Carolina Journal Weekly Report

May 08, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of May 08, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — A smoking ban proposal under consideration in the N.C. House and Senate would create a “major threat” to personal freedom and property rights. That’s the assessment a John Locke Foundation expert offers in a new Spotlight report.

“The proposed ban is being sold as a way to protect people from secondhand smoke, but this is a dangerous slippery slope," said Daren Bakst, JLF Legal and Regulatory Policy Analyst. “There are many things, other than exposure to secondhand smoke, that the government could ban under this ‘nanny state’ mindset, from diet to sexual behavior.”

Bakst’s report analyzes competing versions of House Bill 2. The House approved H.B. 2 with a 72-45 vote April 2, while the full Senate could address a different version of the bill this week.

Both versions would prohibit smoking in “public places” and “places of employment’ that serve or allow entry to minors. This includes restaurants and even for-profit private clubs. The House bill would include a “very narrow exception” for businesses that do not serve or allow entry to minors, Bakst said.

“The proposed ban would violate property rights by prohibiting private property owners from being able to use their properties for legal activities, such as smoking,” Bakst said. “Private property does not somehow get transformed into public property just because the public is permitted to enter the property.”

News Features

CJ: Easley land deal gaining interest
RALEIGH — Federal authorities and state media have turned their attention to a Carteret County real estate development in which former Gov. Mike Easley bought a lot in 2005. Carolina Journal first reported in 2006 on Easley’s purchase of a lot in the Cannonsgate development. An analysis of other transactions showed Easley got what The Charlotte Observer called a “sweetheart deal.”

CJ: Disgust over spending spreads among taxpayers
RALEIGH — Tax protesters across North Carolina continue to share their displeasure about government bailouts, costly stimulus packages, and pork-barrel spending. They’ve gathered to take part in a series of “tea parties,” including one set last weekend in Graham.

CJ: Gaskill again given no jail time
RALEIGH — U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle ruled Tuesday, for the second time, that former N. C. Department of Transportation Ferry Division Director Jerry Gaskill will not receive an active prison sentence for his role in the illegal dredging of the Currituck Sound in 2004.

Senate backs tax cut for unnamed big company
RALEIGH — An unidentified corporation is considering investing at least $1 billion in North Carolina, a prospect so large that lawmakers suggested Thursday they’re willing to change how corporate taxes are calculated to give the company a break. The state Senate voted 40-7 to tentatively approve how corporate income taxes are calculated for big companies that invest heavily in land and equipment, but have relatively fewer sales in the state.

Senate opposes lowering gas tax
RALEIGH — North Carolina motorists might not get a break in gas and diesel fuel taxes this summer after all. To generate more money for state road and bridge repairs, the Senate proposed Thursday to cancel a 2-cent cut in the state motor fuels tax. The tax is scheduled to drop to 27.9 cents a gallon on July 1.

Upcoming Events

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Doug Lance
Crime in North Carolina: There is More Than One Victim

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Sandhills Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Becki Gray
Legislative Update: A Behind the Scenes Look at Your State Lawmakers and What They are Doing

Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.
Southeastern Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Becki Gray
Legislative Update: A Behind the Scenes Look at Your State Legislature

John Locke Foundation Carolina Journal Online
The Locker Room Carolina Journal Radio

Capital Quotes

That’s pretty tacky.
— Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, commenting to the Raleigh News & Observer on an e-mail forwarded by N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Commission Chairman Doug Fox soon after the election of Barack Obama showing an altered photo of the White House with the South Lawn as a massive watermelon patch. The photo was captioned “There goes the neighborhood…”. Fox resigned after news of his forwarding the e-mail became public.

It would take a legal activity and make it illegal on private property. Surely we can agree on a more common-sense, practical approach.
— Sen. Jim Jacumin, R-Burke, as quoted by the Winston-Salem Journal arguing against a ban on smoking in public places in the state. The Senate approved a bill on Thursday that would ban smoking in all bars and restaurants.

These figures are astounding right now.
— Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, senior co-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, as quoted by the Associated Press, on the latest state revenue estimates, which show a 11 percent drop as compared to last year.

You’re either tax-exempt or you’re not.
Tim McDowell, spokesman for North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, commenting to the Associated Press on a proposal being debated in the Senate to cap the amount of the sales-tax exemption that non-profit organizations qualify for. While relatively few non-profits would be effected by the $5 million limit currently being discussed, McDowell notes that the Senate provision was set a  precedent for taxes purchases made by non-profits, and the cap could easily be lowered in the future.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Joe Coletti discusses state tax breaks for film and TV production, Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson and the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law’s Bob Orr explain the basis of her lawsuit which seeks to clarify her role in education; Rep. Dale Folwell recommends a reform to the troubled State Health Plan, National Review Senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru offers ideas to strengthen the conservative movement, and Paul Chesser of Climate Strategies Watch provides an update on climate change legislation across the U.S.

NC Spin

This week on NC Spin…
Join moderator Tom Campbell for another week of political discussion and debate on the most intelligent television talk show in the state. Topics this week: A proposed toll bridge across the Currituck Sound; a court ruling that says school systems can assign students to year-round schools without their parents’ permission; another court ruling that says doctors cannot be punished for being present at executions; and pay cuts and budget problems. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; lobbyist Theresa Kostrzewa; and columnist Cash Michaels.

At Issue

This week on At Issue…
Watch At Issue, hosted by Kim Genardo, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Also available on the web at


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