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Not to be outdone by Mississippi, three North Carolina lawmakers on Tuesday filed a bill that would prohibit cities and counties from limiting how big a soft drink can be.
Recently, Mississippi passed such a law, “The Anti-Bloomberg Bill,” which took a swipe at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to limit giant sugar drinks for health reasons.
House Bill 683, filed Tuesday in North Carolina, would also protect food manufacturers from being sued over weight gain, obesity or other conditions stemming from long-term consumption. Packers, distributors, carriers, sellers, marketers and advertisers would also be protected.
Sponsors are Rep. Brian Brown, a Republican from Greenville; Rep. Tim Moffitt, a Republican from Asheville; and Rep. Nathan Ramsey, a Republican from Fairview.
Freshman Rep. Michael Speciale, a Republican from New Bern, says he studies the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence all the time. The ex-Marine has cranked out a lot of bills in his first session that reflect his interests and, presumably, his constituents, even if they won’t necessarily become law.
Just Tuesday, he filed two bills and a resolution with sweeping titles that summon the imagery of constitutional battles for freedom: Enabling Patriots Act (a gun bill that, according to its title would protect citizens against “violent sociopaths”), Protect Against Suspension of Rights (directing the attorney general to sue to determine if the president's war powers are constitutional, and, if they are not, establishing protections for the citizenry), and State’s Right to Claim Sovereignty (a resolution based on the 10th Amendment).
The gun bill, HB624, is the most substantive and, in fact, pulls together ideas from earlier efforts to ease gun restrictions, primarily: allowing guns on school grounds if they are locked in a vehicle or are carried by someone with a concealed weapon permit; allowing a concealed weapon permit-holder to carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol, and allowing concealed handgun on greenways, picnic areas and on other recreational grounds.
Another Speciale bill filed Tuesday would allow people convicted of non-violent felonies to regain gun rights in a shorter time. It’s just called Amend Firearms Restoration Law.
Legislation delaying a new grading system for North Carolina's public schools passed the state House with near-unanimous support Thursday, leading to a showdown with Senate Republican leaders, The N&O's Keung Hui reports.
The bill, H435, would delay until Aug. 1, 2014 the release of A through F letter grades for individual schools based on factors such as passing rates on exams and graduation rates. The grading system, which was introduced by Senate President Pro Temp Phil Berger as past of last year's budget, is set to start this year.
The House bill would also make it easier for schools to get higher grades than Berger's model. The House would let schools raise their letter grade if they're showing growth on exams even if their passing rates is low.
The House bill, which passed by a 105-4 vote, now goes to the Senate.
The Senate Education Committee will consider Wednesday Berger's bill, S361. It would, among other things, set out how the grading system would work and end tenure for teachers.
There would be zero tolerance for a convicted drunken driver having any amount of alcohol in his or her system while their license is restricted, under a bill the House approved Thursday.
Currently, those convicted of DWI can have restrictions on their license for one year; during that period, a blood-alcohol content of 0.04 is allowed, instead of the 0.08 for everyone else. This bill would lower that amount to 0.00, and in most cases would be in effect for three years.
Violators could be prosecuted for a misdemeanor charge of driving while license revoked.
The bipartisan bill’s primary sponsor is Rep. Darren Jackson, a Raleigh Democrat. It passed the House on a vote of 109-1, and now goes to the Senate.
Young people wouldn’t be able to get medical treatment for pregnancy, venereal disease, substance abuse or mental illness without their parents’ or guardian’s written consent, under a bill filed this week.
SB675 adds those restrictions to the state law that already requires unemancipated minors receive that permission before they can have abortions.
NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina issued a statement Thursday saying such a law would deny youths access to confidential and potentially life-saving health care.
The bill’s sponsors are Sen. Warren Daniel of Morganton, Sen. Shirley Randleman of Wilkesboro, Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson and Sen. Chad Barefoot, who represents parts of Wake and Franklin counties. All are Republicans.
A bill that would make it a felony instead of a misdemeanor to fire a weapon inside a building, car or truck to frighten people inside appears headed for a full vote of the Senate.
The proposal by Sen. Peter Brunstetter, a Republican from Winston-Salem, was heard in a committee Thursday, where it faced a few technical questions from senators but drew no public comment. Since it was scheduled for discussion only, the bill will return to the judiciary committee next week and then likely head to the floor.
Brunstetter filed the bill to plug a gap in the law that makes it a felony to shoot into a building but only a misdemeanor to shoot inside. The gap was illuminated last October when a man walked into a Walmart in Kernersville one night and fired a gun into two flat-screen televisions and a wall.
A joint session of the state House and Senate on Wednesday approved Gov. Pat McCrory’s six nominees to the state Board of Education.
Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat, attempted to block the nomination of A.L. “Buddy” Collins, a member of the Forsyth County Board of Education who has drawn the opposition of a gay-rights group, Equality NC.
The group says Collins voted against a provision in 2009 that added sexual orientation to the anti-bullying policy. The group also cites remarks he has made that suggest he has a problem with gay and lesbian organizations.
Luebke, speaking for himself and not the Democratic caucus, said Collins’ position was “offensive to me, I think to many of us in this chamber and to many people in this state.”
Rep. Tim Moore, a Republican from Kings Mountain, said, “I find it very unfortunate the member from Durham would want to try to politicize the situation. When our party was in the minority we generally respected the governor’s appointments and confirmed.”
The House approved the six nominees 80-33, and the Senate approved them 42-5.
Collins was on hand to watch the brief debate and votes from the gallery.
More news from the sovereign country of North Carolina.
A gun bill filed Tuesday resurrects an attempt by former Rep. Glen Bradley that went nowhere last session. It would exempt from all federal regulations any firearm, accessory or ammunition made and kept in North Carolina.
A gun like that would have to be stamped with “Made in North Carolina.”
There’s a new twist in this year’s version, however: It says that any federal agent who tries to enforce federal firearm laws would be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Sponsors are Republican Reps. Bert Jones of Reidsville, Bryan Holloway of King, Rayne Brown of Lexington, and Chris Millis of Hampstead.
Unelected local governmental entities such as special districts and authorities wouldn’t be able to impose taxes or condemn property without approval from the board of commissioners of the county they’re in, under a proposed constitutional amendment outlined in a bill filed Tuesday.
The bill is aimed at curtailing the power of local boards like the sewer district in Buncombe County and the proposed airport authority in Charlotte, which have generated controversy.
“They’re not scrutinized like they ought to be, and I think at the end of the day, if you’re going to condemn or tax you ought to have to go to somebody that’s elected by the people and get permission to do so,” Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt of Asheville told reporters.
Nesbitt endorsed the bill by accompanying its sponsor, freshman Sen. Ben Clark, a Democrat from Fayetteville. Nesbitt said Clark came to him with the idea, and he liked it.
Nesbitt noted that some Republicans in the legislature have supported submitting to voters a constitutional amendment restricting condemnation, so he was hopeful there might be bipartisan agreement on this proposal, Senate Bill 705.