Loading...
Judging by the number of folks charged with driving under influence I am guessing the penalty is rather light. Of...

Big issues ahead as lawmakers return to Raleigh

state seal

North Carolina's state seal marks the ground outside the legislature in Raleigh.

Loading…

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The new session of the General Assembly that convened at noon Wednesday may hold some interesting political twists and turns. Things have changed a bit, in an important way.

As it’s been throughout this decade, Republicans are in charge. But unlike the past few sessions, they no longer hold a “super majority,” with the votes to override any gubernatorial veto and the power to do anything they wish.

Voters, fed up with the excesses of one-party rule, turned out in record numbers for last November’s mid-term elections and chose more Democratic members of the House and Senate than they have since Republicans won both legislative branches in the 2010 election. Republicans’ grip has loosened and they need Democratic support to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes.

In theory, this should lead to a more cooperative, deliberative and maybe even open legislative session. We hope that’s true. So, we believe, do the voters, who are making it clear that they’re fed up with Raleigh’s secret circus, where legislation appears and is passed in the dark of night and we’re all stuck with the results.

As always, there are big issues to be dealt with, foremost among them a budget for the next two years. And within that budget lie important questions, foremost how we’ll pay our teachers and support our public education system. While we’ve seen gradual improvements in education funding, especially in the last session, our school funding still ranks in the bottom quarter of the country and our teachers’ pay is nowhere near the national median it hit before the Great Recession.

Thousands of teacher assistants have been furloughed and teachers still have to dig into their own pockets for supplies. There’s a pressing need for more school nurses, guidance counselors, psychologists and school resource officers. We need more big strides forward in school funding.

The state also has more work to do in disaster assistance and preparedness. Two hurricanes in two years, spreading devastating flooding over half the state, have delivered a blunt message: We aren’t ready for the ravages of a changing climate. That, and the coastal issues associated with rising sea levels, need attention. In addition to fixing what Matthew and Florence destroyed, we need to prevent that kind of damage every time we’re hit.

That means a long-term, comprehensive readiness program that emphasizes stormproofing homes, businesses, utilities and other infrastructure. We can’t have our sewer plants overflowing in every big storm. We need to clear buildings out of the most flood-prone zones and elevate others. Highways and bridges need strengthening and some need to be elevated. We can do that work now, or we can spend billions every time a new storm hits. The choice should be obvious.

We need further efforts against the pollution that has poisoned the drinking water of many households throughout the Cape Fear basin, and we’re talking about much more than GenX. The 1,4 dioxane coming down the river from the Triad is just as dangerous and the state has done even less to protect residents from it. That and the longstanding response of our lawmakers — a clueless shrug — needs to change too.

Economic development issues need to be addressed, especially in this corner of the state, which is lagging behind the prosperity enjoyed by residents of the Triangle, Charlotte and the Triad, among others. Rural economic development needs more than empty words and promises. It needs real action. And so does Medicaid expansion. Enough excuses. North Carolina’s working poor need help and expanding Medicaid will provide it, at minimal cost.

We hope lawmakers deal effectively and cooperatively with these and the many other issues they will encounter in the next two years. The voters are counting on it, and they’ve still got accountability on their mind.

The Fayetteville Observer

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

April 20, 2019

There are some, who after winning election to the General Assembly and crossing the threshold of the Legislative Building in Raleigh believe they’ve been transformed.

They acquire knowledge and insight beyond that of the hoi polloi.

That must be the only reason for the continued to raft of…

StateLegislature

April 16, 2019

The announcement that Kirstjen Nielsen was stepping down as Secretary of Homeland Security was sudden, but it wasn’t really a surprise. Never a favorite of President Trump, her days became numbered when her patron in the administration, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, resigned in December.…

Homeland Security Secretary-1

April 15, 2019

The day before his indictment was announced last week, Robin Hayes said he was stepping down as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party because of health issues. The next day, the public learned that what was driving Hayes from office wasn’t only his ailments, but the ill health of…

Republican Chairman

April 13, 2019

You know the game by now: A call comes into your mobile phone. A number pops up on your screen. You don’t recognize it. Your first instinct is to decline it, but what if it’s your child’s school? The auto repair guy? Something else? It’s a guessing game, and we’re the…

Kicking Robocalls-2

April 09, 2019

Walter Ginter began using heroin in the early 1970s while serving in the Army. By 1977, desperate to kick the habit, he turned to daily doses of methadone, a synthetic opioid that eases withdrawal and decreases cravings. The treatment worked.

“I have a good life today,” says Ginter, 69,…

Opioid Lawsuit New York

April 08, 2019

One of the first things we teach our children is to never, ever get into a stranger’s car.

In the age of Uber and Lyft, we all need to relearn that lesson. Along with: The later you’re out at night, the greater your chances of running into the wrong person. And: It’s always safer…

Uber Traffic Analysis

April 07, 2019

If you care about safe water for all, you should be celebrating the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to order Duke Energy to excavate coal ash from its power plant sites in the state. It was the right call for communities that for too long have been vulnerable to…

Duke Energy Coal Ash

April 07, 2019

As many of your readers are aware, State Treasurer Dale Folwell has chosen to forge ahead with his proposal to significantly alter the reimbursement strategy for health care providers who offer care under the State Health Plan. Citing concerns with the State Health Plan’s insolvency,…

April 06, 2019

Belatedly, it occurred to the Trump administration that closing the U.S.-Mexico border, as the president threatened, posed the risk of paralyzing manufacturing assembly lines, leaving grocery shelves bare and throwing the U.S. economy into a tailspin, if not outright recession. Bad idea.

So now the…

Trump Immigration

April 02, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court heard a lot last week about what is wrong with the way North Carolina’s congressional districts are laid out. There were no questions about the bad or the good.

The job of the nine justices isn’t about that — only what is or isn’t constitutional. It…

Supreme Court Redistricting-1
73 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 8
        Next Page»   Last Page»