My apologies but his will read a little like an episode of Wild Kingdom. Please consider what I had to work with.
This is not the definitive list. For goodness sake read the people who follow this stuff for a living if you want that. These are just some of the things that jumped out at me as something to watch as we move forward.
There are slew of bills driven by local battles including, most famously, various pieces of de-annexation legislation that undoes several major annexations around the state. Consider it a not so gentle reminder that not only do we not have home rule in North Carolina, but you best not upset the legislature. The annexation fights won’t just result in changes to local law, but will have an impact statewide with new annexation requirements. The courts shot down parts of last year’s attempt to change the requirements, we’ll soon see how they feel about the new bills.
Another case where we may see some statewide consequences from a local squabble is the attempt to reconfigure the Asheville area’s water and sewer system, lead by Buncombe Rep. Tim Moffitt. The water/sewer system fight has going on for years. The report complied by The Metropolitan Sewerage/Water System Committee includes a fairly detailed the history of the issue. How it plays out could have a significant impact on state policy on water system management and finance and requirements for linking local systems into regional networks.
The Giant Banking Bill
I’m still waiting on an insider’s view on what’s in the 66-page Banking Modernization Act. I mean, it’s an enormous bill that hasn’t gotten much attention. Maybe it’s true that both the consumer groups and the banking industry are happy with it, but I sure would like to know what it does.
As I wrote in a report for Coastal Review Online, there’s an effort to try to shape the science of sea-level rise by requiring all state and local governments and institutions (I assume this also means all you people working in the schools and universities) are not to use accelerated sea level rise for planning and policy surfaces. The move would have written climate change denial into state law. Rob Schofield at NC Policy Watch has a nice piece on it.
Whether it’s modern day religious fundamentalists who claim that dinosaurs and humans once roamed the earth together or conspiracy kooks who remain convinced that fluoridation and vaccines are monstrous Communist plots, head-in-the-sand beliefs and attitudes are hard to eradicate. Still, despite the frequency with which this phenomenon continues to rear its head, it’s always a bit of a shock for caring and thinking people to confront it face to face.
The bill, which may or may not see the light of day, is another example of the increase of detailed instructions to regulators in environmental legislation. Last year the legislature altered the water-quality classification of a trout stream to allow a developer to proceed on a project. That may seem like a small thing, but it’s troubling to see legislators growing more comfortable with changing science to fit their desires.
No, it’s not fun
In the ‘prove your a man’ department, the state is going to take away televisions for people on death row. Disclaimer: I don’t watch a lot of TV.
I can’t see how anyone with common sense thinks that spending time and tax dollars removing these TVs is a good idea. But it sure will look good in a campaign mailing, under ‘Tough on Crime.’
The other day I heard a member of the media describe this as a “fun” issue. I may have to avoid reading any coverage on this.