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In case you missed it, the lead editorial in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer neatly sums up the disastrous 59 page jumble of regulatory changes signed into law by Gov. McCrory last Friday. After noting that the measure was supposedly about “streamlining” regulatory processes, the editorial says this:

“On signing the bill, the governor repeated the sentiment, saying, ‘This common sense legislation cuts government red tape, axes overly burdensome regulations and puts job creation first here in North Carolina.’

Sounds logical and harmless. Except the bill is not what its title and the governor claim it is. It is illogical and dangerous. It is concessions to developers and polluters crammed into a massive bill that was rushed through the legislature in the crush of closing business.

This bill will ‘streamline’ regulatory process with a sledgehammer and blowtorch.”

Read the entire editorial and its detailed explanation of why the bill’s hodegpodge of new laws are not really about “reform” by clicking here.

Xmas presentAs the 2013 legislative session begins to move toward adjournment, it looks like the General Assembly is taking its practice of pulling complex and controversial bills out of thin air and passing them before anyone even has time to respond to the next level. Among today’s examples: a giant new bill to rewrite dozens of state regulations — many dealing with important environmental protections.

Today, the Senate Rules Committee took up House Bill 74. Prior to the meeting, the bill was a modest three-page  proposal entitled “Periodic Review and Expiration of Rules.” After the meeting it was a 56 page monster with scores of separate sections entitled the “Regulatory Reform Act of 2013.” Don’t look for it online though — things are moving so fast the General Assembly website hasn’t even caught up yet. Read More

This Friday, the Joint Regulatory Reform Committee will gather (1027 LB @ 9:00am) for a presentation on Senate Bill 781.

Regular readers of the Progressive Pulse may recall SB781 (the Regulatory Reform Act of 2011) was vetoed by Governor Perdue in late June after she heard from thousands of North Carolinians concerned about the bill’s impact on public health and future  environmental protections.

But by the July session, the Republican-controlled legislature was successful in overriding the gubernatorial veto.

Much of  SB781, that will take effect on January 1st, limits state agencies from adopting any rules to protect the environment that are more restrictive than federal law. The legislation also mandates that each agency conduct an annual review of its rules, and then repeal those that are deemed unnecessary or “unduly burdensome.”

Sam Pearsall, a senior scientist with Environmental Defense Fund, talked to N.C. Policy Watch earlier this year about the problems with the Regulatory Reform Act. He won’t be presenting on Friday, but you can listen to his take below:

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Next week, the North Carolina House has the opportunity to uphold Governor Perdue’s veto of Senate Bill 781 (SB 781). Supporters of this legislation allege that it will increase regulatory efficiency on environmental issues.  A closer look reveals that it will affect other regulations to protect children in day care centers, the elderly through Medicare and those that use hospital services.   And what’s worse, the legislation is likely to swell rulemaking, create more red tape for state regulators and delay regulations – all on the backs of state departments that are financially strapped. Read More