Commentary

Best editorial of the weekend: 10 things state lawmakers should do to mend their ways

The best editorial of the weekend actually turned up a day early this week. Friday’s Capitol Broadcasting Company essay on WRAL.com did a great job in listing the “10 items N.C. legislators need to repeal, repair or replace.” Here’s the list:

  • Take an open and non-partisan approach to the court’s orders to draw new legislative and congressional districts. Additionally, they should lay the groundwork for a non-partisan commission that will handle redistricting in the future.
  • Fully fund, as has been promised, the legislative mandate to cut public school class size in the lower grades. Local schools – and the people who work for them – have again been left in limbo and should not have to wait until next spring to know how to handle the budget and whether teachers will need to be dismissed or rehired. Fulfill this obligation to our children before giving more corporate tax cuts to those who don’t need it.
  • Restore $10 million that was irresponsibly cut from the state Department of Justice’s budget. Petty partisan politics in the legislature has become a threat to law and order – leaving the agency ill-equipped to protect the state’s interests in court and properly enforce the law.
  • Expand Medicaid while there’s still the chance. Politicians in Washington are recognizing they aren’t going to be able to, nor should they, repeal Obamacare. Continuing to deny health services to half-a-million needy North Carolinians is cruel and unnecessary.
  • Restore $1.8 million in cuts to the state’s legal aid funding. The cuts hurt poor people trying to deal with mortgage foreclosures, evictions, disability cases, veterans’ benefits and disaster relief. The cuts even hurt victims of domestic abuse who are trying to get restraining orders against abusers. Do these cuts really reflect legislators’ best intentions? Surely not.
  • Reverse the action legislators took to make several local school board elections partisan. There has been no grassroots movement to do this and it is unwise and unproductive – just leading to more unproductive legal battles – as the Lexington City School District is threatening now.
  • End the foolish and insulting impeachment effort aimed at Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. It is a needless diversion and waste of time. She’s done nothing to deserve such mistreatment. If any change is needed, the voters are more than capable of making that determination.
  • Repeal H17 – the law passed late last year that has set off the battle between the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education. This is little more than another unnecessary power grab that wastes taxpayer money on legal bills.
  • Repeal the ideology-driven wind farm ban. State Sen. Harry Brown’s hot-air bluster is tarnishing one of the few economic development bright spots for North Carolina.
  • Look for money that’s been left on the table. In the hastily drafted final budget legislators forgot to include matching funds for a $9.2 million federal grant to protect military bases. Fix that omission and at the same time, think about how much more might have been overlooked, and go after it.

The list isn’t totally exhaustive, but it’s a great start for any conversation about next steps in our state. Print this post and tape it to your refrigerator if you’d like to keep it handy.

2 Comments


  1. Bill Bryan

    July 24, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Did the legislature suddenly get taken over by Dems and I missed it? Because that doesn’t seem like a terribly realistic list.

  2. Jack Wall

    July 24, 2017 at 8:41 am

    The list is excellent, but if you believe that Phil Berger and his ultra-conservative cronies in our state government will even glance at it, then you haven’t been paying attention. These guys are in lockstep – or should I say goosestep – with the national GOP and change for the better seems unlikely. We live in a one-party state and the few Progressives working in Raleigh’s hostile venue appear to be hanging on for dear life! Timothy Snyder (“On Tyranny”) warns of the dangers of a one-party state and lists it among the signs of a rising fascism. Making wish lists will not help a public, sadly blind to the threats to our democracy, see any better.

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