Under the Dome

Dome: NC bill would ban co-ed apartments on UNC-CH campus

Staff writersApril 2, 2013 

A state Senate bill filed Tuesday would prohibit UNC-Chapel Hill students sharing campus apartments with the opposite sex.

Last year, the UNC-CH Board of Trustees voted to allow students to live in suites or apartments with students of the opposite sex. Students said the move was necessary to give gay and transgender students comfortable living arrangements. Students of the opposite sex share common areas, but not bedrooms.

Senate Bill 658 says students of the opposite sex cannot be assigned the same suite, apartment or dorm room unless they are siblings or are legally married.

“UNC did not become a national leader in academics by wasting time and tax dollars on frivolous social experiments,” Sen. David Curtis, the bill’s primary sponsor, said in a statement. Curtis is a Lincoln County Republican.

Without election, limited power

Unelected local governmental entities such as special districts and authorities wouldn’t be able to impose taxes or condemn property without approval from the board of commissioners of the county they’re in, under a proposed constitutional amendment outlined in a bill filed Tuesday.

The bill is aimed at curtailing the power of local boards like the sewer district in Buncombe County and the proposed airport authority in Charlotte, which have generated controversy.

“They’re not scrutinized like they ought to be, and I think at the end of the day, if you’re going to condemn or tax you ought to have to go to somebody that’s elected by the people and get permission to do so,” Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt of Asheville told reporters.

Nesbitt endorsed the bill by accompanying its sponsor, freshman Sen. Ben Clark, a Democrat from Fayetteville. Nesbitt said Clark came to him with the idea, and he liked it.

Nesbitt noted that some Republicans in the legislature have supported submitting to voters a constitutional amendment restricting condemnation, so he was hopeful there might be bipartisan agreement on this proposal, Senate Bill 705.

Goodwin clarifies special club

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said Tuesday he plans to change a fundraising solicitation for his “Commissioners Club” that raised eyebrows for how it promised donors access to private dinners and a special newsletter.

The Democrat said any concerns about the email sent earlier this week to potential donors was “more a function of poor wording” than special favors for donors. “In looking at it, I can see how it would be interpreted,” he said. “I have a lengthy history of supporting transparency and campaign finances that provide footing for all voters,” he said.

In an interview, Goodwin said he wanted to create a way for friends and supporters who can’t give thousands of dollars to sponsor events that ability to donate modest amounts monthly and earn “sponsor” status. “I’d much rather ask friends and supporters to help out a little at a time than to get bombarded all at once,” he said. He does not have a professional fundraiser work for his campaign but relies upon volunteers, he said.

Goodwin also said the regular email with “exclusive updates” is just a newsletter recapping his public activities and remarks, not featuring special information for donors. He said it is much different than what the controversial nonprofit tied to Gov. Pat McCrory is offering in its special briefings for major donors. “It summarizes things I say everyday ... so it’s nothing different than what I’ve said in other venues,” he said. “I’m very accessible.”

Gun exemption bill back

A gun bill filed Tuesday resurrects an attempt by former Rep. Glen Bradley of Youngsville that went nowhere last session. It would exempt from all federal regulations any firearm, accessory or ammunition made and kept in North Carolina. (He also tried to give North Carolina its own currency.)

A gun like that would have to be stamped with “Made in North Carolina,” under the bill.

There’s a new twist in this year’s version, however: It says that any federal agent who tries to enforce federal firearm laws would be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Sponsors are Republican Reps. Bert Jones of Reidsville, Bryan Holloway of King, Rayne Brown of Lexington, and Chris Millis of Hampstead.

Staff writers Lynn Bonner, Craig Jarvis and John Frank

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