The first day of business for the new 2011 North Carolina legislative session included the introduction of a number of notable bills.
The bill likely to garner the most attention is House Bill 2, "Protect Health Care Freedom." The bill has four primary sponsors and 57 co-sponsors, and essentially attempts to counter the Obamacare mandate that everyone must enroll or purchase some sort of health insurance coverage. From a legal perspective, it will be interesting to see if such a state law can override the federal mandate – something that will be hashed out in the courts.
Another two bills introduced deal with property rights. HB 8 deals with the issue of eminent domain, with the intention of ending the government's practice of seizing private property (with minimal compensation to the owner) only to hand it over to another private interest. The bill would amend the state constitution to include the provision:
Private property shall not be taken by eminent domain except for a public use. Public use does not include the taking of property in order to convey an interest in the property for economic development. Just compensation shall be paid and, if demanded, shall be determined by a jury.
Furthermore, HB 9 would enact a moratorium on involuntary annexation until July 1, 2012.
By the way, all three of these issues were included in the Civitas Institute's publication last year entitled 20 Changes for 2010.
On the Senate side, SB 3 would expand the ban on video sweepstake games to include sweepstakes that have "any visual display" in addition to the current ban that outlaws such games that feature "game play or simulated game play."
One curious note in SB 3 derided sweepstake games because they entice people into believing they will get "something for nothing." Isn't it ironic that politicians would find this offensive, given the fact that so many of them base their campaigns on promising certain groups of people something for nothing?