From an editorial Wednesday in the Fayetteville Observer:
Some cynics are calling it the “Off-The-Wall Act of 2015.” Others suggest a better title might be the “Polluter Protection Act.”
In both cases they’re right. And what happened to House Bill 765 last weekend is a textbook chapter in how N.C. lawmakers regularly commit outrages under cover of darkness.
Please note that we’re not making a partisan statement here. For years, Democrats sparked Republican howls when they slipped through Trojan horse legislation that completely changed the purpose and effect of a bill. The howling traded sides when Republicans took over the General Assembly and quickly adopted time-tested Democratic dirty tricks.
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House Bill 765 was, until recently, a one-page bill regulating the transportation of gravel. Last weekend, in the Senate, it became a 54-page epic that deregulated everything from profanity on public highways to the minimum age for operating all-terrain vehicles.
The bill is particularly pernicious in giving a greener light to polluters. It unprotects some wetlands, weakens stormwater regulations and eliminates a requirement for recycling computers and televisions.
It’s the kind of thing that happens when we let lawmakers do business in the dark.