Time for Home Rule in North Carolina

In the 2011 session that recessed in June, the North Carolina General Assembly considered more than 200 “local” bills, ranging from makeup of local boards, fire district fees, annexations, and many other subjects. Generally, such bills have not been very controversial, because as a matter of legislative courtesy the members would defer to the local delegation and input and advice from local governing boards. Quite frequently, such bills were pro forma permission from the General Assembly because of some constitutional requirement for such permission.

But in the age of growing partisanship in Raleigh, and outside ideological forces often driving the bus, such pro forma courtesies appear to be a thing of the past. Increasingly in this session, the General Assembly has delved into local matters, including repealing annexations and other such actions, in a fit of ideological spite.

Perhaps the most egregious overreach by the General Assembly occurred with the passage of H-471: Buncombe County Commission Districts. Introduced by Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-116), this bill establishes district elections for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, instead of the at-large elections held now. The bill was roundly opposed throughout Buncombe County, including by the County Commissioners and the other members of the legislative delegation (including Democrats Patsy Keever and Susan Fisher). Yet the bill passed both houses comfortably along party lines, and as a “local” bill did not require action by the Governor to become law. As a result, the people of Buncombe County have had foisted upon them a form of local government that they did not desire, and for which they have no choice.

Instead of such meddling in local affairs, it is time now to establish, once and for all, home rule in North Carolina. Local governments should be able to manage their own affairs, establish their own forms of local government, establish tax rates (including supplemental sales taxes), and generally go about their business without the heavy hand of Raleigh in control. We should amend the state Constitution to provide county and municipal governments with broad discretion, within a Constitutional framework, to manage their affairs.


Can I at least get a harrumph?

Governor William J. Le Petomane: [pointing to a member of his cabinet] I didn't get a "harrumph" out of that guy!

Hedley Lamarr: Give the Governor harrumph!

Politician: Harrumph!

Governor William J. Le Petomane: You watch your ass.


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR


When I was on the Chapel Hill Town Council, the most frustrating thing of all (beyond the fact that everybody in Chapel Hill is an expert on everything) was the handcuffs placed on local government by policy makers in Raleigh.

The truth is, Raleigh Republicans are scared shitless of cities and counties having the freedom to manage their own affairs. Why? Because the few progressive enclaves in North Carolina would kick the crap out of the conservative communities in terms of economic growth, education, quality of life, and more.

Great post.



Sometimes the most frustrating thing about posting is to find well over 100 "reads" and not a single response..not even a "harrumph" or a "go to hell" or "kiss my ass" or anything else!!


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR


One pet peeve is the "Regulation of Golf Carts" bills. There is no matter too small to escape the critical and suspicious eye of the General Assembly. Municipalities can't get no respect.

Agree 100%

But it won't happen for at least two reasons:
1) Our legislators think too highly of themselves and the quality of their leadership. They know better than local voters what is good for them.
2) The big lobbies will resist as it is much cheaper to buy a legislature than it is to buy 100 county commissions and hundreds more municipal boards