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Lawmakers Push Slew Of Controversial Bills

Seal of North Carolina
North Carolina Government
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North Carolina Government

Lawmakers were on a tear in the North Carolina General Assembly this past week, pushing forward a slew of controversial bills.

The Senate tentatively passed a bill requiring seventh-graders to be taught that abortion can lead to premature delivery in future pregnancies. The controversy there came about because the medical conclusion is based on disputed science.

"I feel emotional about this one," said singer-songwriter Laurelyn Dossett during a State of Things news roundtable. "I have three daughters...I find it so offensive when science is used in that way."

Legislation requiring parental consent for teenagers who want STD treatment or birth control is making its way through the House. Some think that it could be counterproductive if passed.

"I just think that if this becomes law, it's going to do exactly what they don't want it to do," said Elin O'Hara Slavick, an art professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "There are going to be more pre-teen pregnancies."

She said that if teens are afraid of telling their parents, they might choose instead not to buy birth control or get treatment.  

Also, a bill passed the House allowing gun owners to carry their firearms onto college campuses and in restaurants. Randall Kenan, an associate professor of English at UNC said that after the murder of student body president Eve Carson a few years back, there was a discussion on campus, mostly among women, about whether personal protection was needed. But ultimately, he said, it seemed a bad idea.

"I think it became quickly apparent that the cons outweighed the pros," he said.

Senate Republicans also announced their plan for sweeping tax reform measures, including a cut in the sales tax and an expansion in who it applies to.

"It's an enormous task," said    on the State of Things, adding later. "This is probably going to be a long term endeavor. It's not something that can be decided in a week or a month or even a year."

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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