Shortly after midnight, the N.C. House voted 73-46 this morning to override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of the Appropriations Act of 2011 (HB 200) — the proposed state budget for the fiscal biennium ending June 30, 2013. The bill is expected to be voted on in the Senate today or tomorrow.
The vote fell at the end of an action-packed day in the General Assembly which also saw an amendment added to SB 308 (State Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emmissions) that would eliminate the state’s air toxics program, according to a report in today’s News & Observer of Raleigh. That bill, which had been in committee since March, was suddenly brought back to life and the amendment adopted, according to the report, without public comment and without notice to officials at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, where the air toxics monitoring program has been housed. The program is a risk-based regulatory program “designed to protect the public health by limiting emissions of toxic air pollutants from man-made sources,” according to the DENR website. Activities include developing control strategies; monitoring and risk assessment, and air dispersion modeling, and program planning for reduction of exposure and emission. The N&O report asserts that the repeal of the state’s air toxics regulations had been urged in writing by several of the “state’s largest emitters of hazardous and toxic pollutants, including Duke Power.” Duke Power is currently in the process of a merger with Progress Energy, which serves the Asheville region. Air quality monitoring in Asheville and Buncombe County, however, is currently managed by the WNC Regional Air Quality Agency — one of three local programs in the state.
In further action, SB 47 (Restore Partisan Judicial Elections) are expected to be voted on the House Elections Committee today. The bill contains numerous changes to current election law, including ending straight-ticket voting and returning to partisan judicial races. (See additional information here.)
by Nelda Holder, contributing editor