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Democrats turn trash molehill into trash mountain

The state Democratic Party wants to gig Gov. Pat McCrory for signing a regulatory bill last Friday, but its barb is off the mark.

“Imagine the impact to our coastal tourism when you’ll be able to enjoy a 270-feet trash mountain from sea,” said Micah Beasley, an NCDP spokesman, “It’s pretty clear what Republicans think of rural North Carolina that their idea to create jobs is for folks to work on trash mountains."

Here's the problem. Loosened language that would have allowed giant landfills in coastal counties did not make it into the bill McCrory signed.

The law scales back community input required when siting landfills. But it keeps all the buffer zones around wildlife refuges, parks, and existing gamelands approved in 2007 that were meant to prevent the giant landfills.

Update: Beasley said in an interview that the criticism still applies because buffer zones around future gamelands will be reduced.

Virginians were worried about the potential for a giant landfill near the state border. The Virginian-Pilot wrote a story about the regulatory re-write stalling this year.

Division of Water Resources staff to get details on DENR restructuring, cuts

The director of the state water quality and resources program will address section leadership Wednesday morning about the recent changes the program is going through – including restructuring and possible staff cuts.

At the beginning of August, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources consolidated its Division of Water Quality and Division of Water Resources. The move brought Water Quality under the umbrella of Water Resources.

“Tom Reeder, the (water resources) division director, will be addressing his section chiefs about consolidation of the two divisions,” said Jamie Kritzer, a spokesman for DENR. He was not able to elaborate.

In the coming months, the Division of Water Resources’ leadership will look at what regulations and practices can be trimmed to make the combined program more efficient.

The restructuring could shrink the water quality program, making it more difficult to enforce regulations, environmental advocates say. And it adds to work the division must already do to get up to Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The Division of Water Resources will need to cut $2 million this year, as stipulated in the state budget. DENR has said that the restructuring could include staff cuts, but not how many. It isn’t clear if the Wednesday meeting will include talk of layoffs.

Omnibus regulatory reform bill gets OK in Senate

An omnibus regulatory reform bill would address environmental regulations, city ordinances, wages and other areas of government. The Senate passed the bill Friday in a 26-7 vote.

Several senators raised concerns with portions of the 60-provision bill, House Bill 74.

“It would prohibit livable wage ordinances by communities,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat. “Overall there are some good portions (in the bill), but some portions give me very deep concerns.”

Luddy talks overregulation on Fox Business News

Raleigh businessman and school-choice advocate Bob Luddy’s profile has been on the rise in business and political circles this year.

He helped finance a super PAC that helped re-elect state Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby. This  summer he testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that excessive regulations were stunting job creation.

The other day he appeared on John Stossel’s Fox Business News national TV show to deliver the same message.

Luddy tells Congress that regs hurting job growth

Raleigh businessman Bob Luddy told the House Judiciary Committee Thursday that excessive regulation was hurting job creation.

“Over the last several decades, the number, scope and burden of federal regulation have expanded exponentially,” Luddy told the committee. “Multiple studies have shown that America's regulatory infrastructure costs the U.S. Economy anywhere from hundreds of billions of dollars to over $1 trillion.''

Lisa Heinzerling, a law professor at Georgetown University, disputed Luddy's testimony.

“You have the power to undo any rule you want,” Heinzerling said to Luddy and the committee Republicans.

Luddy replied: “A small-business person doesn't have the resources to talk to the federal government. It's too vast.''

Luddy started CaptiveAire Systems which employs 700 people.

D's and R's voting together

By popular demand, the names of House members who crossed party lines yesterday to override Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue's vetoes.

Senate Bill 33: Medical malpractice lawsuit limits: 74-42 to override.

Democratic House members who voted with Republicans, Bill Brisson of Dublin, Jim Crawford of Oxford, Ken Goodman of Rockingham, Dewey Hill of Lake Waccamaw, Marvin Lucas of Spring Lake, Bill Owens of Elizabeth City, Diane Parfitt of Fayetteville, Winkie Wilkins of Roxboro, Michael Wray of Northampton County, Susi Hamilton of Wilmington.

Republican House members who voted with Democrats: Hugh Blackwell of Burke County, Grey Mills of Mooresville, and Leo Daughtry of Smithfield.

Senate Bill 781: Limits state regulations. 74-42 to override.

Democratic House members voting with Republicans: Brisson, Crawford, Goodman, Hill, Owens, Wray, Frank McGuirt of Wingate, Tim Spear of Creswell, and Darren Jackson of Wake County, and Marcus Brandon of High Point.

Republican who voted with Democrats: Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville.

Senate Bill 496: Medicaid and Health Choice provider requirements. 74-41

Democrats voting with Republicans: Brisson, Crawford, Goodman, Hill, Jackson, Spear and Angela Bryant of Rocky Mount.

Republicans voting with Democrats: none.

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