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S.C. nullification bill pushes N.C. off stage

We in North Carolina thank you, South Carolina. We’ve been sucking up the national spotlight with our legislative shenanigans. Glad to see you steal it away last Wednesday when your state House passed a bill declaring the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, “null and void.”

Your bill, if it passes the S.C. Senate, would criminalize implementation of the federal law. Known as the state’s Freedom of Health Care Protection Act, it would explicitly “prohibit certain individuals from enforcing or attempting to enforce such unconstitutional laws; and to establish criminal penalties and civil liability for violating this article.”

The measure would permit the state Attorney General, with reasonable cause, “to restrain by temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, or permanent injunction” any person who is believed to be causing harm to any person or business with the implementation of Obamacare.

The only problem, of course, is that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Just last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against it, and declared it constitutional. So, in that respect, the nullification law is built on an erroneous premise.

That’s no matter to South Carolina. The state is on a nullification binge. Another proposal would exempt any firearm made and kept in South Carolina from federal regulation. Wait a minute, didn’t North Carolina try the same thing? Oh, well.

Yet another proposal, with the catchy title, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, reportedly calls for South Carolina to ignore any federal gun laws the state deems unconstitutional.

South Carolina will be fighting an uphill – and costly – battle to successfully prosecute anyone for enforcing federal law. So these nullification efforts are little more than political theater.

But they got North Carolina out of the headlines for a day or so. For that, S.C. gets our warmest regards.

Pols meet drivers’ needs, but what about voters’?

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory is making good on his pledge to expand hours and days the state Department of Motor Vehicles will be open. Incensed by his wait in a long line at the DMV, McCrory vowed in his State of the State speech that he would fix that. Over the last few weeks, the DMV has been attempting to do that, opening DMV offices on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, and adding an hour to the times many DMV offices, including some in Charlotte, are open Monday through Friday.

All that is good. McCrory pledged the changes to be “more customer-friendly.”

But here’s the irony. While the days and hours for DMV offices are being expanded to serve customer needs, expanded hours and days for voting are on the chopping block. N.C. lawmakers have introduced bills to slash early voting days and eliminate Sunday voting. Critics look at other places with similar voting restrictions and see the undeniable results: Long lines for voters. And for voters who can’t get off work in time to vote on Election Day, slashing voting days could mean not voting at all.

For voters, these are not “customer friendly” changes.

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