Editorial: Legislators keep at 'pressing' issues

Jul. 13, 2013 @ 07:56 AM

Thank goodness the General Assembly passed its budget and tax reform measures or we don’t know where the legislators would have found the time for all the bills they have been discussing the past week or so.

Oh, wait. That’s right, there is still no budget or tax plan.

But legislators have found the time to keep working toward a requirement for drug testing and background checks on applicants for federal benefits – measures that other states have shown cost more than they save.

They have had plenty of time to keep meddling in purely local affairs, such as a bill to let the Wake County Board of Commissioners take over school construction, which currently is the responsibility of the Wake County school board, and for the state to take control of the Charlotte airport away from the city of Charlotte.

They are taking the time to consider sweeping changes to weaken environmental regulations.

The Senate had so much free time last week that it took a House bill about Islamic Shariah law and completely rejiggered the contents so that the final version would all but ban abortion in North Carolina.

The House then, on Wednesday, took a Senate bill about motorcycle safety and completely rejiggered it so that it wouldn’t go quite as far as the other bill to ban abortion in the state.

Apparently both chambers will have ample time to craft a Shariah-motorcycle-abortion compromise measure.

Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Charlotte, explained to reporters the unusual step to insert extensive abortion regulations into completely unrelated bills:

“We’re nearing the end of session,” she said. “Things move quickly. We wanted to make sure we got this done and didn’t leave it hanging.”

Heavens, yes, these matters are urgent. Even more than ensuring the state has a budget, which in turn tells all of the state’s municipalities and school boards how much revenue they are going to have for the business year that started almost two weeks ago.

But we’re happy to see that legislators did at least draw the line somewhere. The House was considering a bill to have candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run on the same ticket so we could no longer have a governor of one party and a lieutenant governor of another party. That change would require amending the state constitution.

Rep. Bert Jones, R-Reidsville, said it was the consensus of the House leadership that it was not a pressing issue and it could be considered in next year's session.

We agree. Shouldn’t rush into anything as complex as that without a year of serious study.