Commentary

The best editorial of the weekend

In case you missed it, be sure to check out an editorial that ran in the Charlotte Observer over the weekend and that appears again this morning in Raleigh’s News & Observer. In “A bad bill shows why the blue wave was good for NC,” the authors explain how things have changed in the state Legislative Building and for the better.

Here’s an excerpt:

Not long ago in North Carolina, news of a Republican-sponsored bill like SB367 would have been met like a terminal diagnosis. Democrats would have vowed to fight it, and editorial boards would have shaken their heads, but everyone would have known that there was nothing they could do. The bill, bad as it might be, was going to happen.

Make no mistake, SB367 is a bad bill. The legislation, which was introduced last month, would block cities and towns from passing new ordinances that protect trees from developers. The bill wouldn’t kill ordinances in cities like Charlotte, Durham and Raleigh that already have sanctioned by the legislature, but any city or town that wants to craft a new ordinance would have to go through the General Assembly. Also, any tree ordinance not covered by an existing local act would be voided.

After noting the importance of these kinds of local regulations, the editorial goes on to point out that there would have been no stopping a bill like HB 367 (or any other number of destructive bills) in the past when GOP supermajorities reigned. Now, happily, things are different since Democrats can sustain a gubernatorial veto. Here’s the encouraging conclusion:

In fact, it’s possible the bill might never make it out of committee, because Republican leaders know this losing battle isn’t worth the fight. That’s why the 2018 election was good for North Carolina. Eliminating super-majorities provides a natural buffer against extreme legislation. It forces the majority party to at least consider the minority party and, in the best of circumstances, work together to find compromise that’s palatable to all.

No one is claiming that there’s hand-holding across the aisle in Raleigh these days. But there’s certainly less partisan fireworks, and there’s a bit more conversation between the two parties on the front end of legislation. That’s an improvement from Republicans just doing what they want and how they want, knowing Democrats could do little about it. For now, at least, bad legislating isn’t terminal in North Carolina.

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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