Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Swearing on N.C. highways? %$@# yeah!

Lots going on during the first full week of the N.C. General Assembly's "short session." On the agenda today: A House vote on restricting how much cities and towns can charge for business privilege taxes, plus a Senate look at fracking that includes a controversial provision that would make it a felony to disclose the chemicals a company is using. The Senate also is considering a bill that would restrict how cities and towns can conduct inspections and enforce local ordinances. This ongoing theft of local government control, of course, is brought to you by the party of local control.

None of which is what many people are talking about today. Instead, the early buzz is about a provision in a new regulatory reform bill that would get rid of a ban on cursing on state highways. That's right, you can now peel the paint on the car next to you with a worry-free stream of expletives. 

That ban, according to a news release from Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger, is a century old, but it excludes Pitt and Swain counties. How did that come to be? Apparently, legislators wanted there to be two places, one in the east and one in the west, where North Carolinians could go to let it fly. In 1973, when a pair of state legislators proposed removing Swain from the exemption, Swain native and Buncombe County Rep. Herbert Hyde gave an impassioned (but curse-free) speech imploring the House to keep things as they were.

"There ought to be a refuge," Hyde said, "somewhere a man can go and when he is really provoked that he can say something with impunity."  

The rest of the bill does some substantial things, including clarifying that off-duty medical professionals giving aid are protected under the Good Samaritan law. There's also a worrisome provision that would waive civil penalties on anyone who self-discloses a threat to the environment. That's a potential loophole for environmental offenders; we'll know more when we get a closer look at the bill.

But at the top of the list on the news release? Oddly, it's the cursing and a scrapping of a ban on outside burning of logs over 6 inches. We're all for eliminating antiquated, unenforced regulations, but this is what we're trumpeting as "improving the state's climate for job growth"?

Maybe cursing is a legislative trend we just hadn't recognized.

Peter St. Onge


Garth Vader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Garth Vader said...

When reached for comment, Joe Biden declared, "This is &@(%ing big!"

Ghoul said...

Wow, if the legislature could just pass bills creating Teapot Museums and paying for relatives' private piers, then Pete would be so happy.

Larry said...

Imagine what the observer would have left to report if democrats were in office.

After all, you can only do so many public relations articles before even the sycophants/democrats get tired.