Barry Smith reports for Carolina Journal on a push by the state’s Child Care Commission:

Earlier this year, the Rules Review Commission, which reviews administrative rules before they’re implemented, had qualms with the rule, with staff and some members saying the Child Care Commission didn’t have authority to implement such a rule. Some say that it was in conflict with a state law exempting child care centers operated by churches and other religious organizations from some state regulations. 

The Rules Review Commission didn’t reject the rule outright when it reviewed it. And Alexandra Gruber, an attorney representing the Child Care Commission, said she didn’t know how the Rules Review Commission would rule on the proposed rule if it goes back.

“There’s probably a split in that commission as to whether that statue would apply,” Gruber said.

Garth Dunklin, a member of the Rules Review Commission, agreed with Gruber on the uncertainty of the rule’s fate.

“Given our previous discussions on this matter, I can’t say how the commission will vote,” Dunklin said.

Dunklin, however, said he still believes that the rule exceeds the Child Care Commission’s authority.

“They don’t have any authority with respect to religious matters, one way or another,” Dunklin said.

Dunklin goes on to say that he believes the rule is direct conflict with another statute.

That statute says, “Nothing in this article shall be interpreted to allow the state to determine the training or curriculum offered in any religious-sponsored child care facility.”