At the General Assembly’s summer school, playing hooky can postpone the final exam.
Pivotal override votes on four bills Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed could be delayed during today’s special session due to lawmakers unable to attend. House Rules Chairman David Lewis said Republican legislative leaders won’t take up the vetoes if low attendance means they don’t have enough votes to prevail.
Extra legislative sessions are unpredictable. Since agendas can change on the fly, we’re taking this opportunity to weigh in on four bills that earned Cooper’s veto stamp in case they come to a vote.
• Higher costs for beleaguered borrowers
Everything costs more when you’re poor, and access to credit is no exception. To prevent subprime lenders from further punishing borrowers of modest means, Cooper vetoed House Bill 140. The bill would allow lenders to issue credit insurance for property used to secure loans.
The “junk insurance” pays less than $9 in claims for every $100 borrowers pay, according to N.C. Department of Insurance figures. The consumer loan industry lobbied for the advantageous amendment to what began as a dental insurance bill.
Lawmakers should stand up for consumers, not predatory lenders, and let HB 140 die.
• Hiding public notices in plain sight
State Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford, secured an amendment to House Bill 205 that would allow local governments in Guilford County to post public notices on their own websites instead of advertising in newspapers.
The switch would make public information more difficult to find. City and county government websites see about 10 percent of the daily traffic their newspaper counterparts command. Citizens without internet access would be left out in the cold.
Taking a vital task away from the private sector and giving it to municipalities to do less effectively is an odd hill for small-government Republicans to fight on. This veto should be sustained.
• A sweetheart deal for ‘garbage juice’
In his veto message rejecting House Bill 576, which would allow wastewater and leachate to be filtered, turned into an aerosol spray and dispersed over land as fertilizer, Cooper didn’t raise environmental concerns. Instead, he noted that the aerosolization technique is patented and that the bill effectively “mandates a technology winner, limiting future advancements that may provide better protection.”
We thought conservatives didn’t believe in government picking winners and losers. Environmental watchdogs say the aerosolized waste, aka garbage juice, could be a dangerous contaminant. This stinky bill should be kept off the books.
• Let charities hold casino game nights
HB 511, a common-sense bill that would allow charities and nonprofit groups to hold quarterly game night fundraisers earned Cooper’s thumbs-down because the governor worries video poker operators could take advantage.
We think those fears are overblown. Cooper’s veto cracks down not on back-alley dice games, but charity fundraisers that support worthy causes.
Of the governor’s four vetoes, this is the only one that deserves an override vote.
— The Wilson Times