Before the 2007 General Assembly session recedes from memory, here’s the good, the bad and the other outcomes on the bills Indy writers were following (see “The progressive prescription“):
- High-risk health insurance pool: Health was the big winner in this session, led by this necessary first step if we’re ever going to get universal coverage in N.C.
- Mental-health parity: Not a perfect bill (substance-abuse treatments not mandated), but a huge step forward.
- Same-day voter registration: Not on Election Day, but you’ll be able to register and vote at the same time at early voting sites through the prior Saturday.
- Public campaign financing: Extended from judgeships to three of the lesser Council of State races, but still no pilot for legislative campaigns.
The good with the bad:
- Tax burden: Tax cuts for the rich (bad) and the working poor (good), the latter via a refundable state earned income tax credit. Counties can now levy a 0.4 percent transfer tax on property sales if voters approve; it could help with schools in Wake and Durham.
- Renewable energy: The utilities could reap huge subsidies for new nuclear reactors while solar, wind and conservation efforts get less.
- Dorothea Dix campus: The General Assembly did nothing. It might’ve done something worse.
- Sex education: A bill to actually teach it went nowhere.
- Anti-bullying: Looked great passing the House; the Senate turned it into mush. Now contains no requirement that schools protect gay kids from harassment or embrace equality regarding sexual orientation. The religious right is celebrating.
- Juvenile justice: Reforms stalled.
- Public access TV: Funding for PEG channels and rural broadband access also stalled.