Opinion roundup June 27, 2016: McCrory-Cooper debate; legislative shortcuts; guns, renewable energy and more

The latest editorials and commentary from North Carolina and beyond.

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ALLEN JOHNSON: McCrory chooses to demagogue HB2 in first debate (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Rather than work toward a reasonable resolution, Gov. Pat McCrory seems committed now to demagoguing the HB 2 issue for all it’s worth. In Friday’s first gubernatorial debate in Charlotte against Democratic challenger Roy Cooper, the governor dug in on the issue, revealing both his stunning insensitivity toward, and ignorance of, transgender people.
TAYLOR BATTEN: Governors’ race starts with a flurry (Charlotte Observer column) -- If Pat McCrory hadn’t fully realized what a heavyweight bout he is in, he does now after Roy Cooper delivered a series of hooks and uppercuts in the first round of their championship fight in Charlotte on Friday. Pat McCrory, Roy Cooper debate in Charlotte; It started tamely enough, but that didn’t last long; Cooper got the better of this one, but there are many more to come.
'Gut and amend' no friend to transparency (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Gut and amend, which can take place instantly, can pretty much be instantaneous. Good government groups are trying to change that, recommending “Sunshine’’ legislation requiring bills be made available to the public and legislators at least 24 hours before any action on them occurs. We second that. The director of the N.C. Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform, Jane Pinksy, said “We have no problem with them pushing at the end of the race. But citizens have to know what is going on.” It’s best they be informed about what their elected officials are up to. And for that, there’s no substitute for transparency.
Gun lobby flexes its muscles once again (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- The power of the gun lobby was on full display last week on Capitol Hill as a series of modest gun control measures were defeated in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
TIM WHITE: It's not the gun, it's who's pulling the trigger (Fayetteville Observer) -- Some of us are having the wrong conversation again. A terrorist shoots up a crowd at an Orlando nightclub and the usual suspects charge forward, demanding a ban on "assault weapons."
Keep it holstered, legislature (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Some in the state legislature want to put a referendum before the public that could potentially change the state constitution to allow North Carolinians to carry concealed weapons without first receiving training and permits from county sheriffs. This is a bad idea that eliminates an important measure of protection for the public.
A gun control sit-in turns into a tantrum (Charlotte Observer) -- Gun control advocates cheered Wednesday when U.S. House members protested in the House chamber; The sit-in had powerful, historic overtones; Then it became something else.
N.C. kids still face daunting obstacles to success (Fayetteville Observer) -- The kids, you might say, are all right. But if you do say that, we'll disagree. Despite some good trends in wellbeing indicators, we're still worried about the future for North Carolina's children.
Treat 16-year-old offenders as kids (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Some kids screw up in serious ways. They break into homes, take things that do not belong to them, run around with the wrong crowd and seem headed for trouble.
Caution flags raised on private-school vouchers (EdNC) -- Republican state legislators often appear in a rush to embed into law and budget as much of their fiscal, social, and educational agendas as they can in case their veto-proof majority evaporates with the shifting of political winds. A prime example is North Carolina’s relatively new program of offering state-funded vouchers for children of lower-income parents to attend private schools.
Stifling renewables (Greensboro News & Record) -- Some N.C. politicians say they oppose tax credits and subsidies because they don’t think the government should be picking winners and losers in private industry. But they are clearly doing just that in regard to the state’s energy future. Bills in the N.C. House and Senate would deliver a knockout punch for solar and wind power development in North Carolina.
Court opinion on refugees (Greensboro News & Record) -- The disappointment was palpable in Greensboro after the Supreme Court deadlocked on President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive order on immigration. The executive order, called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, would allow undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since 2010 and the undocumented parents of legal citizens, to obtain a work permit and be protected from deportation.
Immigration laws shouldn't be local cops' jobs (Fayetteville Observer) -- Should the N.C. Highway Patrol try to be the Border Patrol? Can we afford to have city police officers acting Immigration Services officers too?
Tale of two creeks: Nature's and Martin Marietta's (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- t’s unlikely the crew from the Greensboro law office of Brooks Pierce knew or cared about Blount’s Creek before they represented industrial giant Martin Marietta’s efforts to destroy the eastern North Carolina natural treasure. The people here care very much, though, and it should be preserved for them exactly as nature designed and manufactured it.
Finally, a compensation update (Winston-Salem Journal) -- For months now, we’ve been pressing our state leaders to give an update to sterilization victims about their compensation payments, money guaranteed by state law. Last week, the victims finally received an update in the mail. That’s a start. North Carolina is the first in the nation to compensate victims of a state sterilization program. Our leaders have to get this right.
Voters show they still have the power (Wilmington Star-News) -- One thing is becoming clear in this strangest of political seasons -- the establishment leaders who profess expertise in governing stink at predicting elections.
Rare bipartisan approach to opioid addiction (Greensboro News & Record) - With a stroke of a pen last week, Gov. Pat McCrory gently downshifted opioid addiction in North Carolina from something to be punished to something to be treated. In a rare display of bipartisanship, state lawmakers passed a bill that allows a life-saving drug overdose medication to be obtained at a pharmacy, no questions asked. And the governor officially signed it into law in Greensboro on Monday at the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.

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