By Tanner Nau, Locke Communications Intern
As the legislative session begins in Raleigh, many issues are facing North Carolinians. Gas prices are at historic highs, inflation is skyrocketing, and the recent horrors of mass shootings in other states across the country induce anxiety in our schools.
Needless to say, North Carolinians are eager for action among their state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to use their legislative authority for good. Many representatives use this time before election season to focus on key issues in hopes of showing a good track record to boast about in November.
House Bill 755, titled Parents Bill of Rights, aims to bolster academic transparency between parents and public-school administrators over concerns of classroom content as well as healthcare decisions. Other bills pertaining to important issues such as healthcare and abortion rights have been filed, but one representative is eager to make changes to a lesser known cause; to establish a program to increase diversity and inclusion within the pickleball community.
I assure you, that is not a typo. Democratic Representative James Roberson of House District 39 introduced a bill Wednesday that would allocate over $10,000 to NC State, from the general fund, to start a pilot program to increase the diversity in the sport of pickleball. H.B. 1073, titled Pickleball Pilot Program, would aim to establish “a competitive setting that is multiculturally and socioeconomically inclusive.”
In conjunction with the North Carolina State University’s College of Natural Resources, the pilot program would operate in the fall of 2022 as well as spring of 2023 at two public parks in Wake County. Various Twitter users have responded to the bill as “ridiculous”, while one user referred to it as a possible headline in the popular satirical news website, The Onion.
Complaints over fiscal misuse are not new however, especially at the federal level with the spendthrift Biden administration already spending trillions and we have yet to pass the half-way point in the term. Initiatives such as this pickleball endeavor have frustrated many who believe that taxpayer dollars are being misallocated in the name of diversity efforts. Many feel that because there are no structural or discriminatory barriers to entry into pickleball leagues, the lack of diversity is a natural byproduct of personal choice and preference. Furthermore, the Global Pickleball Network lists only 309 active pickleball players residing in Raleigh.
Compared to other sports popular in the triangle, pickleball players make up such a small minority of the active community. Initiatives like this have many citizens pondering if their tax dollars even go to something that will greatly impact the community or rather will be used for redundant social programs that virtually no constituents need. North Carolinians and Americans need policies that are centered at remedying the effects of rising costs of everyday necessities such as food and gas, not partaking in these dubious pickleball politics.
Tanner Nau is the Communications Intern at the John Locke Foundation. He is a rising sophomore at Rhodes College.