Two Triangle legislators, Wake County Democrats Deborah Ross and Grier Martin, were among the primary sponsors of a bill the House approved on July 28 that would provide public financing for the superintendent of public instruction, the insurance commissioner and the state auditorthree of the nine positions on the Council of State. House members voted 59-57 in support of the measure, which, much like the public financing already in place for appellate judges, would provide at least $300,000 in public money to candidates who raise a minimum amount of small contributions. The bill could become effective for the 2008 elections, but only if the Senate acts on it before adjournment this weekand Easley signs it after that.

Late last month, Charlotte-based behemoth Bank of America agreed to become a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, the world’s first and North America’s only voluntary emissions exchange. The bank, second largest in the country, agreed to purchase offset credits for 500,000 tons of carbon over a three-year period, according to Bloomberg News. Bank of America may also get up to $25 million worth of shares in Climate Exchange, a holding company that runs the Chicago Climate Exchange and the European Climate Exchange. Companies and individuals use carbon credits to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

The Charlotte Observer reports that at least 500 members of local Alcoholic Beverage Control boards gathered at an Asheville resort for a conference where companies that do business with the boards feted them with top-shelf booze, subsidized their golf games and paid for other perks. The board members, appointed by their local cities or counties, placed themselves in the middle of clear conflicts of interest, where the industry they regulate provided them drinks and entertainment. Such business is a violation of the ethics laws that now govern lawmakers in the General Assembly. All public officials should be held to the same standard.

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