We're not sure how the notion arose that outdoor clotheslines are something akin to a public nuisance, appropriately banned in any self-respecting neighborhood. What we are sure of is that a natural process for drying clothes that avoids use of an electricity-hogging machine dryer is one that helps conserve energy and also saves money. (Not wanting to get bogged down in aesthetics, no judgment will be passed here on the relative touchy-feely-sniffy merits of clothes dried in the great outdoors by God's own sun and wind versus clothes dried and shriveled in a hot, spinning tin can.)
State senators had a chance to stand tall for the venerable clothesline. But members of the Commerce Committee -- were certain senators' machine-dried knickers too tight? -- decided that the state shouldn't presume to override local anti-clothesline rules.
A bill sponsored by Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro still would have allowed homeowners' associations to make clotheslines verboten. But municipalities no longer could have banned them. Harrison had the right idea: If people aren't embarrassed to put their laundry on the line (and why should they be?), then they ought to have that privilege.