BY NORM D. GUERRE
RALEIGH – The NC Senate gave final approval Thursday to a 36 – page, comprehensive bill that promises to overhaul custodial regulations for the first time since 1982, creating a system of safety regulations, occupational licensing, and sweeping instructions written in plain English.
Senators passed the sweeping legislation — initially drafted by Senators Ralph Hise (NCSU, Mitchell County), Tommy Tucker (NCSU, Union County), Stan Bingham (NCSU, Davidson County), Bill Rabon (NCSU, Brunswick County), and Michael Walters (NCSU, Robeson County); by a 47 – 3 vote.
Voting against the bill were Senators Fletcher Hartsell (UNC-CH, Cabarrus County), Jeff Jackson (UNC-CH, Mecklenburg County), and Floyd McKissick (UNC-CH, Durham County).
In a statement given to Ungrammared, The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, and The Asheville Citizen Times after the vote, Sen. Hartsell read “We are disappointed in the increased government regulations and licensing of the custodial profession. In economic times both lean and good, UNC-CH alumni have relied on an easy transition to this profession and have been able to put their tax-payer subsidized degrees to work.”
Going off script for a moment, Hartsell pondered “What will UNC-CH alumni do? They’ll have to read instructions? This is an anti-jobs bill and clearly discriminatory.” he shook his head in disbelief before going back to his prepared statement.
The passage of this sweeping reform could be the crowning legislative achievement of Governor Pat McCrory’s first term. In an executive statement, McCrory hailed the Senate vote as “a critical step in grasping the broom of reform” toward fixing what he called a “broken custodial system”.
At press time, Hartsell, Jackson, and McKissick were reportedly writing a new bill. The bill would reportedly increase the maximum sentencing for those convicted of robbing pizza deliverymen to 45 years without parole.