Editorial: Last-minute GenX ambush, standard operating procedure for legislature

Posted September 1, 2017 5:00 a.m. EDT
Updated September 1, 2017 9:19 a.m. EDT

This is the N.C. Legislative Building as seen on Feb. 2, 2015 at 6 p.m.

CBC Editorial: Friday, Sept. 1, 2017; Editorial # 8206
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Whether your like, or don’t like, repeal of the Dare County ban on plastic grocery bags, North Carolina voters can easily identify who is responsible.

During an open meeting of the Senate Environment Committee last April Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, led the effort to include it in a bill dealing with a variety of environmental regulations.

We do wish Sen. Cook would leave our counties and cities alone. Dare County voters can and should make their own decisions.

But if voters want to know who was responsible for the funding plan to monitor how the chemical GenX flows into the Cape Fear River that ended up in bill that included the repeal of the Dare County plastic bag ban, they’d be better off hiring a private investigator.

The answer’s simple. Like too many actions by the General Assembly these days, the provision appeared without warning in a conference committee report on the bill. None of these conference committee members even represent the Wilmington area, where concern over GenX has arisen yet they chose to insert this measure into the legislation. No open committee hearing, no public discussion, no citizen input and no accountability.

Legislating by last-minute ambush has become a way of life for the current crop of leaders in the General Assembly.

The conference committee on the state budget includes dozens of items that were not discussed in the open. Come to think of it, who came up with the bright idea to REDUCE Legal Aid funding? When we find out, we will let you know.

The legislature is doing the public’s business without including the public. This group of zealots continues to be an opaque den of conniving inside dealers. What is really happening? Who is really responsible? All that’s hidden from taxpayers. Debates over major legislation are held in secret caucuses. Major shifts in policy and spending seem to appear out of the blue, with little time for citizen input or open debate.

The bizarre scheme to look into the GenX issue is the latest example in a long trail of snap solutions. If the current crop of legislative leaders truly had confidence in the ideologically driven legislation they’ve imposed, they’d willingly subject them to the sunlight of public hearings, open debate and accountability.

Clearly they don’t – and they don't care about results. They are happy if it fits with the anti-tax, anti-public education, anti environment, anti-immigrant, anti-health care, anti-gay, anti-transgender, anti-abortion, anti-gun control anti-voting rights and anti- you-name-it, base of support they have nourished.

Simply summed up: Government is terrible except when we say it isn’t and we’re willing to starve it to prove it to you.

The reactionary ideology, cloaked in the halo of the religious right and imposed by the General Assembly these days, is an economic and moral failure.

Capitol Broadcasting Company's Opinion Section seeks a broad range of comments and letters to the editor. Our Comments beside each opinion column offer the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about this article.

In addition, we invite you to write a letter to the editor about this or any other opinion articles. Here are some tips on submissions >> SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR