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As we reported in this space last week, the General Assembly is advancing a last-minute “regulatory reform” bill in the session’s waning days that is chock-full of dozens of special favors to industry lobbyists, including several new provisions to further restrict environmental protection.

Today, however, advocates discovered yet another hidden gem in the bill — a provision that will prevent forward-thinking local governments (like Asheville and Durham) from requiring contractors to treat workers decently. Read More

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Grover NorquistHow low have things sunk in the Raleigh policy debate? This low: A front group for corporations and greedy billionaires is bringing a has-been Washington lobbyist to town to promote higher taxes on poor and middle class North Carolinians and some are calling it a “tax reform” event.

Grover Norquist is about “reforming” tax policy in the same way that Rush Limbaugh is  about “reforming” American political discourse. Norquist is a well-funded bully who has done much to ruin the well-being of the Republic. His most infamous quote — that he wants to shrink government down to the size at which it can be “drowned in the bathtub” bespeaks the hatred and violent underpinnings of his noxious, greed-is-good “philosophy.”  

Norquist will confirm the dishonesty and hypocrisy that lies at the heart of his work today when Read More

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E-cigYou’ve got to hand it to the tobacco corporations and their high-priced lobbyists; when it comes to deceptive messaging and tactics, no one does it better than the merchants of death.  Apparently, nearly a century of practice really does make perfect in developing lies and half-truths and massaging them into feel-good media messages and legislation.

Consider the latest case in point in North Carolina. Big tobacco is currently ramming through legislation in both houses of the General Assembly that sounds as if it is all about motherhood and apple pie. The bill (which as been introduced and advanced in both the Senate and the House at the behest of the industry) operates under the title: “Prohibit E-Cigarette Sales to Minors.” 

“Electronic cigarettes” of “E-Cigarettes,”  as you probably have heard, are just the latest  tool for delivering life-threatening poison (i.e. addictive nicotine) to humans. E-cigs are already being advertised throughout the country as a hip and semi-safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. They’re already finding their way into schools and other places young people look for ways to be cool.   

Prohibiting their sale to kids sounds like a good idea, huh?

Unfortunately, Read More

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Ready to cry “uncle” yet? The folks running the North Carolina General Assembly hope so.  As Chris Fitzsimon will discuss this afternoon in today’s Fitzsimon File, the reactionary legislation is coming so thick and fast these days at the General Assembly that it’s simply hard to keep up — much less speak out or have input.

It’s no wonder more and more good people are simply speaking with their feet and bodies.

Yet another classic (and likely to be under-reported) example of extreme and destructive legislation simply getting lost in the shuffle on Jones Street is this measure – which would  prevent North Carolina from seeking LEED certification for public buildings. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) the best known and most respected “green” building rating system.  

The measure, which will be heard this afternoon in the House Agriculture Committee at 1:00 pm in 643 LOB, Read More

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Loan sharks…that high-interest loan companies in North Carolina “haven’t had a rate increase in 30 years”  tell him/her that this statement is, in a word, baloney (and feel free to use a stronger word).

#1: Inflation for lenders is accounted for through the issuance of larger and larger loans, not higher and higher interest rates. As with home and car loans, the average finance company loan in North Carolina 30 years ago was much smaller than it is today. It is simply absurd to even imply Read More