Editorials: McCrory, Politicians in Raleigh Trampling on Local Control
On the heels of Governor McCrory's decision to sign a controversial bill that prohibits cities and counties from removing monuments they deem offensive, newspapers across the state are slamming it as another example of the state infringing on local control.
North Carolina lawmakers seem to spin a roulette wheel when it comes to deciding what local government officials can do and what they can’t.
On the one hand, the N.C. General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year that would have allowed local magistrates to recuse themselves from performing marriage ceremonies based on personal religious beliefs. On the other hand, the legislature last week passed a bill banning local governments from removing historical markers, monuments and statues, no matter how controversial. That’s not something a local government is capable of deciding, lawmakers more or less said.
We can’t help but wonder what might have happened if a magistrate had objected on religious grounds to a historical marker commemorating same-sex marriage.
But this editorial isn’t about the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage ruling. It’s about the state sticking its nose into a growing list of functions a lot of us thought we could trust our locally elected officials to handle.
Lawmakers already have outlawed forced annexation and blown up the voting districts for Greensboro City Council and the Wake County Board of Education. Now they want to make sure no one gets any ideas about changing the monuments and markers that adorn our parks and courthouses.
The state legislature continues to push Gov. Pat McCrory around, and he doth protest too hollowly.
The latest evidence of that is the fact that the governor signed into law last week a bill that would, in effect, require an act of the legislature to remove state-owned monuments on local public property that commemorate “an event, person, or military service that is part of North Carolina’s history.”
Senate Bill 22, which would apply in most petitions for removal, is clearly aimed at protecting Confederate monuments. We’d be against any effort at widespread removal of those monuments. That would be erasing history. Leave them up and learn from them. If local governments want to put up new plaques at the monuments, explaining them as they see fit, that’s up to them.
But if local governments want to remove state-owned monuments on their property, that should be up to them as well. McCrory said in a press release last week that he had issues with the bill over removing local control, The Associated Press reported. But he signed it, saying the bill’s “goals” were worthy of his signature.