Loading...
BYH, Donna and kids. I appreciate the gesture, but I really don't like breakfast in bed. It makes me feel like I'm in...

Tis the season for frivolous legislation

Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell is editor of the Insider State Government News Service.

Loading…

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

With the budget nearly done, legislators are now turning their attention to the state's most pressing problems: Are teachers showing too many movies in class? Is it OK to drink alcohol on a golf course? And should the state designate an official fly fishing museum?

Yes, these are all real issues that have surfaced in legislation in recent weeks. You'd think state leaders would have bigger fish to fry, but many of them think their random whims should be addressed in the few weeks left before adjournment.

That's resulting in a breakneck schedule of committee debates that become full of distractions. Last week, I sat through a meeting in which lawmakers spent hours debating the appropriate penalty for prison inmates who expose themselves. Your elected leaders spent so much of their energy making sex jokes, they almost ran out of time for a complex bill designed to tackle the opioid crisis.

The opioid bill will probably pass, but it's competing for attention with odd or unnecessary proposals that become shiny objects for legislators, reporters and the public. Some teachers are upset with a bill from Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, that would force every school board to compile a list of “each movie shown during instructional time at each school.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Clampitt, R-Swain, wants to insert a shout-out in state law to a fly fishing museum in his district. The museum would get an official listing alongside North Carolina's official state trout (the Southern Appalachian strain of brook trout) and the official state marsupial (the Virginia opossum, because that totally makes sense).

Over in the Senate, alcohol policy guru Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, is making sure golfers have the cocktails necessary for the perfect stroke. His annual alcohol deregulation would -- among other things -- make it clear that alcoholic beverages purchased at the clubhouse bar can be legally enjoyed anywhere on the course.

While hardly necessary for the state, those bills at least have a chance at passage. Democrats are spending their time this session filling up GOP leaders' trash can with legislation that has zero chance of becoming law this year.

The minority party knows full well that gun control measures, legalized marijuana and an increase in the minimum wage won't get a hearing. But they also know the bills will garner some media coverage and help energize their base for this fall's election.

Between the oddball idea Republicans and the Don Quixote Democrats, the legislature could adjourn tomorrow and most of us wouldn't notice. Thankfully, a few lawmakers in both parties are working quietly on impactful legislation that most folks can agree on.

Sen. Warren Daniel, R-Burke, proposed an amendment to a license plate-related bill last week that would automatically renew handicapped parking placards for people over age 80. He said the change was requested by an 86-year-old constituent who told him the renewal process was an unnecessary hassle. "I thought if you've had a handicapped placard and you're 86 years old, your body is not getting stronger and you should just get automatically renewed," Daniel said.

You can even find some bipartisanship in the Legislative Building if you look hard enough. One of the House's most liberal members, Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, teamed up with powerful conservative Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, on legislation addressing the power of social media and internet campaign ads. Their bill would create new disclosure requirements so we'll know who's paying for the ads on our screens.

Legislators should look to those proposals as models if they want make a real difference this session. Anything else can wait until next year.

Colin Campbell is editor of the Insider State Government News Service. Follow him at NCInsider.com or @RaleighReporter. Write to him at ccampbell@ncinsider.com.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

October 15, 2018

The Toronto Star

Earth is rapidly headed for a place of no return, where climate change will leave the planet a more hostile place for people, plants and animals.

The impacts and costs are greater and coming faster than expected, according to a comprehensive new assessment by the Intergovernmental…

October 15, 2018

North Carolina’s 2018 election cycle may be considered a “blue moon” — but Democrats aren’t just standing around without a dream in their hearts. They dream of a sweeping victory this year, and are working hard to try to accomplish it.

Every 12 years, North Carolinians…

john hood.jpg

October 14, 2018

Donald Trump may be remembered as the most honest president in modern American history.

Don't get me wrong, Trump lies all the time. He said that he "enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history" (actually they are the eighth largest) and that "our economy is the strongest it's ever…

MarcThiessen

October 14, 2018

People far more conversant in the Ye-niverse of Kanye West than me have tried to explain the rapper's affection for President Donald Trump, a man who was elected to the highest office in the land with just eight percent of the African American vote. Some have suggested that the odd couple share a…

Tim Carman

October 13, 2018

Winston-Salem Journal 

Last week ended on a high note as we received the news that the Rev. William Barber, a son of North Carolina, was one of the 25 recipients of this year’s prestigious MacArthur fellowship grants, an annual award given to artists, scientists and others who, as the…

October 13, 2018

State lawmakers grouped six constitutional amendments on the November ballot in a way that limits efforts to distinguish each amendment from the others.

A recent complaint from former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory highlights one potential problem that results for amendment supporters.

Each amendment…

Mitch Kokai

October 13, 2018

About this time each year we looked forward to receiving the Sears Wish Book. This wonderful catalogue was about three inches thick, packed with thousands of items. It was the official kickoff to Christmas, and long before Thanksgiving its pages were dogeared, ripped and marked with all the toys…

Tom Campbell.jpg

October 12, 2018

The Fayetteville Observer

It’s hard to imagine how the political noise could get louder, how left and right could be more at odds. But we might have said that two years ago too, and now we know the answer: Yes, it could get worse.

But we also detect a rising voice out there in our communities,…

October 12, 2018

Here is how to interpret the alarming new United Nations-sponsored report on global warming: We are living in a horror movie. The world needs statesmen to lead the way to safety. Instead we have President Trump, who essentially says, "Hey, let's all head to the dark, creepy basement where the chain…

Eugene Robinson

October 11, 2018

President Trump apologized to Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his family for the "terrible pain and suffering" they endured during his confirmation process, declaring that "what happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process." Democrats seem to be taking the…

MarcThiessen
289 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 29
        Next Page»   Last Page»