Citing the current economic downturn, Rep. Bruce Goforth of Buncombe County has sponsored a bill to extend the time limit for certain permits regarding land development for an extension period running from Jan. 1, 2007, to Dec. 31, 2010. Other action included a bill to change the defined age for “juvenile delinquent” to 6 to 18 (instead of 16). Bill synopses and WNC delegation votes on key legislation are included below.
HB 1414 – The Youth Accountability Act: Redefines the age range of a juvenile delinquent as a juvenile who is between 6 and 18 (formerly 16) years of age who commits a crime or infraction, and establishes a task force for implementation. Passed first reading; referred to Committee on Juvenile Justice. Reps. Susan Fisher of Buncombe and Phil Haire of Haywood/Jackson/Macon/Swain counties, co-sponsors.
HB 1489 – Ignition Interlock-All DWI Offenders: Requires anyone convicted of driving while impaired, driving (less than 21 years of age) after drinking alcohol, or any other impaired driving offense, or any person who refuses to have a chemical analysis, to have an ignition interlock system installed on every vehicle they may drive before they can get a limited driving privilege. Passed first reading; referred to Committtee on Science and Technology. Rep. Ray Rapp of Haywood/Madison/Yancey, co-sponsor.
HB1490 – Extend Permits Regarding Land Development: Because of the current economic downturn, this act would extend “certain permits and approvals” affecting development or real property in the state, superceding statutory and regulatory requirements to the contrary. The extension period begins January 1, 2007, and continues through December 31, 2010, but would exclude a “substantially altered” development plan. (Companion bill to SB 831.) Passed first reading; referred to Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Rep. Bruce Goforth of Buncombe, primary sponsor.
Passed in House:
HB 9 – No Texting While Driving (illegal to use mobile phone for e-mail or text-messaging). Passed third reading, 4/16/09.
WNC delegates voting aye: Fisher (co-sponsor), Phillip Frye of Avery/Caldwell/Mitchell/Yancey, Goforth (co-sponsor), David Guice of Henderson/Polk/Transylvania, Haire, Carolyn Justus of Henderson, Rapp, Roger West of Cherokee/Clay/Graham/Macon, Jane Whilden of Buncombe.
HB 88 – Healthy Youth Act (abstinence until marriage and comprehensive sexuality education programs, grades 7 through 9). Passed third reading, 4/16/09.
Voting aye: Fisher (primary sponsor), Goforth (co-sponsor), Haire, Rapp, Whilden.
Voting no: Frye, Guice, Justus, West.
HB 218 – Parent & Student Educational Involvement Act (requires written notice to parent before expulsion or suspension for more than 10 days). Passed third reading, 4/16/09.
Voting aye: Fisher.(co-sponsor), Frye, Goforth, Guice, Haire, Justus, Rapp, West, Whilden.
— Nelda Holder, associate editor
Editor’s note: The gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) was selected as the official state mammal by the 1969 General Assembly. See below.