Author: Jason Sutton

  • Bowles Brings UNC System to Forefront of Budget Discussion; Legislature Must Face Reality

    To demonstrate the enormity of the impending budget shortfall, consider this: if the University of North Carolina System was not appropriated a single dollar next year, the state would still face a $500 million budget gap. Currently, the Fiscal Research Division at the General Assembly estimates that the budget deficit will be in excess of $3.2 billion next year.

  • Constitutional Amendment Referendum in November

    When North Carolinians cast their votes this election season, they will be asked whether to amend the state constitution such that it would prohibit any convicted felon from serving as sheriff. The constitutional amendment serves as the General Assembly’s response to six instances of felons running in this year’s primaries for sheriff. All six candidates lost. The counties in which felons ran for sheriff include Avery, Dare, Davidson, McDowell, Washington and Wilkes. Surely, the notion that a convicted felon should not serve as sheriff is reasonable. Yet voters should inspect the proposal thoroughly before casting their ballot. The amendment would prohibit even those felons whose rights of citizenship are fully restored upon paying their debt to society from holding the office of sheriff. The full text of the amendment is as follows: “No person is eligible to serve as Sheriff if that person has been convicted of a felony against this State, the United States, or another state, whether or not that person has been restored to the rights of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law. Convicted of a felony includes the entry of a plea of guilty; a verdict or finding of guilt by a jury, judge, magistrate, or other adjudicating body, tribunal, or official, either civilian or military; or a plea of no contest, nolo contendere, or the equivalent.” Rarely has the notion that “politics makes for strange bedfellows” rang more true. The referendum represents a truly non-partisan issue as can be evidenced by the fact that BlueNC, a far-left blog, and ConservativeNC, obviously a right-wing blog, contain posts opposing the measure. Arguments in favor of the proposal legitimately claim that felons have exhibited poor judgment and thus do not live up to the high standards required to hold the office of sheriff. As such, a blanket prohibition is necessary to ensure that felons cannot be elected sheriff. Opponents argue that voters ought to decide on a case by cases basis whether a felon is worthy of the office of sheriff. Further, opponents have a point to that felons whose rights have been restored should not continue to be punished after having paid their debt to society. Essentially, the question is whether individuals should continue to be punished for their felonious transgressions even after each has paid his debt to society and had his rights of citizenship restored and, further, at what point in the political process the issue should be resolved. Before casting your ballot, consider the implications of your vote. Issues are rarely as clear as they appear on the surface. Do your due diligence because on Election Day, the decision is yours.

  • Government is Broken in Raleigh

    The recent track record of North Carolina’s government indicates that a change of course may be necessary to ensure public trust. Over the last few years, North Carolina government has shown that an erosion of public support is legitimate. Government leadership from the Governor’s Mansion to the General Assembly and down through the bureaucracy has deprived taxpayers of sound and trustworthy governance.

  • SB897: Passing the Buck in the Budget

    Sen. Charlie Dannelly (D-Mecklenburg) has the dubious distinction of being the primary sponsor of the budget bill for fiscal year 2010-11. Read the bill, SB897, and the money report. For the first time since 2003, the annual budget was passed prior to the start of the fiscal year.

  • SB 1216: The “Sock It to the Mortgage Lenders Act”

    No one should be surprised that our backwards thinking General Assembly has raised fees on mortgage lenders as the housing market struggles to regain traction after the housing bubble burst. In addition to raising fees on mortgage lenders and brokers, SB1216, which amends the Emergency Program to Reduce Home Foreclosures Act, creates the temporary State Home Foreclosure Prevention Trust Fund. The bill also implements temporary fees on mortgage servicers.

  • Money Misplaced Again

    The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) was granted, during the 2010 legislative session, the authority to use $17 million in capital funds to purchase land and construct a railroad underpass leading to nowhere. The system-wide University of North Carolina budget in total for 2010-11 will be $170 million less than two years ago.

  • HB972: State Intends to Encroach on Private Enterprise

    The Commission established in the bill serves as the potential vehicle through which the state might purchase four hydroelectric dams owned by Alcoa in the Uwharrie Region. These dams produce power that Alcoa, a private company, sells for consumption. Governor Perdue desires that the state acquires the dams from Alcoa and has taken legal action to ensure that Alcoa is not granted a license to continue dam operation.

  • Certain Lawmakers Believe the Latest Skinny on Milk – It’s Fattening

    Never before has the term “Nanny State” been more applicable than it is today. The bill, HB1726 entitled “Improve Child Care Nutrition/Activity Standards,” is an intrusion on liberty that seeks to control food consumption at child care facilities. For example, the bill would prohibit serving sugar-sweetened beverages to children of any age in addition to requiring that all juices be served in cups and not bottles.

  • General Assembly Moves to Save the World

    HB1807 is a resolution entitled “Support Federal Climate Change Legislation.” The resolution is full of claims perpetuated by the same false science that fuels the insanity of global warming alarmists everywhere.

  • Liberty vs. Security: A Debate on Collecting DNA Sample on Arrest

    The General Assembly is currently considering HB1403, "Collecting DNA Sample on Arrest," sponsored by Reps. Wil Neumann (R-Gaston), Pearl Burris-Floyd (R-Gaston), Darrell McCormick (R-Yadkin) and Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg). The bill would establish a database of DNA samples - the unique, identifying genetic make-up of an individual - collected at the time suspected felons are arrested. This legislation must be considered philosophically with careful examination of the struggle between liberty and security...

  • Unnecessary Burdensome Fees and Regulations Hurt Small Business

    Regulation of Appraisal Management Industry Hurts Small Business and Consumers While Big Business Gets Bigger. Small business will be priced out of the market by $5,000 registration fees, a $2,500 annual fee and numerous compliance costs. Consumers will suffer as taxes and fees are ultimately passed along to them.

  • Method of Selecting North Carolina’s Bench Should be Explored

    Legitimate judicial systems must strike a balance between judicial independence and representation. Certainly our judicial system in North Carolina ought to represent the population of the state, at least to a certain extent, but the judiciary serves the purpose of impartially interpreting the law as well as holding the legislative and executive branches in check.