Carolina Journal Weekly Report

March 09, 2012

Carolina Journal Weekly Report
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For the week of March 09, 2012 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — The legality of video gambling in North Carolina in the form of sweepstakes machines may soon go before the state Supreme Court. This comes after a divided panel of the state’s second highest court found a recently passed law that aimed to outlaw the machines an unconstitutional violation of free-speech rights, reports Carolina Journal.

In July 2010, the General Assembly passed House Bill 80, codified as N.C. General Statue § 14-306.4, which prohibited any sweepstakes utilizing an “entertaining display.” The state already had banned video poker; the bill intended to ban its successor, sweepstakes machines. Instead of being a game of chance, sweepstakes parlors offered the chance to redeem entries with predetermined results on video screens featuring games. Sweepstakes entries typically were tied to the purchase of another product, such as Internet time or prepaid phone cards. One could, however, enter by mail at no charge.

A number of companies offering sweepstakes machines went to court to challenge the constitutionality of the law. Superior Judge John O. Craig III held a portion of the law was unconstitutionally vague.

Both sides appealed his ruling, bringing the issue before the Court of Appeals.

“We agree with plaintiffs and conclude that the entirety of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-306.4 is an unconstitutionally overbroad regulation of free speech,” wrote Judge Ann Marie Calabria, striking down the law in its entirety.

The state argued that the law regulated conduct, not speech. The appeals court agreed that this is what the law tried to do, but that the “broad manner in which the statute attempt[ed] to regulate this conduct is problematic.”

News Features

CJ: A ‘gerrymander’ or ‘dummymander’?
RALEIGH — Several political analysts note that the impact of a gerrymandered redistricting plan diminishes over time as political and demographic factors shift. That presents opportunities for the political party not in power — in this case, the Democrats — to make inroads.

CJ: Runoff fever could hit North Carolina this summer
RALEIGH — North Carolina could see a cluster of runoff elections this summer due to the high number of candidates seeking their party’s nomination for state and federal offices.

CJ: Teacher suspended over chicken nugget incident
RALEIGH — The Hoke County School District has suspended the teacher who substituted homemade lunches from preschoolers Jan. 30. State officials have said substituting bag lunches did not violate state policy.

CJ: Railroads won’t say if they’re on board with Wake transit plan
RALEIGH — The Wake County Transit Plan proposes building commuter rail from Durham to Garner and light rail from Cary to Raleigh. The plan assumes cooperation from three private railroad companies, but so far none of the companies has given permission to use its tracks.

CJ: Incentives, low property taxes boost N.C. rank
RALEIGH — Large corporations looking to reduce their tax bills would do well to consider North Carolina, according to a new report published by the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation.

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest John Hood
"Ronald Reagan's Action Hero: The Story of John Carter, Warlord of Mars."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 7:30 PM
2012 John William Pope Lecture
with our special guest Meghan L. O'Sullivan
"Making Sense of the New Middle East: The Dynamics and Their Implications for US Interests"

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
A Citizens' Constitutional Workshop in Morehead City, NC
with our special guests Dr. Troy Kickler & Dr. Michael Sanera
Workshop #2 in Morehead City: "What would the Federalists and Anti-federalists say about the current political and economic crises?"

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

Capital Quotes

The Southern primaries are dominated by very conservative voters, and a lot of them don’t think Romney is sufficiently conservative.
Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University, talking to the Charlotte Observer about the race for Republican presidential nomination.

Until people start to drop out in the Republican field, North Carolina is looking like it’s going to be more and more in play.
Hal Weatherman, a former top aide to U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-9th, talking to the Associated Press about the possibility of a contested North Carolina Republican presidential primary on May 8.

Fiscal pressures are not a blanket exemption from civil rights requirements.
— Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, as quoted by the Associated Press in a letter to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, finding that the state discriminates against those that do not speak English, resulting in their serving longer prison terms.

North Carolina taxpayers should not have to bear further burdens after paying one of the highest gas taxes in the country.
— Rep. Renee Ellmer, R-2nd, as quoted by the Fayetteville Observer, talking about a bill she has filled to prohibit North Carolina from imposing a toll to improve Interstate 95.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Terry Stoops refutes myths about N.C.’s spending on K-12 students; Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Ethics Commission Director Perry Newson, and State Board of Elections Chairman Larry Leake comment on combining election-related operations into one agency; interested parties debate Program Evaluation Division idea of closing museums to save state funds; former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake discusses the impact of the Actual Innocence Commission; Carolina Journal’s Rick Henderson reports on $56 million appropriated to produce “green jobs” reports.

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. This week’s show features a special interview with Bill Friday, former President of the North Carolina University System and host of “North Carolina People.”


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