Nearly every public school district in North Carolina is forcing face masks on students. Researchers are sounding the alarm about the psychological, physical, social, developmental, and academic harms of masks on young schoolchildren. With the benefits so uncertain and the potential costs so large, we must be asking whether these mandates are really worth it.
An earlier version of the House budget would have relaxed some of the restrictions North Carolina places on its licensed opticians. Those reforms would have followed some of the John Locke Foundation's principles for reforming occupational licensing, including universal license recognition as well as moving the state in the right direction toward a least-cost-state standard. The reforms were not in the final House budget, but they could be restored in the final conference report.
Data from the CDC and state DHHS show that North Carolina has not been suffering excess deaths from Covid-19 since mid-March 2021. While Covid-19 is still out there, its effect on North Carolina is no longer causing a statistical anomaly in terms of deaths, meaning it is behaving more and more like an endemic virus, such as a flu, not a pandemic. If North Carolina is no longer witnessing excess deaths owing to Covid-19, then why does Gov. Cooper still keep the state in the minority of U.S. states still under a "State of Emergency"?
A new report published by a left-wing group included policy recommendations they claim will help hourly workers. The recommendations, however, largely introduce more restrictions, costs, and burdens to hiring hourly workers, which leads to less hiring. A better recipe to help hourly workers would be to peel back layers of government meddling in the labor market, not introduce more layers.
The state licensing board for massage and bodywork said reflexologists didn't practice massage and bodywork — then they changed their mind. House Bill 434 would ward off this licensing threat by creating a state healing arts commission to oversee reflexologists and music therapists, with other practices sure to be added. North Carolina needs structural overhaul of its occupational regulation, especially a careful, thoughtful approach in law to make sure any future regulation of a practice is the "least restrictive regulation necessary to protect consumers" and "demonstrably necessary and narrowly tailored to legitimate health, safety, and welfare objectives."
North Carolina is one of only ten states that continue to schoolchildren to all be masked. Elected officials want mask policies to be in the hands of local communities and not the Cooper administration. A recent ABC Science Collaborative study of COVID-19 transmission in schools is misleading and ignores scientific research on the harms of face coverings.
In 2018, the state Division of Health Service Regulation determined that the people of North Carolina "needed" one — and only one — new mobile PET scanner. Three years and a fight in the courts later, we still don't even have that, but we do have a record of the bad behavior inspired by this "Soviet-style" central planning. This episode illustrates why North Carolina should join the 15 states that have already repealed their CON laws.
Research continues to find serious, deadly effects of lockdowns and severe government restrictions over Covid-19, such as Gov. Cooper's, while failing to find evidence of their purported benefits. From March 2020 through January 2021 (the end of available data), under Cooper's unrelenting orders, North Carolina has been witnessing a second excess death event other than Covid-19. It is disheartening to see evidence of an ongoing, non-Covid death event months and months after citing science and data to sound the alarm repeatedly in the hopes of warding off such grim results.
North Carolina's ABC system is convoluted, but the state makes it worse with its own unique set of restrictions limiting homegrown alcohol businesses. Legislation this year would relax some restrictions on distilleries, bars, and restaurants, and study other potential changes.
Occupational licensing imposes many costly burdens on would-be workers: taking hundreds of hours of coursework, passing required exams, logging job experience, paying license fees, etc. A bill that passed the House unanimously would significantly reduce the years of experience required for practitioners of cosmetic arts to qualify for licenses to teach those practices.
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