"There's gotta be a better way to do this," sighed a bored state Rep. Doug Yongue, glancing at his watch. It took House reading clerk John Young 40 minutes to introduce more than 200 bills last Thursday afternoon, allowing lawmakers to mingle or raid one another's candy jars. Among those measures was HB 702, which would ban execution of offenders who were minors at the time of their crimes. If passed, the bill would align North Carolina with the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the practice is unconstitutional (See "Death penalty issues bounce back to judge").
The House and Senate unanimously passed joint resolutions confirming Ed Finley and Jim Ervin to the state utilities commission. Upon ratification, it goes to Gov. Mike Easley for his rubber stamp. Easley appointed Finley to replace JoAnne Sanford, who left the commission to become a fence-straddling consultant to energy companies and environmental groups. Easley reappointed Ervin, whose term expires this year. (See www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A45198)
Speaking of energy, state Rep. Pricey Harrison introduced a bill that would ban the sale of most incandescent light bulbs by 2016. Compact fluorescent bulbs use two-thirds less energy, emit the same light and last 10 times longer.
Less energy usage should mean Duke's proposed coal-fired power plant, Cliffside, can meet demand. The utilities commission is requiring Duke to publicly disclose Cliffside's construction costs, previously revealed to the commission only in the confidential portion of a public hearing. After prodding from environmentalists and the commission, last November Duke disclosed the project's $3 billion price tag for two plants. Last month, the commission approved only one.