Carolina Journal Weekly Report

July 31, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of July 31, 2009 - carolinajournal.com

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Court of Appeals has rejected the Graham County Board of Education’s plans to conduct random, suspicionless drug testing of all its employees. The appeals court found that such testing violated the North Carolina Constitution’s guarantees against unreasonable searches and seizures, writes Michael Lowrey for Carolina Journal.

On Dec. 5, 2006, the Graham County school board voted to adopt a new drug policy, authorizing random drug testing of all school system employees, including those with little if any contact with students. The policy was adopted based upon general concern the board expressed about drug use throughout society. The school board did not adopt random drug testing because its previous drug policy had proven to be somehow inadequate; county schools were not facing a drug problem.

Susan Jones, a teacher at Robbinsville High School, and the North Carolina Association of Educators filed a lawsuit challenging the drug testing policy, contending it violated the N.C. Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. After Superior Court Judge James U. Downs sided with the school board, Jones and the NCAE brought the matter before he state’s second highest court, again contending the drug testing provision was unconstitutional.

The constitution’s standard Article I, Section 20 of the North Carolina Constitution states: “General warrants, whereby any officer or other person may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of the act committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, whose offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are dangerous to liberty and shall not be granted.”



News Features

CJ: N.C. congressmen explain votes on cap-and-trade
RALEIGH — One of the centerpieces of the Obama administration’s agenda is H.R. 2998, the so-called cap-and-trade legislation, which passed the House of Representatives June 26 by a narrow 219-212 margin.

CJ: Kentucky interested in reviews of large families
RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Revenue’s policy of reviewing tax returns from large families, and withholding refunds from couples who refuse to comply, has gained the interest of tax officials in Kentucky.

CJ: Inclusionary zoning again in play in Charlotte?
CHARLOTTE — Families displaced by the recession and the rising number of homeless have elevated concerns about affordable housing in Charlotte. Some civic organizations and nonprofits have resumed calls for mandatory inclusionary zoning, a controversial policy that forces developers to reserve a certain number of units in any new project for low-income residents.

Democrats agree on $1B tax plan
RALEIGH — North Carolina legislative leaders completed a retooled $1 billion tax plan yesterday that includes an income-tax surcharge for higher wage earners to secure a state budget deal and to allay concerns of Gov. Bev Perdue. House and Senate Democrats reached a tentative agreement on a package that’s largely similar to one that fizzled last week.

CJ: The health-care debate comes to North Carolina
RALEIGH — As President Obama was in North Carolina yesterday defending his health-care plan, Democrats on Capitol Hill worked to solidify a deal that could help the plan advance through Congress, and Obama welcomed the agreement. “I’m especially grateful that so many members, including some Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee, are working so hard to find common ground,” he said.



Upcoming Events

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 11:30 a.m.
Health Care Policy Luncheon Briefing
with our special guest Consumer-Driven Health Care Experts
What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Health Care Reform: Why Consumer-Driven Health Care is the Only Way to Reform U.S.Health Care

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 11:30 a.m.
Health Care Policy Luncheon Briefing
with our special guest Consumer-Driven Health Care Experts
What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Health Care Reform: Why Consumer-Driven Health Care is the Only Way to Reform the U.S. Health Care System

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 11:30 a.m.
Health Care Policy Luncheon Briefing
with our special guests Consumer-Driven Health Care Experts
What Small Business Owners Need To Know About Health Care Reform: Why Consumer-Driven Health Care is the only way to reform the U.S. Health Care System

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 11:30 am
Health Care Policy Luncheon Briefing
with our special guests Consumer-Driven Health Care Experts
What All Business Owners Need To Know: Why Consumer-Driven Health Care Is the Only Way to Reform U.S. Health Care

Monday, August 24, 2009 at August 24-August 28
Appalachian Institution Retreat
with our special guest Dr. Michael Zuckert
"What the Founders Thought"


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

Capital Quotes

It does show that every year we’re making progress but the bill is not by any means a compromise bill like some people are saying.
Doug Aitken, president of the Fair Annexation Coalition, commenting to the Asheville Citizen-Times on the annexation bill the Senate is getting ready to consider.

It’s ridiculous in my mind that we weren’t already doing it.
— Gov. Bev Perdue, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer, on a recently completed upgrade to state  computer systems that allows police officers to instantly determine if someone is on probation.

I’m getting ready to vote on something I know absolutely nothing about.
— Rep. Johnathan Rhyne, R-Lincoln, as quoted by the Winston-Salem Journal, on a proposal before a House judiciary committee to exception hookah bars — establishments were tobacco is inhaled through long pipes — from the state’s ban on smoking ban in restaurants and bars.

I didn’t either until two weeks ago.
— Rep. Cullie Tarleton, D-Watauga, responding to Rhyne. Tarleton is leading the push for the hookah bar exemption.


On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Joe Coletti discusses a new Web site that provides details on government spending; N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson and Bob Orr of the N.C.Institute for Constitutional Law react to a judge’s ruling on who runs K-12 education; Rep. Deborah Ross and Paul Meyer of the N.C. League of Municipalities discuss public records law; legislators debate reforms to the state’s forced annexation law; and JLF’s John Hood provides an update on three high-profile North Carolinians snagged in public corruption scandals.


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: Where the state budget stands; the latest school governance issues; President Obama’s trip to North Carolina; and the annexation bill passed by the House. This week’s panelists: John Hood and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory.


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 www.nbc17.com.

 

© 2009 John Locke Foundation | 200 West Morgan St., Raleigh, NC 27601, (919) 828-3876

 

---

Material published here may be reprinted provided the
Locke Foundation receives prior notice and appropriate credit is given.

 

Who Is John Locke

JLF Network Websites & Blogs