It looks like our State Legislators are back on the job after the holiday. It’s a little unclear what the agenda is, but the consensus seems to be Republican shenanigans. It looks like the Legislature wants to pass through several controversial bills and overrides in this rare mini-session, hoping to catch opponents off guard.
Up for the docket in this session? Well, there’s the repeal of the Racial Justice Act which I’ve mentioned before. This would repeal a law which allows death row inmates to appeal their case based on possible racial bias. Then there’s the Energy Jobs Act, which was vetoed earlier and would allow offshore drilling and an investigation into fracking; both of which would devastate North Carolina’s delicate environment. Oh, and then there’s the voter ID bill, a vetoed bill which would require voters to have a photo ID on hand before they can participate in their basic civil right of voting. This is a bill which smells an awful lot like anti-immigrant xenophobia and would only serve to make it more difficult for low income voters to vote.
Finally there’s the gas tax cap. Lawmakers are hoping to cap the gas tax which is set to go up by four cents next year. At first this sounds like a pretty good idea. It would probably save motorists on average $30 a year. Unfortunately, it would do that by costing the NCDOT $200 million. Money which could be spent maintaining our crumbling roads and keeping road workers employed. This seems a little ridiculous when we’re already slashing our education budget by millions in an effort to save money.
Let’s hope our lawmakers continue to see reason and stop these ridiculous proposals in their tracks.