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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Big-ass boats make North Carolina history

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Yesterday, for the first time in history, the North Carolina General Assembly voted to override a governor's veto. What pressing matter inspired lawmakers to re-assemble in Raleigh for a special session (in the middle of election season)? Whether people should be allowed to tow 9 1/2-foot boats (in other words, boats as wide as the lane itself) at any time of day or night, without a permit. The N&O reports that the special session cost taxpayers $50,000.

NC Policy Watch has been following the story closely. Chris Fitzsimon lays out the issues in this week's column, including which industry lobbyists led the charge -- and the fact that, by doing those lobbyists' bidding, lawmakers have effectively overridden the safety warnings of the Highway Patrol. Bloggers at the Progressive Pulse also posted a video of high-speed boat-towing, which would be hilarious if it weren't so scary.

Since Election Day is fast approaching, it's worth remembering who stood up to the big boating lobby. The Senate vote was unanimous; but in the House, Triangle-area representatives Verla Insko, Paul Luebke, Mickey Michaux and Jennifer Weiss joined the eight who voted against. Speaker Joe Hackney did not vote.

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