A conservative shift on horizon

Feb. 11, 2013 @ 04:30 AM

Many of the bills introduced so far by Republican legislators in the new session of the N.C. General Assembly reflect how state government should make a pointed conservative turn with the GOP solidly in charge.
State representatives and senators from the greater High Point area have introduced legislation to prohibit the publication of names of people seeking gun permits, allow armed, certified school safety marshals to monitor the grounds of public schools and restore partisan elections for judges. Another bill would repeal an act that has provided for alternate methods of assuming debt to fund state capital facilities projects, while still another would change the state superintendent of public instruction — traditionally a Democrat — from an elected to appointed position.
The legislation introduced by local Republicans mirrors the conservative nature of bills being submitted by other GOP legislators across the state. The breadth of the bills shows how conservatives have the opportunity to shift many aspects of public policy and practice, said Matthew DeSantis, professor of political science at Guilford Technical Community College. 
“When you look at some of these bills, you are seeing a fundamental change in the role of government,” DeSantis said.
Republicans, who already controlled the General Assembly following the 2010 general election, padded their margins in the House and Senate after voters went to the polls last fall. Also, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, the first GOP governor in 20 years, succeeded Democrat Beverly Perdue. That means a Democratic governor no longer serves as a brake on Republican legislators through the veto of legislation.
Two of the local bills introduced by Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, concern guns. Senate Bill 27 would allow armed, certified school safety marshals at public school and charter school campuses. The marshals would be certified by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.
Senate Bill 28 would prohibit the release of gun permit application information. Gun permit applications to weapons dealers wouldn’t fall under the definition of a state public record.
Bingham said that he introduced the school safety marshal bill to allow trained people to confront intruders on school grounds if they are threatening students and teachers with a weapon.  
“You would have members within a school that train and are knowledgeable, that have listened to SWAT team officers,” Bingham told The High Point Enterprise.
With his other bill, Bingham said his primary goal is to protect gun owners from becoming the target of criminals, who otherwise could determine from gun permits who possess firearms.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528