Received a short while ago via e-mail:
SB 734 - Regulatory Reform Act of 2014
Senate Republicans recently passed the fourth regulatory reform bill in four years. This bill continues the process of reforming state rule-making processes while at the same time increasing protections for the citizens and environment in North Carolina. It removes much of the unnecessary red tape from various processes, making it easier for people and businesses to obtain permits to operate. It also removes regulations that increase the burden on small businesses but do little to serve the public interest.
Bolding mine. In true Republican doublespeak form, the bill in question does the exact opposite as Senator Gunn claims:
Then there was the latest manifestation of mostly pro-pollution legal changes masquerading as "regulatory reform": SB 734, "Regulatory Reform Act of 2014". In its 61 pages of densely packed technical changes, the bill included backwards moves like these:
•Effectively de-regulates destruction of most 'isolated' wetlands by raising the threshold for exemption from permitting to a full acre of wetland. The current threshold is one-third acre east of I-95 and one-tenth acre west of I-95. Even when a wetland impact is large enough to require a permit, the amount of mitigation required when a wetland is destroyed is also cut in half. (So-called 'isolated' wetlands are often the most critical wildlife habitat and nurture rare and threatened species, in addition to their water quality protection values.)
•Orders the removal of all state air quality monitoring stations that are not required by federal law. (Critics say this would threaten public health by eliminating about half of North Carolina's air pollution monitoring stations, leaving gaping holes in public information on pollution levels.)
•Provides blanket immunity from civil and administrative penalties and fines for environmental violations, if those are discovered through an environmental audit and voluntarily disclosed. [Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) North Carolina office director Derb Carter calls that "more customer service from the legislature to polluters. Penalties are a deterrent to polluters. Waiving civil penalties for self-reported violations creates an incentive to pollute then self-report later." Read more here.]
•Weakens Jordan Lake riparian buffer protections by exempting from local rules any stream piping allowed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Not only did the sponsors of SB 734 push a poisoned package through its first Senate test intact, they blocked efforts by opponents to put to a vote amendments which would take out some of its most egregious provisions. One of these was the bill's elimination of half of North Carolina's air quality monitors: http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/video/13668787/
And when he's not outright lying like the above, Senator Gunn is a master at leaving important things out:
Though there are many positive aspects in this budget, there is only time to discuss a few here today:
· The adjustments provide public school teachers an average $5,800 permanent pay raise beginning July 1 – more than an 11 percent increase on average. The $468 million investment boosts North Carolina twenty spots in national rankings – from 47th in overall teacher pay to 27th – and from 9th to 3rd in the Southeast, propelling the state ahead of Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina.
Not one word about teachers being blackmailed into giving up their tenure to be eligible for this raise, probably because the courts have already decided taking away their tenure violates the US Constitution:
“The General Assembly's action with respect to sections 9.6 and 9.7 of session law 2013-360 clearly violates the contract clause of the United States Constitution,” said Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood during his ruling.
Hobgood ruled that taking away teacher tenure was unconstitutional because teachers had already earned it and it's part of their employment contract.
I'd love to find out how Gunn's people got hold of my e-mail address. I didn't give it to them, and the fact that it's geographically accurate (his District) tells me it was parsed from a list that had e-mail and snail mail addresses, or some form of IP address locator. Whatever the case, it's somewhat unsettling.