Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is all hope lost for a study of NC Annexation Law this year?

No, _all is not lost.
The annexation study amendment was unanimously passed by the House on the last evening of the session, but the entire Omnibus Study Bill, SB1256, which the annexation study is amended to, is in limbo due to the Senate going home without voting to concur to the amended version. The Senate left the Study Bill hanging in limbo.

There appears to be a strong commitment from the House leadership to make a study of annexation a reality.
The House voted to adopt the annexation study amendment 102 to zero.

There are options that can make the study a reality.
1) The General Assembly can come back to Raleigh in a special session to ratify the Omnibus Study Bill
2) The Speaker of the House has authority to create a special study commission without a Bill.
We aren't quite there yet, though the prospects look good.

The official Senate position on reforming annexation is not good for getting the needed reforms.
The annexation study is presently caught up in a larger internal battle over other legislation and other studies that are included and excluded from the Omnibus Study Bill.

For the people calling for annexation reform, the Senate's position on this issue is something that we need to work to change. We all need to identify the Senators that support reform and those that don't and won't be convinced to change. If they won't change, then we need to do all that is possible to "change" their status as lawmakers for the people of NC.

On the last night of the Legislative session, Rep. Bruce Goforth made a statement on the floor of the House regarding the difficulty of working with the Senate to get legislation passed that truly reflects the wishes of the people rather than a small group that controls this elected body. When he made the statement, and expressed the need to "take back the Senate for the people" I wanted to stand up and shout "Amen".

The following excerpt of his statement was reported in the Asheville Citizen-Times. I've included the quote below along with a excerpt from an entry from John Hood's Daily Journal:

“It’s more of a dictatorship in the Senate,” said Goforth, of East Asheville. “You’ve got four or five people, maybe two, calling every shot over there.”

"As for the broader question that Goforth brings up, about the extent to which power in the North Carolina Senate tends to be far more concentrated than in the House, I agree. But I wonder how many House members would go along with the policies likely to be needed to democratize the place: term limits, session limits, changes in campaign finance laws, and a redistricting commission charged with the task of drawing political boundaries to maximize competition and minimize incumbency protection.After all, we can’t count on scandals and federal prosecution alone to ensure consultative leadership and rotation in office."
John Hood's Daily Journal

We all have to get involved in the primaries and November elections across the State and send the Senate a message from the voting booth about how important annexation reform is to the people.

You can view the amendment to Senate Bill 1256 on the StopNCAnnexation website using this link: http://www.stopncannexation.com/S1256ASU22.pdf

This issue has life and is moving forward because of the efforts of everyone who has written and called the Legislators!
Thank you for standing firm on the fight to reform the annexation law.

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