This bill would create the South Carolina and North Carolina Interstate Freight Rail Compact Commission, which would be tasked with developing a plan to construct, operate and finance rail service involving southeast regions of NC and northeast regions of SC. The Commission, made up of unelected political appointees, would be granted the power to spend taxpayer dollars to purchase any railroad lines determined by the Commission to be in the economic development interests of the counties in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. Civitas believes the conservative position is that government should not be involved in the ownership and/or operation of rail lines, and that unelected political appointees should not be granted the power to spend taxpayer funds to acquire private property. The Conservative Vote Is No.
This bill primarily included provisions impacting two major issues: local sales taxes and corporate welfare programs. The bill would have expanded JMAC and JDIG, as well as create a Job Catalyst Fund. It also would have raised the local sales tax cap for most counties at 2.5 percent. Currently most counties levy a 2 percent local sales tax on top of the statewide sales tax rate. Having such unrelated measures in the same bill inherently makes this bad legislation. Moreover, Civitas believes the conservative position is to oppose corporate welfare and to keep taxes low. The Conservative Vote Is No.
Authorizes the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board to increase fees on veterinarians and legislatively increases one of those fees. Civitas believes the conservative position is to recognize that government professional licensing boards and commissions are largely vehicles to protect existing professionals by restricting competition and raising the costs to do business. Entrepreneurs should be free to compete without the interference and expense imposed by government commissions. The Conservative Vote Is No.
Expands the Job Maintenance and Capital Development (JMAC) fund. JMAC is a corporate welfare program that awards taxpayer funds to specific companies meeting certain eligibility requirements. SB 3 would have loosened some eligibility requirements and added other requirements to accommodate a specific corporation, and increased the amount of taxpayer dollars in the fund. Civitas believes the conservative position is for government to treat all businesses equally and to not provide taxpayer handouts or special tax treatment to specific, politically connected businesses or industries. The Conservative Vote is No.
Allows for student organizations on college campuses to determine that only persons professing the faith or mission of the group are qualified to serve as leaders of that organization. For instance, Christian groups can declare that any leaders of their organization must be of the Christian faith. Civitas believes the conservative position is that college students should have the same rights of association and freedom of speech as all other citizens. The Conservative Vote Is Yes. The Senate voted on and approved SB 719 in the 2013 session, but it didn't become law until 2014, so we included in our 2014 rankings.
Includes a wide variety of initiatives reforming North Carolina regulations, ranging from minor technical changes to those that will have a greater impact. For instance, included is a streamlining of the rulemaking process that should lessen frivolous obstructions to the rights of property owners. Civitas believes that government's power to restrict the actions of individuals should be limited to protecting individual rights, including property rights, and not promulgate arbitrary and intrusive rules. Conservative Vote Is Yes.
This amendment to the budget bill would expand the state's Medicaid program in accordance with the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare). Civitas believes the conservative position is to oppose Obamacare and resist Medicaid expansion because they represent a significant increase in the government's control over our healthcare. The Conservative Vote Is No.
This bill fast-tracks the permitting process for hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking. The legislation allows for more rapid approval of rules surrounding fracking permits, enabling permits to begin being issued as soon as spring of 2015. This bill also prohibits local governments from banning fracking in their locale, and protects companies from having to disclose the chemicals used in their fracking fluid. Civitas believes the conservative position is to allow for energy exploration within the proper protection of property rights, but without the undue burden of overzealous government restrictions. The Conservative Vote is Yes.
Strengthens the means by which charters can collect current fund expense monies owed to them by traditional public schools. In addition, the law allows successful and growing charters to expand more quickly without seeking approval from the State Board of Education. The bill also sets ten years as the automatic default renewal term for operational charter schools, unless flagged by academic, financial or noncompliance problems. Although not perfect, the legislation subjects charters and charter governing boards to public records and open meetings laws the bill strengthens charter schools. Civitas believes the conservative position is to treat charter and traditional public schools equitably, and to empower charters to expand educational choices for students and families. The Conservative Vote Is Yes.
Established the Academic Standards Review Commission to review the Common Core English Language Arts and Mathematics standards, previously adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010. The Commission will propose modifications to the academic standards in these subject areas, with the goal of ensuring the new standards increase students achievement and to be age appropriate. Civitas believes the conservative position is to reject growing federal authority over state and local education issues and instead assert North Carolina's constitutional authority to determine what is taught in our classrooms. The Conservative Vote Is Yes.