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Take our Bad Bill quiz, if you dare

Every state legislature, no matter which party is in charge, has its share of bad bills. Each year, without fail, lawmakers overreach and underthink. They try to ban things they don’t like or are overprotective of things they do. It happens. It’s politics.

Then there’s the 2013 N.C. legislative session.

State Republicans, giddy over having control of the House, Senate and governor’s office, have released a deluge of bad legislation in the past five months. Bad for education. Bad for local governments. Bad for the vulnerable who need help.

You know the big headlines: Republicans have rejected a federal Medicaid expansion that would cover hundreds of thousands of low-income North Carolinians. They’ve voted to pay off a federal unemployment debt with a law that harshly cuts individual benefits while lightly and temporarily taxing businesses. They’ve tried to replace more than 100 members of critical state regulatory boards with GOP appointees.

But how much, really, do you know about the party that’s convening in Charlotte today? Take our N.C. Bad Bill quiz and see if you can pick out the bills and proposals that aren’t real from all the ones that unfortunately are.

1. It’s all about the children

We’ve yet to find a legislator, Republican or Democrat, who thinks giving North Carolina’s children a strong education is overrated. Yet something seems to happen to N.C. Republicans when they walk through the doors of the General Assembly.

What did those Republicans NOT propose this year? (Pick one.)

A) Eliminating money in the state budget for 3,000 teaching assistants in second- and third-grade classrooms.

B) Eliminating caps on the size of many elementary classrooms (because what’s the difference between 25 and 35 kids to a teacher with no teaching assistant?)

C) Allowing creationism to be taught in public school science classrooms.

D) Eliminating pay incentives for teachers to get advanced degrees.

E) Removing the requirement that at least 50 percent of charter school instructors have a teaching certificate.

2. How about requiring a course on constitutional law?

What did N.C. Republican lawmakers NOT propose this year? (Pick one.)

A) A bill that would have allowed the state to create an official religion.

B) A bill that declared Obamacare “null and void” in North Carolina.

C) A bill that would make it a crime for FBI agents to enforce federal gun laws in North Carolina if the guns were made here and were not transported over state lines.

D) A bill that would levy a “poll tax” on families if a student-aged dependent registered to vote at college.

3. ‘Local’ is up for interpretation

What’s up with the party of Less Government and More Local Control? Apparently, Republicans in Raleigh have decided the latter means controlling local governments. Lawmakers have moved to not only take away Charlotte’s airport and Asheville’s water system. They’ve elbowed their way into several issues historically left to local jurisdictions.

What meddling measures have N.C. Republicans NOT proposed this year? (Pick one.)

A) A bill that would limit local government’s ability to set design standards for houses.

B) A bill that would repeal local bans on smoking in public places such as beaches and parks.

C) A bill that would let state lawmakers draw district lines for local school board elections.

D) A bill that would prohibit cities and counties from requiring health information on restaurant menus.

E) A bill that would prohibit local governments from regulating fracking.

4. Protecting the vulnerable

What did N.C. Republicans NOT propose this year? (Pick one.)

A) Kicking low-income pregnant women off Medicaid by tightening financial eligibility requirements.

B) Requiring teens to get their parents’ permission before seeking help for substance abuse, mental health issues, or sexually transmitted diseases.

C) Preventing the children of illegal immigrants from attending public schools.

D) Doubling the mandatory waiting period for divorce to two years, without exceptions for domestic violence or abuse.

E) Banning the “mentally incompetent” from voting, even those declared incompetent only for medical and financial guardianship reasons.

5. Protecting the environment

What did N.C. Republicans NOT propose this year? (Pick one.)

A) A bill that would roll back state energy standards for new commercial construction by 30 percent.

B) A bill that banned the state from crafting coastal policies based on the latest scientific predictions of how much the sea level will rise.

C) A bill repealing the N.C. law that requires utilities to obtain some of their power from renewable energy sources.

6. So what ARE they protecting?

What did N.C. Republicans NOT propose this year? (Pick one.)

A) Protecting businesses by placing restrictions on whistleblowers who might film or take pictures of wrongdoing at workplaces.

B) Protecting a Pennsylvania business from asbestos exposure lawsuits related to a former subsidiary.

C) Protecting gun companies by making North Carolina a “sanctuary state” from gun lawsuits.

D) Protecting food companies from lawsuits related to obesity and weight gain.

7. What were they thinking?

Sometimes, you have to take a second look at bills to recognize they have real value. These were not among those bills.

What did N.C. lawmakers NOT propose this year?

A) A bill that would have repealed the safety helmet requirement for adult N.C. motorcycle riders.

B) A bill that would have required anyone taking ownership of pit bulls, Rottweilers and other “aggressive” dog breeds to submit to a criminal background check, take a four-hour course provided by a rescue organization, and get a special permit from the N.C. Department of Insurance.

C) A bill targeting an annual Asheville event by modifying the indecent exposure law to include a woman’s nipple.

D) A bill that would repeal a ban on lawmakers’ receiving gifts from lobbyists.

How’d you do?

1-C; 2-B (That came from our neighbors in South Carolina); 3-D; 4-C; 5-B (It’s already a law, passed in 2012.); 6-C; 7- Trick question! Lawmakers proposed all of the above this year. Fortunately, each measure died after receiving an appropriate amount of public scorn.

We should note, however, that the aggressive dog bill was sponsored by Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Charlotte, which goes to show that Democrats are also capable of proposing awful legislation. But this year, at least, they’re not nearly as stunningly good at it.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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