Carolina Journal Radio

Carolina Journal Radio No. 730: Compromise delays N.C. class-size changes for one year

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North Carolina lawmakers approved a compromise measure that puts off for one year new class-size restrictions in the earliest grades of the state’s public schools. School districts had complained that the new requirements would have forced them to lay off specialty teachers or make other drastic budget changes. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, analyzes the controversy. Many of today’s most heated political debates are tied to competing interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. They date back to the earliest days of the American republic. That’s a key theme of Our Republican Constitution, a book from Georgetown University constitutional law professor Randy Barnett. During a recent visit to Raleigh to deliver N.C. State University’s annual John W. Pope Lecture, Barnett outlined the competing constitutional views. He also explained how those views play out in debates about replacing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite a veto from Gov. Roy Cooper, state lawmakers have pushed forward with legislation that would combine state elections and ethics boards into a new eight-member group with an even split of Republicans and Democrats. During the N.C. House’s vote on overriding Cooper’s veto, Republican Rep. David Lewis and Democratic Rep. Darren Jackson set out opposing views about the wisdom of making the change. Government should do a better job protecting a longstanding right to self-medication. That’s the argument University of Richmond professor Jessica Flanigan made during a recent Hayek Lecture at Duke. Flanigan explained how restrictions tied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can cause more harm than good. That includes costing thousands of lives each year. The Raise the Age campaign picked up a high-profile endorsement recently. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin made a rare appearance at the state Legislative Building to tout the campaign. It would change state law to ensure that most nonviolent 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders would be treated as juveniles, not adults. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, analyzes potential benefits of the campaign.