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 In the News, August 17, 2010 

ABC SYSTEM

Editorial: Following reform, ABC privatization deserves study. The Alcohol Beverage Control reform bill signed recently by Gov. Beverly Perdue makes needed changes to how the state conducts the sale of liquor. A handful of recent scandals involving local ABC boards prompted the measure, and both the content and speed of Raleigh’s response is commendable. Absent from that legislation is any mention of privatization, an option that could modernize the ABC system, raise additional revenue and, most importantly, serve citizens more effectively. Imposition of these reforms should not eliminate that possibility from consideration as part of a comprehensive examination of alcohol sales in North Carolina.

 

ANNEXATION

Editorial: N.C. should abandon annexation law. North Carolina is only one of five states that still permits forced annexation without representation.  America was founded by people who crossed the Atlantic to escape such treatment under Kings Rule.  Annexation was originally intended to fill in holes on boundary maps and make it easier for municipalities to provide services to areas in need. Annexation is intended to give municipalities the ability to provide services to urban areas that don’t already enjoy those services such as water, sewer and trash pickup. In reality, the State’s annexation laws give municipalities the power to forcibly annex areas that already have expensive infrastructure installed and who already have police, fire and trash service. That power permits a land grab with the only motivation being the collection of millions of additional tax dollars with little or no expense.

Suit filed against West Jefferson to render ETJ ordinance invalid. In the ongoing conflict over implementation of the West Jefferson extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) ordinance, ETJ resident and vocal opponent to the ordinance, Cynthia Wadsworth, has fired the next shot. On Aug. 5, Wadsworth filed suit in Superior Court against the Town of West Jefferson asserting that the town violated North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) 106A-364 in making amendments to the ETJ without holding a new public hearing prior to voting on the ordinance. "The amendments are substantially different from the ordinance provided with the initial notifications and the zoning map changed with no prior notice," Wadsworth asserts in the court document provided to the Ashe Mountain Times by her.

 

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Mandatory collective bargaining dead, for now. Recent efforts to pass mandatory federal collective bargaining legislation (H.R. 413/S.1611/S. 3194) failed. The “one-size-fits-all” bill would require that every state, county, city and town collectively bargain with their police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and corrections officers, regardless of state and local laws. NLC has opposed this legislation since it was first introduced 15 years ago by Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.).  Last month, the House included the legislation in an amendment to its version of the supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 4899), which contained much needed funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The amendment also contained billions of dollars in domestic funding.  When the bill returned to the Senate for consideration, the Senate rejected the House's amendment largely because of the additional funding and returned its original version back to the House for consideration. The House eventually passed the Senate version of the bill, which the President signed into law on July 29, 2010.

 

SWEEPSTAKES CAFES

Blog: The Internet Sweepstakes industry fights back. To no one’s surprise, the passage of H.B. 80 banning internet sweepstakes as of December 2010 has not put the issue to bed once and for all.  Last month the two internet sweepstakes software vendors that in 2008 convinced a Guilford County judge to prevent the state from criminally prosecuting sweepstakes operators went back before that same judge to argue that H.B. 80 shouldn’t be enforceable either.  And last week those same two plaintiffs sued five cities alleging that the cities’ privilege license taxes on sweepstakes operators violated federal law.  This new round of litigation demonstrates that there is far too much money at stake for the sweepstakes industry to go down without a fight.