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.

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)

Gunning for North Carolina

According to a March 14 list compiled by Guns & Ammo magazine, North Carolina ranks 17th in the “Best States for Gun Owners in 2013.” That’s higher than neighbors Tennessee (23) and Virginia (24) but beneath South Carolina (14) and Georgia (13). New legislation currently before the General Assembly, however, could nudge the state out of the middle of that pack.

Mountain Resources Commission goes on chopping block

Draft legislation in the N.C. General Assembly would eliminate some 102 state boards and commissions, including the WNC-oriented Mountain Resources Commission and its accompanying Mountain Area Resources Technical Advisory Council. Both were created in the 2009 to address balancing growth and development in the mountains with the preservation of natural resources and farmland.

NCMatters: Sunshine and livermush

While the all-important $19.7 billion state budget labored its way through the General Assembly en route to Gov. Bev Perdue’s historic June 12 veto (the first time a North Carolina governor has ever rejected a budget), legislators also pushed a number of other bills along the Statehouse corridors toward the June 9 crossover deadline (after […]

Republican­s step up to bat

The new Republican majority in the state Legislature came ready to play on Jan. 26, the first day of the 2011 session, immediately introducing bills to forbid contraints on “health care freedom” and to amend the state constitution to prohibit the use of eminent domain for economic development. Sen. Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville, representing the […]

The Beat

The North Carolina General Assembly continued to claim the spotlight last week as Republicans took control of both the House and Senate for the first time in more than a century. In a series of articles, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported "Statehouse Power Shift to Usher in Changes." Republicans "appear poised to lift the cap on […]