Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Who's Behind This Bull-Hockey?

A bill to exempt state colleges and universities from state review of building code compliance has suddenly popped up in the N.C. Senate in the waning days of the session ... and PASSED that body on a preliminary vote by 46-3.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Long is not only mad about it, he's alarmed about the safety of students attending those colleges and universities. He's asking The Guv to veto the measure, should it pass both houses of our legislature.

"These codes are specifically designed to save lives," Long said.

"Currently the Department of Insurance reviews plans for new construction at UNC campuses to make sure they comply with state building codes for safety. [The] Senate bill would release the university system from that requirement."

Shades of another bone-head move in the state senate when Madam Foxx graced that chamber ... to permit the construction of asphalt plants BEFORE they've been granted permission to befoul the air by the Division of Air Quality. Thank Gawd that got killed before it became law. (Foxx voted FOR it, of course.)

The worst feature of the proposed new law? This: "The bill also allows UNC campuses to choose how renovation plans would be reviewed -- by the state insurance department, by local government or by an independent, certified inspector." Voluntary compliance, anyone? How hard would it be for a college prez to find himself an "independent, certified" patsy to rubberstamp whatever quick-fix scheme the prez hatches?

No offense, College Administrators, but some of you are notorious numbskulls. And liars.

The N&O reporter says, "It's unclear how the legislation came about. A spokeswoman for the UNC system said it was not on the legislative wish list of the UNC Board of Governors."

Embarrassingly, the bill was sponsored in the state senate by a Greensboro Democrat, Kay Hagan, and approved of by a vast majority of Democrats in the senate (along with all the Republicans, natch).

We're just ... so ... proud.

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