Local environmental controls  likely to  be whittled down by regulatory reform bill-attachment0

Local environmental controls likely to be whittled down by regulatory reform bill

Rich Ducker calls Senate Bill 612 “a real Christmas tree of a bill – all sorts of things hung on it.” But the biggest issue, says the public law and government specialist, may be a “sleeper issue to some people.” And that’s language that could prevent local environmental ordinances that are any more stringent than state law—something that would likely do away with Buncombe County’s steep-slope ordinance and other regionally specific rules.

N.C. Senate bill may dissolve AdvantageWest, Citizen-Times reports

Part of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s plans to turn the Department of Commerce into a public-private partnership that would be run like a business, Senate Bill 127 would mandate the dissolution of regional organizations like AdvantageWest and strip it of state funding. It passed a second reading in the Senate Monday night, May 13, by a 31-17 vote.a

All swing together: city, Democratic legislators defend suing state over water bill

Friday morning, Asheville city officials past and present were joined by some of the local legislative delegation to voice their opposition to a state bill that would forcibly transfer the water system to a new regional authority and the Metropolitan Sewerage District. At the press conference they supported City Council’s decision to sue the state in an attempt to halt the new law.

Advocates for redistricting reform tout new study; poll shows overwhelming support

Ahead of the last election, Buncombe County was split between two congressional districts, and lines were redrawn in ways that helped Republicans get elected to the N.C. Statehouse and Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Now, a new study shows how gerrymandering distorts elections in North Carolina, while a new poll finds overwhelming public support for changing the redistricting process.

What happens to Asheville’s water system on May 15?

As a forcible transfer of Asheville’s water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District clears its last legislative hurdles in Raleigh, city staff say relinquishing the system by May 15, as the bill requires, is an administrative impossibility. So what happens to the city’s water system in two weeks? “That’s a good question,” Water Resources Director Steve Shoaf says.

Back to school: Advocates see threats to public education in current legislation

They had to keep rolling out chairs April 23 for what was billed as a “Conversation about Public Education in North Carolina,” held at the Asheville City Schools board room on Mountain Street. A larger-than-anticipated audience of 60 people — educators, elected officials, parents, advocates — came to talk about the status of public education, and to offer some opinions.

Advocates see threats to public education in current legislation

They had to keep rolling out chairs Tuesday night for what was billed as a “Conversation about Public Education in North Carolina,” held at the Asheville City Schools board room on Mountain Street. A larger-than-anticipated audience of 60 people — educators, elected officials, parents, advocates — came to talk about the status of public education, and to offer some opinions. And in a nutshell, the program message was that the status of public education in the state — which has been quantifiably climbing for years — is about to take a drastic plunge. (photos by Max Cooper)

Legislature heads toward crossover with more than 1,700 bills to pick through-attachment0

Legislature heads toward crossover with more than 1,700 bills to pick through

There are only three weeks left before the 2013 session of the N.C. General Assembly hits its crossover deadline of May 16. In general, that means to have a chance at becoming law, bills must have passed a third reading in the house or senate (whichever chamber initiated the bill) and moved to the other chamber by that date. More than 1,700 bills have been introduced since January (1,002 in the House; 725 in the Senate), including the recent arrival of Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed $49,590,935,190 budget for 2013-14. It’s going to be a busy time.

MSD board meeting mixes humor and politics

A seemingly straightforward meeting of the board of the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County took two surprising turns on Wednesday afternoon. One led to a staff report on a private sewer-line failure that took more than two years to resolve. The other led to a vote on withdrawing a December proposal to the city of Asheville regarding the possible merger of water and sewer management — an action that was rejected. UPDATED THURSDAY, APRIL 18.

Crunch time: City holds special budget town hall this afternoon, considering major cuts

A tax revaluation, rising expenses, and a barrage of state legislation are all creating a chaotic budget year for the city of Asheville. This afternoon, Asheville City Council and city staff will discuss the issues and invite the public’s input at a special 2 p.m. town hall meeting in the U.S. Cellular Center banquet hall.