Under North Carolina law, absentee ballots can be delivered in person legally only by the voter or a near relative. Regardless, the North Carolina State Board of Elections requires county boards of elections to accept illegally transmitted ballots, no questions asked. Either the State Board of Elections should modify its no-questions-asked policy or the General Assembly should clarify what should be done with illegally transmitted ballots.
SB 689 would take up recent Locke recommendations for broadband expansion. It would charge broadband providers fairer rates for utility-pole attachments, including the net book value of any pole needing replacement, and expedite resolution by the NC Utilities Commission of any pole-attachment disputes.
Reforming the Emergency Management Act is about good governance, regardless of who resides in the governor’s mansion. No individual should have the power unilaterally to deprive citizens of their liberty for an extended period. Reforms would still allow for rapid responses for true emergencies.
Even though state agencies craft rules on authority given them by the General Assembly, it's very difficult for the legislature to disapprove a rule. HB 327, a bill to clarify the process by which legislators can review rules, should add the legislative rules ratification process that's worked well in Florida for over a decade.
Senate Bill 326 would stop the privatization of election funding, require absentee ballots to be returned by election day, as is required in most states, and provide funding to help people get voter IDs.
On March 17, 2020, Gov. Cooper used emergency powers to shut down restaurants and bars to in-person eating and drinking, and he did so without concurrence from the Council of State, as required by the EMA. Cooper then claimed authority elsewhere in state law, setting a dangerous precedent that legislators must fix by reforming the EMA.
State law allowing ballots to be returned up to three days after election day if postmarked by election day creates confusion and opportunities for mischief. Those who vote by mail should submit their ballot by election day.
Last week South Dakota became the ninth state to pass universal license recognition since 2019. Bill language introduced last year before the General Assembly would offer a way for North Carolina to join those reform states.
North Carolina's archaic certificate-of-need laws leave the state with significant deficits in psychiatric hospitals and substance abuse facilities — and higher prices. North Carolina should join the 15 other states that eliminated certificate-of-need laws.
Program Evaluation Division has served a useful purpose, but it was limited in what it could recommend. Partisan staff can more easily identify solutions, provide strategic advice, and answer “why” questions.
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