Under the Dome

Dome: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest gets a new gavel

Staff writersMarch 5, 2013 

Dan Forest

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has a new gavel to wield over the N.C. Senate.

House Speaker Thom Tillis surprised Forest and presented him with the new gavel made from heart pine during Saturday’s Mecklenburg Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner. It is made from the same wood as Tillis’ own gavel.

On Tillis’ Facebook page, he writes that the wood comes from the state tree, the Long Leaf Pine.

“The tree was a sapling around the time of the founding of our nation. It was felled around 1825 and used to build a house near Speed, North Carolina. The house was ‘visited’ by Sherman’s troops during the Civil War but the house was not destroyed. 150 years later it was used to turn historic gavels now in the hands of the leaders of the NC Senate and NC House. I am proud to share that history with my friend and my Lt. Governor,” Tillis wrote.

McCrory prayed with Graham

During a swing last week through Western North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory made a point to visit with Rev. Billy Graham at his home in Montreat – just as so many Republicans politicians before have done.

In a statement that accompanied a photo from the governor’s office, McCrory said: “He is such an inspiration and has been for generations. At the end of our meeting we prayed together: for me, my family, but most importantly for the state.”

Registering human traffickers

The Senate Judiciary I committee last week approved a bill to add human trafficking to the list of offenses that require registration on the sex offender registry if committed against a minor, even if the trafficking isn’t for sex, reports Patrick Gannon of The Insider. Gannon writes:

“The bill would also require registration for those who traffic adults with the intent that they be held in ‘sexual servitude.’ Human trafficking is defined in the statute as when a person harbors or transports another person with the intent of holding that person in involuntary servitude or sexual servitude.

“The words ‘involuntary servitude’ in the statute led to a discussion during the committee meeting about whether those who kidnap and hold minors against their will but do not commit, or intend to commit, sexual crimes against them should be placed on the sex offender registry because of the societal stigma that comes with it. Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, the bill sponsor, said he believed the state should err on the side of the victims for registration purposes. …

“Committee members also discussed whether a separate registry should be created. Tami Fitzgerald of the N.C. Values Coalition said her group supports the bill as a possible deterrent to sex trafficking. ‘It may start as domestic servitude, but it eventually ends up being sex trafficking … so being safe rather than sorry is probably the best route to go,’ she told the committee. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor next.”

Support for some gun control

A majority of North Carolinians support further gun regulations and support a new voter ID law, according to a new poll.

The Elon Poll found that 83 percent said they support waiting periods, 56 percent support banning the sale of semi-automatic assault rifles, while 55 percent would limit the number of rounds of ammunition in clips or magazines.

The survey also found that 72 percent of North Carolinians support the idea of requiring voters to show photo identification before being allowed to vote. More than 97 percent of the respondents said they have some form of photo identification.

The survey of 891 residents was conducted Feb. 24-28 and had a margin of error of 3.28 percent.

Staff writers John Frank and Rob Christensen

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