The NC GOP's sustained attack on local control

Municipal governments may soon be just a fond memory:

These bills significantly favor the interests of homebuilders and Realtors, but at what would be the great expense of communities across North Carolina, and here in Moore County. One of those bills we’ve already discussed here: State Sen. Tom McInnis’ bill preventing municipalities from regulating tree removal. McInnis says he’s no longer pushing his bill, but it remains ominously in the mix.

Other pending legislation is even more grievous. One bill would prohibit municipalities from regulating the minimum square footage of homes, something that has long been the purview of local government. Another bill would roll back reasons a municipal code enforcement officer may consider a building unsafe. And still another would extend the tax exemption to homebuilders from three to five years for unsold houses, and restrict a town’s ability to make a builder clean up a dilapidated site that violates an ordinance.

I've been dealing with the issue of property rights (heavily) for the last 15 months or so, and I can safely say it's a tremendous balancing act. But one thing is certain; when citizen groups get involved in the process (as opposed to one or two ranters) on a local level, they can influence said process. Nobody gets everything they want, but that is itself a sign that property rights are being respected. But apparently some Legislators simply do not understand that:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke would cap the #2 worst contaminating site in the nation


Their judgment simply cannot be trusted:

A new environmental report points to a threat to ground water in 39 states, including a local facility as the second worst in the nation. The report confirms the worries people living near Duke Energy's Allen Steam Station have been concerned about for years.

The report claims coal ash dumps in Belmont are leaking cobalt into groundwater, more than 500 times above safe levels, along with other pollutants. Exposure to cobalt can cause thyroid damage.

It can also lead to cardiomyopathy and blood thickening, which are even worse than they sound. Throw Arsenic into that cocktail, and you've got a drink that's definitely not recommended by doctors. But the real moral to this story: This is one of the sites that Duke Energy has decided could be capped in place safely, and is now suing DEQ to block its ruling to excavate it. From the report itself:

Wednesday News: Strike one...

DON DAVIS JOINS REPUBLICAN SENATORS IN VETO OVERRIDE: “We don’t need to create this law because it feeds a false narrative, of these incidents occurring,” Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat, said Tuesday in a speech in the Senate debate. In his original veto message, Cooper wrote that babies are already protected by existing laws and called the bill “an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients.” The bill originally passed the Senate 28-19, with several Republicans absent that day. All but two Democrats voted no originally — Sen. Ben Clark of Hoke County and Sen. Don Davis of Pitt County. But on Tuesday, all the Republicans were present for the vote. And even though Clark switched on Tuesday to side with Cooper, Davis provided the final vote that Republicans needed to override the veto.

Tuesday News: Protecting the gun?


REPUBLICANS BLOCK AMENDMENT GIVING JUDGES MORE DISCRETION TO REMOVE GUNS IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES: Morey, a former judge, wanted to add a fifth factor that would allow a judge to consider all evidence presented in court in determining whether the continued access to firearms would pose a threat in a domestic violence case. "We're trying to protect families. We're trying to protect victims," she said, adding that the surrender of firearms is temporary and that defendants can petition to reclaim their firearms. But Rep. Sarah Stevens, R-Surry, said Morey's proposal was too broad and would allow judges to "take someone's guns away" for practically any reason. Rep. Allen McNeill, R-Randolph, agreed the amendment would give judges "carte blanche to seize" firearms. Rep. Robert Reives, D-Chatham, noted that judges have discretion to remove children from a home if a domestic violence situation poses a threat, and it would be ridiculous not to give them the same discretion when it comes to removing firearms.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Rape culture just got a kick in the pants:

Hopefully that unanimous vote will keep the NC Senate from messing around with it...

Mental Health Protection Act: It's (long past) time to ban Conversion Therapy


These children don't need to be "fixed," they need to be loved for who they are:

The bill (HB 516/SB 426) would protect young people in North Carolina from the discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” which purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Techniques can be extreme and barbaric, including institutionalizing young people against their will, using electroshock treatment and encouraging young people to feel shame about a central part of themselves. The emotional and psychological trauma inflicted on LGBTQ minors often follows them for the rest of their lives.

It's hard to believe we're still having this discussion in 2019, but here we are. I don't have a problem with "religious freedom," until it crosses the line into abuse. And that includes "blasting," where a bunch of zealots stand around a young person yelling in their ears. Don't take my word for it, listen to the survivors:

Monday News: Pay attention to the teachers


NCAE HAS RELEASED LIST OF DEMANDS BEFORE MAY 1 RALLY: Looking forward, the NCAE has identified the following priorities for this year's rally on May 1: Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national professional-to-student standards. Provide a $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, a 5 percent raise for all ESPs (non-certified staff), teachers, administrators, and a 5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for retirees. Expand Medicaid. Reinstate state retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017. Restore advanced degree compensation stripped by the General Assembly in 2013.


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