Editorial: Veto pen of governor is needed

Jul. 29, 2013 @ 10:52 PM

In the latest version of “do as we say, not as we do,” the General Assembly gave the City Council of Henderson and the Vance County commissioners a new rule to play by last week.

If it slipped by, don’t feel bad — there were so many provisions tacked onto bills in the final days even the governor was stumped. At his press conference Friday, scheduled in advance for the purpose of responding to the adjournment, he wasn’t familiar with every bill and especially a major one related to voting.

Henderson and Vance County weren’t singled out, but we were lumped in with every other local government when it comes to rules about our water and air quality, wildlife, public health, mining and energy. If either local government body decides on regulations stricter than the federal government, all members will have to be on the same page when voting. If not unanimous, federal regulations must stand.

That will be the new law, part of many provisions to House Bill 74, if Gov. Pat McCrory signs it. Or, if he doesn’t, in 30 days from the close of the session it will become law anyway.

At least the provision that could have made North Carolina a site for mega-dumps was left out. We begged with a lot of others.

Already, the GOP-dominated houses have decided decisions on the state’s busiest major airport were better made in Raleigh. Same for a business development in Durham opposed by its City Council. And a water system in Asheville.

Ironically, a foundation of Republicans is smaller government. But this is too small.

With this change, one disgruntled or cantankerous member could disrupt an action that has been roundly endorsed by all others of the government body, and perhaps even through a public hearing.

One person shouldn’t have that ability. Not when it comes to water and air quality, wildlife, public health, mining and energy.

House Bill 74 needs to be vetoed and untangled, so good provisions within it can come forward, and bad ones can be eliminated.