Carrboro's legislative agenda is, not surprisingly, progressive, emphasizing environment and social justice.
The Board of Aldermen is pushing for authorization to allow homeowners to install solar water heaters, clotheslines and other energy-efficient features in their yards. Homeowners' associations have tried to keep these items out of their neighborhoods through restrictive covenants—legal agreements residents must abide if they want to live there.
The Land for Tomorrow program would require the General Assembly to authorize and allocate $200 million annually for five years to protecting the state's land and water reources through easements and trusts. The money will be invested in North Carolina's existing conservation trust funds and a new initiative that ties job creation to resource protection. However, given the budgetary constraints, it's doubtful if lawmakers will be able to justify the expense, even if they back it philisophically.
Sen. Ellie Kinnaird plans to try to upend the state's 50-year prohibition on public employees' right to negotiate. The fate of public workers' employment and wages lies in the hands of cities, counties and the General Assembly. They wield the power to depress wages and cut funding and positions, while employees must accept whatever bitter pill lawmakers administer. N.C. has earned its reputation as an anti-union state, although the recent union victory at the Smithfield Packing Plant may indicate the tide is turning.
And although with his Secure Communities initiative, Orange County Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass is sliding down the slippery slope of toward the 287(g) program, Carrboro is opposed to state funding or participation of 287(g). Law enforcement in Wake, Durham and Alamance counties participate to some degree in 287(g); Chatham County has rejected it. —Lisa Sorg
Requested local bills
- Town Charter amendment to add sexual orientation, gender identification and gender expression to the list of bases upon which the Board of Aldermen may by ordinance prohibit housing discrimination.
- Town charter amendment authorizing the board of Aldermen to provide by ordinance that no deed restriction or covenant can have the effect of limiting or prohibiting the use of green or sustainability features on a residential property, including but not limited to solar collectors, clotheslines, rain barrels, garden fences or similar items.
Support for the following state-wide legislation
- Energy efficiency standards for residential and commercial construction
- Climate Change Commission recommendations
- Additional taxes to fund regional public transit, including a commuter rail system
- Increased funding for the N.C. Housing Trust Fund
- Increased medical benefits for uninsured children.
- Greater state-wide funds for mass transportation including:
- Connections between Durham/ Chapel Hill/ Raleigh
- Greater funds for buses
- Program that connects and discusses more public transit east to Raleigh/ Durham
- Opposition to any tax scheme that does not allow cities and counties to tax undeveloped property when it's subdivided
- Additional funding and legislation to help mentally ill people and support for Freedom House's request for state funding
- Sen. Kinnairds' living wage legislation
- Ban on smoking in public facilities in N.C.
- Various child care subsidy programs and early childhood subsidy programs, including low-wealth schools
- Repeal of State Statute 95-98, which prohibits collective bargaining by public employees
- Land for Tomorrow initiative
- Opposition to state funding or participation in the federal 287(g) program and review the effectiveness of that program
- Request for a comprehensive water resource conservation/ efficiency requirements and land use planning requirements
- Request for increased energy efficiency and conservation legislation and opposition for additional coal and nuclear power facilities being established
- Consumer protection legislation and opposition to predatory lending practices and strengthening of laws dealing with foreclosures