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It seems like a safe bet that every Governor given the option probably uses it, but there’s something enormously frustrating about Governor Perdue’s penchant for simply taking no action at all on bills sent to her by the General Assembly. This was the approach she took once again this past weekend on a controversial bill opposed by the entire Asheville City Council.

As constitutional scholars out there will no doubt recall, the Governor of North Carolina has three choices when it comes to most of the bills passed by the legislature: 1) sign them, 2) veto them or 3) do nothing — in which case the bill becomes law as if she had signed it.  (Some bills become law immediately without ever being presented to the Governor).

The reasons for the decision to provide option #3 probably appear in the record of the debate surrounding the amendment that gave the Governor the veto back in the 1990’s and I’m willing to be persuaded that they make some kind of sense. But from the perspective of a simple, common sense test, it’s hard tosee what they possibly are.

Legislators have to vote “yes or “no.” Why does the Governor get to vote “present?”

Also, as a practical matter, what in the heck is preventing Perdue from making a “yea” or “nay” decision? After all, she has only four months left to serve. Read More

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Craig Jarvis of Raleigh’s News & Observer has an interesting (and infuriating) story this morning about the ongoing and downright ridiculous approach pursued by legislative leaders with respect to veto override votes.

It’s been so long since the 2011 session and even the January midnight madness session, that it’s easy to forget that these people are still claiming the authority to override vetoes issued by the Governor last summer — if and when they ever muster the votes.

This is, of course, outrageous. It’s Tom Delay/Scott Walker politics at its worst. Read More

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Protests at Industry Fracking Conference

The Securities Exchange Commission, the New York State Attorney General and communities across the country have upped their scrutiny of the gas industry as appalling information rolls in about the human health and environmental dangers from land based drilling for gas and the tactics of the companies that drill. Read More