talent. If your star employees don’t feel like they’re getting the most out of their jobs or feel that they’re under appreciated, you can assume that they’re looking for enticing opportunities elsewhere. High retention rates indicate that an organization is doing well in employee engagement, but a strong retention rate also means success in other business areas, such as sales and customer satisfaction. Implementing the 10 tips below will encourage your high-performing talent to stick around and help create success for your company: 1. Conduct Stay Interviews Instead of using exit interviews to find out why employees leave your organization, ask the employees that [...]
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are taking over the world. Well, maybe not quite so literally. However, there are more of us than you might think: about 80 million. In fact, Forbes recently estimated that by 2025, just 11 short years from now, millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. Forget everything you’ve ever heard about millennials being lazy and privileged. I can assure you, that assumption could not be further from the truth. PayScale published a great article, Why Millennials Make Great Interns and Future Employees, that outlines the many reasons why you should hire one of us. For example, we’re extremely tech savvy, practice open-mindedness, and have a deep competitive streak. The list goes on. As a millennial myself, and HCW’s Communication intern, I can attest to the fact that my generation is the new black. We work hard to impress our superiors and bring fresh, clever ideas to the table. Being different from the generation before u [...]
For the fourth time in eight years, Forbes Magazine has crowned Raleigh the best place for business and careers. The previous times the Capital City claimed the top spot in the listing were 2011,... [...]
by Gary Pearce, Talking About Politics, July 24, 2014.
President Obama has taken to slipping the surly bonds of office, going out to Starbucks for a coffee, asking friends to set up late dinners with interesting, intellectually stimulating people (as opposed to the people he deals with in Washington, presumably). When he escapes, he jokes that “The bear is loose.”
Surely, Presidents deserve a break. But Obama somehow sends out a vibe that he can’t wait to leave the Presidency for good, that he is at wits’ end having to deal with the John Boehners and Mitch McConnells. (Remember his classic response to the suggestion that he sit down for a drink with McConnell: “Really? Why don’t you have a drink with Mitch McConnell?”)
We feel his pain, but …
Which brings us to the President who is the yin to Obama’s yang, his sometime ally and one-time antagonist and the looming figure who threatens to overshadow his Presidency – Bill Clinton.
You never thought Clinton [...]
by Brian Balfour, Civitas Institute, July 21, 2014.
According to the most recent report available, North Carolina’s main pension fund for retired state employees is strapped with a $3.7 billion unfunded liability. This growing liability means taxpayers must pony up an increasing amount of funds to cover the costs of promised benefits to retirees. In FY 2013, taxpayers were paying $1.1 billion to cover state retiree pension benefits.
And this week’s Bad Bill of the Week would make that problem even worse.
House Bill 1192, Return to Five Year Vesting, is sponsored by Reps. Jeff Collins (R-Nash) and Stephen Ross (R-Alamance) and also has the support of State Treasurer Janet Cowell. The bill would shorten the number of years required for state employees to become eligible for pension benefits, thus increasing the liability of taxpayers to support these retirees.
North Carolina’s state pension plan is a “defined-benefit” plan – meaning that retirees are promised a set [...]
On Sunday, July 27, the City of Raleigh will close the 3000 to 3600 blocks of Hillsborough Street between Gorman Street/Faircloth Street and Dixie Trail to renew water service at 3611 Hillsborough... [...]
The year was 1985. Ronald Reagan was the president, “Back to the Future” was America’s favorite flick, Pete Rose became Major League Baseball’s all-time hit leader, Avery C. Upchurch was the... [...]
On Thursday, July 24, 2014, the IRS published highly anticipated drafts of the forms large employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees will be required to use for the Code 6056 reporting requirement. Code 6056 requires applicable large employers to file a transmittal with the IRS (Form 1094-C) and provide a new return to employees (Form 1095-C) in January 2016 for the 2015 calendar year. This reporting requirement has a triple purpose, as it is designed to allow the IRS to enforce the employer mandate, enforce the individual mandate, and confirm eligibility for premium tax credits for coverage purchased through an Exchange.
This reporting and disclosure requirement is new for employers and may catch some employers off-guard. For example, the reporting requires collection and disclosure of information including, but not limited to, the following:
Social Security numbers of employees, spouses and dependents;
Names and EINs of other employers within the employer’ [...]
Topics: Legislative Adjournment, North Carolina Voters, Tell us something we don’t know!
Brad Crone, Political Consultant
Chris Fitzsimon, Director of NC Policy Watch
Becki Gray, Columnist, Carolina Journal
John Hood, President, The John Locke Foundation
Tom Campbell, Moderator [...]
This NC SPIN Perspectives interview is with Dr. Conrad Flick, Family Physician from the Family Medical Associates of Raleigh. In this video Flick speaks to the need for Medicaid reform. [...]
The Raleigh City Council today approved renewal of an agreement with the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) for the administration and management of the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative;... [...]
Museum of Natural Sciences’ Daily Planet Café Hosts Free Viewing Party [...]