As reported here, Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. heard arguments last Friday in the state-versus-local battle over control of the Asheville water system.
Per this report on the arguments from the Asheville Citizen-Times, Manning is expected to issue his ruling within the next 30 days. Until then his order enjoining the formation of a regional water system remains in effect.
During the two-hour argument, Manning pushed attorneys to get the crux of the challenge, which he identified as constitutional:
Manning, who ruled in a previous trial about the water system, said a decision on the latest case depends on whether the legislation was, in fact, a local bill and whether it applied to sanitation and public health, a combination that would run afoul of Article 2, Sec. 24 of the state constitution, which says the General Assembly cannot enact local local legislation “relating to health, sanitation, and the abatement of nuisances.” He also declined to consider legislators’ statements from committee hearings or from the floor of either the state House or Senate.
“Our constitution says what it says. Section 24 says what it says,” Manning said. “That’s where we are. So, gentlemen, we need to get to the merits of this thing, because this is your final shot.”
Manning asked the attorneys to send him a two-page summary of their arguments for review within a week.