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Carolina Journal Radio No. 738: Lawmakers override veto to approve $23 billion General Fund budget

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
July 10, 2017 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 738: Lawmakers override veto to approve $23 billion General Fund budget

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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July 10, 2017 12:00 am

North Carolina lawmakers approved a $23 billion General Fund budget plan, overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto with more than two days to spare before the start of the new budget year. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, shares highlights from the spending plan. Gray also explains how the latest budget fits with Republican legislative leaders’ long-term strategy of limiting government spending growth and lowering tax burdens. Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement agencies to take property from people suspected of illegal activity, even if they never face criminal charges. The process is open to abuse. Darpana Sheth, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, explains why civil asset forfeiture can create problems. Sheth also explains how North Carolina compares to other states in its treatment of civil forfeiture cases. The U.S. House has approved a bill designed to fix problems created by the Dodd-Frank federal financial regulations. U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th District, spoke on Capitol Hill about the potential benefits of the Financial Choice Act. The idea would need support from the U.S. Senate to become law. Some North Carolina lawmakers have shown interest in having this state join 12 others in supporting a Convention of States. That’s an option provided in Article V of the U.S. Constitution for states to initiate constitutional amendments. During a recent visit to Raleigh, former Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma explained his support for the convention. He also addressed concerns from critics who fear a convention could lead to unanticipated negative results. The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down a North Carolina law that banned registered sex offenders from using social media sites such as Facebook. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, discusses the reversal of the state Supreme Court ruling that had upheld North Carolina’s law. Guze outlines U.S. Supreme Court justices’ concerns. He also explains why the high court split on some details of the majority opinion.


From Cherokee to current attack from the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most public policy events and issues welcome the Carolina Journal, radio, luggage, coca during the next hour, Don Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state.

A process called civil asset forfeiture could threaten your property of a law enforcement agency suspects you of engaging in illegal activity, but never charges you with the crime we hear from an expert who shares concerns about the process I North Carolina Congressman is among the most vocal supporters of an effort to reform federal financial rules to learn why one of the leading conservative US senators of the past decade recently visited Raleigh to support a convention of states you learn what that means.

And you learn why the US Supreme Court struck down a state law dealing with sex offenders and social media. Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline North Carolina's new general fund budget took effect July 1 at a plan boost spending, but still meets prudent limits on government growth. That assessment comes from the John Locke foundation's senior vice president Becky Gray. She is actually poured over the $23 billion plan that was actually vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper but quickly overridden by the Republican super majorities in both chambers.

Becky joins us now to take a look at what this budget means for you and me. Becky, welcome back. Thanks so Gov. Cooper evidently wanted to spend a lot more money and he didn't like the tax relief that was in this budget plan, but the Republican super majority said we want this plan to go forward and it's now law right yet with ladies and gentlemen, we have a budget is very good news on this course is for the next two years, so North County government is in very good shape. They have what I feel like think very responsible budget offers tax relief to citizens across the board. 99% of North on taxpayers ethical receive some sort of tax cuts on, but it does a lot more Donna there's a in a $23 billion budget. It's not just about tax contents and it is about the tax because it is about the spinning but is also way or that spending is in the priorities that the general assemblies laid out think that it's a budget that I know with the research we've done here on. It is a very fiscally responsible budget that continues the reforms and economic corridors that we say in North Carolina over the last five or six years. Let's clarify something for our listeners were saying it's a biennial state budget two years but but 23 billion refers to the first year that began platters yeah and this is why the jostling dies at you know that's why our general simile sessions are two years to kind of think in those two year increments if you will say the first year the first year that the Gen. assembly is in session.

They pass a budget for the two year time. So we actually got sort of companion budget will as we look through that and when they come back for the short session in May. They'll take a look at next year's budget and make adjustments depending on revenue and maybe some changes in priorities and those kind of thing so it will eat you here that's great point that you make. And so what it does is it lays out the priorities, not just for this year, but this whole legislative two-year biennium time. This plan for this fiscal year. That is, about a week old and now includes a more savings into the savings reserve fund, we've now got data quite a hefty reserve fund largest it's ever been in North Carolina mean this is a big deal and you and I will be back up just a little bit that the reason why this is so significant when Republicans took over the Gen. assembly in 2011. Our state was really struggling. We were trying to get out of the recession, trying to get our fiscal feet back on the ground if you will, and that first year that they wave there were in power in 2011 on they found that they had a $650 million shortfall in the budget. Not only that there was no money put aside insane things.

So if you think about your coastline. If you think about the likelihood of us being hit by hurricane. Thank goodness we didn't have major storms during that time. As we have the money set aside to help you where we sing this year the victims of hurricane Matthew with the flooding and the other thinks there's money available to retail in those communities and help the small businesses get back on their feet to repair the water and sewer damage that has been done to repair the roads down there those kind of things. This is why savings is so important and this general simile understands this and and as you said, they have made that a priority. They have put money aside in studies now that our economy is recovering were doing really well. We actually have surplus revenue these days. So where were saying that he has some of that money is being returned to taxpayers but a lot of that money is being put into savings for rainy day for capital improvement so that we have something to repair our businesses state government businesses across the buildings across the state and also to offer little bit of cushion. They are nowhere in great financial, fiscal shape in North Carolina.

We want to stay there and so if we have a downturn in the economy, due in large part, things way beyond our control on if the economy dips down again. We got some money in reserves that we can count on until we can get back on her fate. That's why the savings is so important, Becky. This budget seems to continue a trend of the last several budget cycles where were attempting, and actually being successful at keeping spending growth in check, but at the same time making investments in things that North Carolinians want and expect him education a criminal justice and and safety. How is it possible the legislature is able to do those two things because a lot of people will tell you you can't do those so I'm in and out of that kind of a new thing in North Carolina tell you that we didn't see that for years and years and years. What we saw was when times were good money was spent, when times were bad. Taxes were raised than when times were good again and there was additional revenue.

All the money was spent, we have now is just a real different way of looking at things as you mentioned, there has been a reining in government spending. Actually, the last several budget cycles all the budget since 2011 have been under the growth of inflation plus population. That's a measure other state to be.

As you may have heard of the Tabor limit to spending. That's what they're talking about where you limit the growth of government that we don't have a constitutional amendment would we only have a statute that says you do that, we have leaders and leadership that understands the importance of reining in that spending, and the other thing, as there's plenty of money to spend. When we have $23 billion.

And when you bring all the federal money and were talking over $50 billion.

We have a lot of money, it's how and where you spend it. So it's a matter of setting priorities and also ensuring that every tax dollar that is spent is spent to the very best that it can possibly be spent. Accountability measures in place education is a great place for for that example there been a real general change in toward the attitude of that education spending to ensure that the dollars in the resources code in the classroom that directly affects the children. There's been a rollback and administration. A lot of the bureaucracy again putting that money with the biggest bang is and that it's just real different way of doing business and other people of said it can't be done as you mentioned as a model for the country.

It can be done and we are doing another priority in this budget is to make sure that working North Carolinians are able to keep more of what they are in Becky this time around. A real focus from the Gen. assembly on folks who are living on the Bard, the margins low income families and moderate income families really focusing on that tax really for them right and what they done with this is they have increased the standard deduction or another way to put it.

They have increased the zero tax bracket significantly from a think we started this.

It was $6000 for married family filing jointly. Now it's 18,500 with this new budget will be 20,000 that's you pay no taxes on that first part of your income and the funds that are affected the most by that are low income families because that $20,000 is a larger part of their income on said this is been again when you have been very puzzled hearing. Some people say I heard the governor say this that these tax cuts are only for the rich people. Nothing could be further from the truth when you make a zero tax burden for low income middle-class families. This is what were talking about the tax cuts for middle-class low income families that are greatly impacted by these these revisions that we sing. We got about 100 or so of these specific companies or nonprofits who have money earmarked for them.

What's that all about. Some people have said it's up to $100 million of these earmarked projects, but these are going into many of our rural areas for downtown revitalization for projects in those rural areas. We keep talking about how do we ensure their rural areas have the resources they need not to fall behind the rest of the state and a lot of these projects are going into those rural areas. So I think one of things that I would suggest is people are looking at that on to really look at each of those projects individually.

And of course Becky will be writing more and more about this as the days go by. You can find all of Becky Gray, senior vice president for the John Locke foundation. Thank you Becky thank you say with this much more Carolina journal radio to come in just a moment government plays a key role in your life affecting your paycheck the way you educate your kids the way you do business. How can you tell if government is doing a good job making the right choices.

Spending tax dollars wisely. Carolina tackles those questions every day.

The John Locke foundation publishes Carolina journal in print each month and on the web each you'll find exclusive investigative reports on topics. No one else is covering what else a rundown of the best new stories, editorials and opinion columns in North Carolina. John Hood's daily Journal news stories and important public event set Carolina and the voices of the newsmakers themselves at Carolina journal radio in print on the air and on the web. You can find the information you welcome back to Carolina journal radio amateur co-guy. One of the more troublesome topics in legal circles these days involve something called civil asset forfeiture that might sound like a subject that would interest only lawyers but our next guest will help us understand why anyone concerned about property rights should pay attention to the issue upon a chef's senior attorney at the Institute for justice. She recently spoke about civil asset forfeiture with the Triangle lawyers chapter of the Federalist Society. Thanks for joining us thinking thank you for having going to get into a lot of the details.

But first for people who are unfamiliar with this.

What is civil asset forfeiture civil forfeiture is the government's power to confiscate property that's suspected of being involved in a crime different than criminal forfeiture actually requires a criminal conviction.

So unlike criminal forfeiture civil forfeiture allows police and law enforcement to seize property they suspected of being involved in a crime without necessarily filing any kind of criminal charge, much less getting a conviction and does the property have to have anything to do with the suspected crime. Yes then this is that's the the link there has to be some nexus or connection between the property and the crime, but it the standard is very broad lease under federal laws. For example, on any kind of personal or real property that may have been used to quote facilitated crime and that facilitation language is interpreted very broadly by the courts. That sounds like it could be very wide range almost anything that your property could be targeted for exactly just how big a problem is this cross-country is a huge problem. So for example a a very detailed report by the Washington Post investigative series, and six part investigative series. They found that law enforcement, state and local law enforcement had seized over $2.5 billion from motorists on our nation's highways. Since 9/11, all without any kind of warrant or indictment and that's just Highway seizures the same thing is happening in our nation's airports on the third kind of forfeitures we often see her something called structuring forfeitures, which is where the government especially the IRS and the Justice Department in aggressive about seizing bank accounts owned by individuals and small business owners because there's been a pattern of depositing what frequently depositing less than $10,000 and that's a crime under federal law because there's currency reporting requirements and if you fail to comply with those that's a crime is also a crime to try to evade those reporting requirements by purposely breaking up your transactions, but any structuring cases all they have. There's no evidence of any illegal activity. The only thing the government is relying on is a pattern of less than $10,000 deposit and a lot of innocent people and in small business owners, especially, have a very good reason for doing so. Their insurance policies will only convert cash losses up to $10,000.

Some people might be hearing us and saying to themselves waiting that law enforcement officers are going after the bad guys and this is just one tool they used it to get these bad guys. Why is that not the right way to approach this criminal forfeiture is for no one in America should lose their property without being convicted of a crime until the problem was civil forfeiture is really twofold. First, it has lower protections for property owners. So for example the standard of proof is very low. The government just in order to seize property simply needs probable cause to seize the property that is connected to a crime, then the government only has to show to forfeit the property that it's more likely than not that the property is connected to a crime and that the burden flips to the property owner which is a complete reversal of our American presumption of innocence on to affirmatively prove that they didn't know about her consent to the illegal activity and so these kind of procedure stack the deck against property owners because it's a civil proceeding they don't have any right to counsel on and there's all sorts of less procedural safeguards of property owners enjoy in the second reason is because it's not only civil forfeiture is not only easier for law enforcement to pursue that is lucrative to do so. In most states and 36 or 38 states plus the federal government, law enforcement gets to keep the forfeited property or its proceeds and use it how it sees fit and then creates a very direct financial incentive to seize and forfeit as much property as possible. We are chatting with dark, chef who was senior attorney at the Institute for Justice does the problem vary from state to state. Are there some states that that that have a bigger problem with civil forfeiture that others that is true know we seen in the last couple years.

A lot of states have enacted very comprehensive reform. So in the last two years over 20 states plus the District of Columbia has really taken the initiative and past comprehensive reform addressing these flaws.

But the problem does vary state by state, and of course each state has their forfeiture laws and then their federal forfeiture laws on North Carolina for example has very good forfeiture laws at the state level on the Institute for Justice issued a report called into landmark study called policing for profit that grades every jurisdictions forfeiture laws based on on how well they protect property owners rights and courting the process how much law enforcement will use forfeiture proceeds to benefit themselves that direct profit incentive we are talking about and the transparency Howell accountable law enforcement is in and how transparent the laws is are in terms of other use of forfeiture and how forfeiture proceeds are spent in North Carolina received a B+ for its forfeiture lies on.

It was very good in terms of protecting property owners rights. For example, it only allows civil forfeiture when there has been a criminal conviction except in in racketeering cases, which is the exception and it also does not allow law enforcement to benefit directly from forfeiture proceedings under state law.

All forfeiture proceeds must go to fund public schools unfortunate if transparency requirements are not as great and didn't get in a but the problem with North Carolina and many other states is that even where the state laws are very protective property owner writes on there's a big loophole called the federal equitable sharing program now under this program, state and local law enforcement can seize property and team up with federal authorities to bring a federal forfeiture action and in exchange get up to ED percent of forfeiture proceeds, and this provides a very direct financial incentive for state and local law enforcement to evade their own strict stricter state laws in favor of the more relaxed federal venture laws and, for example, North Carolina takes huge advantage of this loophole from 2000 to 2013 North Carolina took in hundred and $62 million and equitable sharing proceeds just from the Justice Department and an additional 42 million from the treasury departments forfeiture program in the brief time that we have left are there some reforms that North Carolina could put in place that would help check property rights even more. Yes, especially North Carolina episodes already got the great state laws on the books. What he could do is prohibit the ability of state and local law enforcement to participate in the federal equitable sharing program or at the very least require that equitable sharing proceeds rather than going back to state and local law enforcement as it currently does under DOJ policy. Those proceeds should go back according to state law to the to fund public schools and that would remove the profit incentive on the also increases transparency in reporting requirements will to very interesting topic, especially for people who are fans of property rights. We been speaking with our partnership senior attorney at the Institute for Justice thanks thank you so much for having me level Carolina journal radio just about are you looking to make North Carolina more free the John Mott foundation is in here are three things you can do today to help us make it happen. First, know the facts visit John Mott data work for data analysis, interviews, and more and read Carolina to learn what government is doing with your money. Second, influence the debate invest in the John Locke foundation's work with a tax-deductible donation you can get it done in and third make North Carolina more free by sharing the message of freedom. It's easy when you visit John Click on shareable's download past messages to freedom. Dear friends, print the messages and mail them, or if your savvy computer user share the message of freedom on Facebook and Twitter know the facts influence the debate and share the message three things you can do today to help us make North Carolina more free. Get started North Carolina is changing not just day-to-day but outward to our minute to minute. Even 2nd to 2nd, how can you keep up with the changes, especially the ones that affect you, your family, your home, your job, make the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal part of your social media diet on Facebook like the John Locke foundation like Carolina. Journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in CF at Carolina journal news, insights and analysis you'll find nowhere else. Thanks to the experts of the John Locke foundation and thanks to the first-class investigative reporting of Carolina journal. Don't wait for the morning newspaper. Don't wait for the evening news if it's happening now it's happening here the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal. Have you covered with up to the second information like us on Facebook the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea at at Carolina journal did you know you can now advance freedom and free markets just by shopping with Amazon it's true online shopping is now a great way to support the John Locke foundation just shot using the Amazon smile program and designate us the work foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop and Amazon donates money to us. The John Locke foundation. So here's how it works logon to Amazon smile. It's the same Amazon you know same products same prices is with better Amazon donates .5% of the price of your eligible purchases to pass the John Locke foundation to try.

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Support the John Locke foundation will go back Carolina to reveal why Michiko got the US House of Representatives has voted to scrap key pieces of the controversial Dodd Frank financial regulations, Congress approved those regulations in the wake of the last financial crisis.

Now the U.S. House is alternative is called the financial choice act one of its supporters of the house for North Carolina's 10th district Congressman Patrick McHenry, small businesses and families are the backbone of small rural communities like the ones I represent Western North Carolina. The fact is the Dodd Frank is had a crushing impact both on the ability of families and small businesses access loans in the financial products they need and deserve. Half of what Community Banks did prior to Dodd Frank were lending to small businesses now static 20% of what they do as as a result, regulations, or as a result of a massive regulation of that of come about as a result of Dodd Frank for families, availability of services they used to use it commonly think is acceptable like free checking and mortgage lending are significantly diminished or altogether gone for them.

And since Dodd Frank became law nearly 3/4 of community banks of either left or greatly reduce their mortgage businesses. This is problematic for families and the impact of these changes is hit rural communities like the ones I represent Western North Carolina. The harness, but it doesn't end there. The laws, mandates, the laws, mandates driven up the cost, boring, making her harder and more expensive for families to access credit or safer important life events, like saving for your child's college education. Mr. speaker the financial choice act changes.

Much of this.

It begins undo the damage caused by Dodd Frank by removing onerous Washington mandates very expensive regulations by cutting off access to financial products of the American people need and desire. Additionally, the financial choice act actually addresses the split that the plight of small businesses by cleaning up these messy regulations that are unclear that it made the marketplace less safe and secure for lending in small businesses and encouraging the use of innovative new forms of capital formation that help businesses grow and prosper.

That means jobs.

This bill is directed a growing American economy. Getting us back on our our feet and helping expand prosperity, not just urban or rural areas, but to both the All-Americans.

I urge my college vote for this important bill and get on with the business of legislator.

That's North Carolina's 10th district Congressman Republican Patrick McHenry speaking from the floor of the US House of Representatives House approved the financial choice act by a vote of 233 to 186 US senators expressed more skepticism about the proposal, but the idea would need support from both the House and Senate to become law with more Carolina journal radio. Are you tired of fake news. Well you won't find it here at Carolina we don't make things up and we don't presume or assign motives. There's no simpler way to put it then that were proud to say that honest, factual, rigorous journalism is the Carolina journal way our reporting team is focused on accountability in government and policymaking. No matter which political party is in power, and regardless of the person taken to task in the story at Carolina journal were beholden to the truth and to transparency.

Unlike fake news lies, innuendo, questionable sourcing all meant to create controversy not inform the debate. So the next time you're confronted with fake news logon to Carolina or pick up the latest print edition you'll find compelling news reporting from a team that knows what it means to be real journalists committed to truth Carolina you can count on us for the facts will go back to Carolina journal radio why Michiko got some North Carolina lawmakers want the state to support the movement called convention of state it evolves state legislatures taking the lead in amending the United States Constitution. They recently got some high profile support from former US Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, or country, as most emergent recognizers in trouble were in trouble, physically were in trouble. From a leadership standpoint and with my 16 years of experience in Washington, so no signs would anybody wash and Scott fix the problems with really liking our country and our founders were wisely gave us away.

To do that and if I see it is the only solution that returns decision-making to the people you know, the real question our country today is with all the controversy is, who decides that it ought to be the people deciding not unelected bureaucrats working in federal agencies told us what we will and won't do with our lives so I got involved in it because I thought it was the most important thing I could do outside of it, I certainly didn't accomplish what I went to walk Congress for which was to limit the federal government restore the balance of power between the states and the federal government and eliminate the waste fraud and abuse of smear. So this is where do, why not just elect more like-minded people who want to clean up government if you could truly get people who were politicians to be in Washington. I think that's true that's what you hear from the hard hard right. All we need to do is like better people but we don't have time to wait for no were now number 17 in economic freedom in the world we live the world for 200 years of economic freedom, where we number 17 because we've lost the vision of a free enterprise, personal responsibility and accountability country and we need to restore the way you restore that is by placing more responsibility at the local level and with the individual. What about your time in Congress convinces you that the current system is unsustainable, but also use the natural conflict of interest of individuals with improved positions of power when it came to making decisions about staying in position of power versus doing the best thing and what us all all the time was people would not do the best thing to do thing that was expedient for their political and I think that human nature of the factors as we have different kinds of people all in Washington. You know, two thirds of the people in Washington never served in a real job but been in a political office. Their whole life is so they don't have a broad experience and what they're interested in is their political career, and that's not necessarily bad, as long as you have the courage to stand up and make the tough votes with were speaking with former US Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma about the proposed convention of states providing waste fraud and abuse of the federal government help with this convention help address that issue number one is if you force a balanced budget amendment with generally accepted accounting principles.

Note Oklahoma has a balanced budget. They treat every year they go into depth and so will we balance a budget with generally accepted accounting principles words all transparency and you actually get a C or the federal government spending its money and use makeup use generally accepted accounting principles. You actually will get find out what we really are due. Here's last year's numbers $584 billion deficit will deduct go up 1.6 trillion won the unfunded liabilities grew up seven true so we told everybody we are only short 600 billion but it was really true dollars more so.

So you can't trust the numbers come in from Washington. They're not real they're not true that game and so forcing a balanced budget and then limiting the power of Washington and restoring the power of the states and the individual. Bring the decision-making home for I can come in and influence my state legislator. I represented 4 million people US.

I can't meet forming people but your legislature can meet with their district and they can actually get their attention. And if you talk to your legislators will actually say will that's one of my constituents. I would listen to what's the biggest challenge for people supporting a convention of state people are fearful will you might do something that will hurt us and you know my answer to that is you got 535 people Washington by the can do anything I want to figure 2/3 and send it to you think they're going to do that know they're not gonna send anything is going to hurt us, so why would the states where you actually have more control do anything that would hurt us. We have to help ourselves otherwise were going back all republics in history of God were the longest surviving Republican. They all died over the same issues, fiscal issues and one on one, and word unwinding right now a lot of people don't know much about article 5 of the U.S. Constitution. What's their reaction to this idea when they find out about it to get all excited visit. You mean I can actually do something we can actually take back some of the powerless been given to us. We can get our freedom back. We can actually move decision-making to our statehouse or to our county government away from Washington and everybody at some point in time has experienced the longhand of an unelected bureaucrat making the decision that fell on the ground. Everybody knows is not the right decision, but because there's money tied to were extorted to do what that longhand of the federal bureaucrat says what about people who think this process could get hijacked by supporters of a larger federal government, you have to believe that the 13 judiciary chairman in the United States. Of all the states would allow something like that. The project, so could remember whatever comes out of a convention of amendments and it's limited what can be offered so the wrong will not count by Bob jurisprudence in history. It's limited what you can offer of the outside of your application you can offer nothing but you have to believe that the 13 judiciary chairman would Laos that only takes 13 to stop anything right out of the 99 judiciary German because Nebraska has a unicameral legislature. It would take only 13 stop anything will listen up, and in 35 states. I actually trust the people a whole lot more not trust Washington. The biggest problem I see is legislators in North Carolina may not have confidence in legislator in Virginia or Kentucky, or Nebraska. I find them all be about pretty much the same. They want their freedom. They want their privileges.

They want to build or make decisions for their people in the best interest of the people, not with having somebody from Washington told here's what you have to and so again, our country was built on courage, not fear. And if you fear something out of fear. The runaway federal government we have today and fear what's going to happen to our children. Right now the millennial generation is on the hook. Over the next 50 years for $1.75 million apiece in unfunded liabilities that were consuming now so if you fear anything if you really love your children, you'll get on board with this. We can change the what's your elevator speech supporting the convention of states are founders were present, but knew that there's never been a time in history were a central government voluntarily seated back. It's part of the people so they put this in here in case the federal government ever got to the point where they were nonresponsive to the needs and requirements and freedom of the individual in their country this month and it has been used.

Most people don't realize that the Bill of Rights came about because John J and James Madison were putting forward an article 5 convention for memos to install the Bill of Rights into the U.S. Constitution, the Congress look at that Lisa will pass it. We don't want them tell us what to do and that's what will happen with this use is if in fact we get the 30 states. The congressman starkly while we better do these three things are. They're going to do it for that's former US Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma visiting North Carolina to tell the convention of states will return with Carolina radio if you love freedom we got great news to share with you now.

You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups all across the state.

All in one place North Carolina one-stop shopping for North Carolina St. movement had North Carolina You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carolina reporting and quick takes Carolina radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke foundation analyst plus opinion pieces and reports on higher education. All of that from the Pope Center for higher education policy commentary and polling data from the Cintas Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council. That's right, all of that, all in one place North Carolina that's North Carolina spelled out North Carolina Log on today.

Welcome back to Carolina journal radio down in Martinez social networking sites connect us to the world around us, but tension is mounting over how to prevent people from abusing social media while ensuring their right to free speech. That tension was highlighted in the recent US Supreme Court decision in packing him versus North Carolina the John Locke foundation's John today is director of legal studies he's joining us now to talk about this case. In particular, but also to describe the scenario that he says is new-media must new laws equals new problems John, welcome back to the program. Packing him versus North Carolina 820 ruling out of the US Supreme Court that overturns the North Carolina Supreme Court who was packing him and tell us about the facts of the case packing and was a convicted sex offender. He is a young man at the age of 20, was convicted sex with a 1313-year-old girl and under North Carolina law. Anybody was a registered sex offender including Mr. packing them is forbidden from using a whole range of social media sites including things like Facebook. As it happened somebody was moderate mild monitoring his case is a registered sex offender noticed that he was using Facebook or posted something on that have nothing to do with sex. It was he was simply crowing about the fact that he'd been cited for a traffic violation member in the case would be dismissed but simply using Facebook atoll was filing the log North Carolina and he was charged with.

It would all be up to the state Supreme Court. At that point the conviction was upheld but he appealed up in the US Supreme Court reversed the basis of his argument had to do with his right to free speech entirely for First Amendment free-speech claim against the constitutionality of this law. Let's talk first about what happened and what the reasoning was with the North Carolina Supreme Court in his case.

Tell us why they said no you cannot use social media.

They made a move which is somewhat understandable, but at the time what what I wrote about it last year.

I said it was a bucket 2015 called a stretch what they under ordinary constitutional jurisprudence.

It's very hard to make a law that limits people's freedom of speech. U.S. Constitution provides very strong protections for those rights but social with the North Carolina Supreme Court did was they said what were dealing with here isn't really a law that restricts freedom of speech. It's a lot of director to conduct bad conduct is getting access to social media. Therefore, any restrictions on freedom of speech are incidental to the conduct and we can look at them at a much lower level of scrutiny. In this case they said these are permissible restrictions are incidental right to freedom of speech that only happens to occur because the regulating his conduct that was there. That was how they approach the case of our call instruction seems as if the US Supreme Court agreed. Why did you believe it was a stretch and ultimately the US Supreme Court did agree with you is pretty obvious that what what was be regulated here was simply log it into a website it was using the website of what we do on Facebook or interviews of things we either read what other people have written or we write things ourselves. It's it's speech is the point of what's going on.

It's what is what the legislature were the water to regulate it. Of course, it's already hard to be done it would happen through speech and what the legislature is worried about quite legitimately is that somebody might use Facebook and other social media platforms to find young susceptible people lure them into some kind of a liaison and all that would happen if it happened at all. Only through speech does the ruling from the US Supreme Court mean that North Carolina's law is moot.

It's unconstitutional because if the legislature wants to do something about this problem, the government will have to the drawing board.

So Mr. packing him can indeed access Facebook if he wants to.

Well let me preface this beloved predators are a little bit of the US Supreme Court's remanded this to the North Carolina Supreme Court so there is another crack at it. However, the opinion by the US Supreme Court was sold clear and emphatic that this was a violation, I think that the day the legislatures would have to think for goes back to the North Carolina Supreme Court in the legislature. Perhaps get involved. What does that mean for other people who presumably John are affected by this North Carolina law as well. Not just Mr. packing well. I think that pretty clear that even registered sex offenders are going to get to use Facebook.

The real question going forward is what's permissible now in the way of regulation about these kinds of things because it seems legitimate to be worried about people using platforms like Facebook to to find susceptible victims and that is very clear from the opinion and notes for the reasons why several of the justices while they concurred in the result. What was I don't opinion because they thought was a lot more to be said about this in fact that you had actually pointed out some of the comments that Justice Alito made in the opinion was that essentially his point. Yes, that was his point.

He wrote a pretty strong concurrence in which you said I go along with the result here. Clearly this is regulation of speech, and it's not justifiable regulation of speech because is not narrowly tailored to the objective here, which is to keep people from using Facebook and other social media platforms to find victims for sexual abuse. However, the way it was written by Justice Stevens is so open-ended and so effusive that it makes it seem as if the platforms like Facebook are the new town square of the new city streets of the new public park where everybody should be allowed to speak.

It is vitally important that Justice Alito so we don't really know that yet. There's a lot we don't know about how free-speech is going to operate in the digital age and we should take it one step at a time.

It seems that this area of innovation. All the technology and communication and being tapped into literally the world that that the legal industry. The law is lagging behind is pretty much bound to be that way.

That's I go to the end of my piece of it's not just the courts or legislatures who have a lot to learn here. It's the rest of us, the people Internet service providers there.

There brilliant people involved in the garage technical skill and they need to learn how to figure out how to do better about preventing their platforms from being abused. The rest of us have to learn how to do better to obtain. We need to protect our children don't think we can rely on the legislatures or even the Internet service providers to protect us. We need to find ways to protect our children and ourselves as well. What a quandary that is set for all of us, but particularly I think the Internet service providers. John, how can you really monitor or do you do it by keywords or phrases. So I'm the last person to usually sites myself, but I do.

I think it's worth noting that they have taken upon themselves to monitor their users for offensive speech. What they call hate speech.

Takedown sites may take many ban users who they feel are abusing so-called standard, so I'm not sure I not all worried that it's beyond their technical capabilities to do at least a better job and have done a bell and I hope it will will you written a really interesting piece on this case packing him V North Carolina and you can read it at John lock.over our guess is been the author of that PC is John, to say the John Locke foundation's director of legal studies and attorney himself that's all the time we have for the program this week for listening on behalf of my cohost Michelle that I'm Donna Martinez will join us again next week for another edition of Carolina Journal radio Carolina Journal radio is a program of the John Locke foundation to learn more about the John Locke including donations support programs like Carolina Journal radio send email to development John Locke done or call 1866166554636 Carolina Journal radio nation airline is maintaining Carolina and run all opinions expressed on this program nearly formation about Michelle or other programs foundation is any airline sponsored Carolina radio again

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