The General Assembly passed a number of laws this past session that prompted city and county officials to object that the state was sticking its nose in local business. Here’s another:
A superior court judge last week issued a temporary restraining order delaying a new law from going into effect that removed four trustees from the Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees, effective this past Thursday.
The four former trustees are all either registered Democrats or independents, and were appointed by the Democratic-led Lee County school board. Four appointees from the Republican-majority Lee County Board of Commissioners were not replaced.
The four removed trustees – Tony Lett, Chet Mann, Janet Perkinson Hayes and Norman Post Jr. – filed suit Thursday asking a judge to declare the law unconstitutional on several grounds, including that it is “arbitrary and capricious.”
The bill, HB512, was sponsored by Rep. Mike Stone, a Republican from Sanford. It removed the four trustees before their terms ended, and prevented them from seeking re-election immediately.
The Sanford Herald reported that Stone said he didn’t know about the lawsuit, but said the legislation was “totally legit” and would benefit the college and local communities.
Apology to GOP
TV host and columnist D.G. Martin has apologized for a column he wrote that offended state Republican leaders.
The state Republican Party on Friday asked UNC-TV to suspend longtime literary program host Martin and evaluate its relationship with him over a recent newspaper column he wrote invoking comparisons between Nazi Germany and the General Assembly.
Martin wrote in a column that appears in newspapers around the state quoting from a recent bestseller by Erik Larson, “In the Garden of Beasts,” that refers to comments by Joseph Goebbels. “Now our party is in charge and they are free again,” Goebbels is quoted as saying. “When a man has been in jail for twelve years and he is suddenly freed, in his joy he may do something irrational, perhaps even brutal.”
To which Martin added the question, “In our state, too?”
GOP Chairman Claude Pope issued a statement calling the column “inexcusable, disgusting and shameful.” Pope refers to Martin as a “left-wing zealot who is parading as a television host in front of dozens of viewers to take his next job alongside Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.”
The newspaper column and the TV program are unrelated.
Martin, meanwhile, had this to say to Dome: “I think I understand their point. I am very sorry that I offended some people and I apologize.”
Farm bill action sought
Rep. Mike McIntyre, a senior Democrat on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner asking the Republican leader to take action needed to move ahead on a new agriculture law.
Both the House and Senate have passed their versions of the bill and must set up a conference committee of members of both chambers to work out differences. The Senate has named its members, but the House has not. The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30. Congress goes out on its August break today. When it gets back in September, it will have only 11 days before the bill expires.
The letter asked Boehner to name the conference committee members immediately so that they can use the five-week break to work on an agreement that both the House and Senate can pass.
“Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in North Carolina with one out of every five jobs related to farming and agri-business. Therefore, it is critical that Congress pass a Farm Bill and provide certainty to our farmers!” McIntyre said in a statement on Friday.
His office said 50 lawmakers signed the letter to Boehner and sent it on Thursday. Boehner’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Staff writer Craig Jarvis and McClatchy Washington Bureau writer Renee Schoof
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