Daren Bakst

Posts by Daren Bakst (page 9)

  • An Eminent Domain Amendment Likely To Accomplish Nothing

    The new House eminent domain amendment almost certainly will accomplish nothing.  There's no teeth to the amendment for it to take a bite out of eminent domain abuse. The amendment's language prohibits the government from taking private property except for a "public use."  Here's the catch though.  The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution also limits takings for a "public use," as do many state constitutions. Courts interpret the term "public use" to mean "public purpose" or "public benefit," which are much broader in scope, thereby allowing the eminent domain abuse that is so common.  This abuse includes allowing the government to take private property for private economic development.  For example, if the government thinks your house should be seized and the property used for an Applebee's, that would be constitutional.
    Daren Bakst, April 7, 2011
  • NC’s Own Individual Mandate

    The following is from my recent Rights & Regulation newsletter.  You can receive the newsletter by signing up here. Before there was ObamaCare, North Carolina had its own individual mandate. In 2007, the North Carolina legislature mandated that electricity customers buy electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. The law requiring this mandate, known as SB 3, in some ways is even worse than mandating the purchase of health care. At least with the ObamaCare mandate, you actually would receive health insurance. Under SB 3's energy mandate, North Carolinians will be paying, in part, to receive nothing in return. Since utility companies can buy nearly half of the required renewable energy from outside the state, North Carolinians will be paying an energy tax to subsidize electricity for people in California and other states but won't actually receive the electricity themselves. SB 3 is a mandate not to benefit North Carolinians, but to benefit the solar and wind industries, as can be seen by the requirement to subsidize out-of-state renewable energy companies.
    Daren Bakst, April 1, 2011
  • Three Out of Four Ain’t Bad (for the Solar Lobby)

    OK, the Meatloaf song is two out of three ain’t bad, but work with me here. Not to be outdone, three Senate Republicans (two primary sponsors and one a co-sponsor) are pushing the same solar lobby bill (SB 473) that would increase energy taxes on the public…
    Daren Bakst, March 31, 2011
  • Voter ID Dead?

    House Republicans reportedly are drafting a new version of the voter ID bill that would allow voters to show a voter registration card in lieu of a valid photo ID. As I have written before, a voter registration card is an inadequate means of establishing identity.  The proposal…
    Daren Bakst, March 31, 2011
  • Favors for The Powerful Solar Lobby

    A new bill (HB 495) was introduced in the House that would require utilities to double the amount of solar power they have to buy in order to meet the 7.5% renewable energy mandate of SB 3. Further, the bill would allow utility companies to meet the 7.5% mandate…
    Daren Bakst, March 30, 2011
  • Response to N & O’s Unfortunate Annexation Article

    The Raleigh News & Observer ran an "unfortunate" article written by Rob Christensen on forced annexation. The article lets us know right up front where it is coming from.  The article is entitled "Many hail North Carolina annexation law." Exactly who hails the law?  There are municipalities, the taxpayer-funded lobbying group the NC League of Municipalities, current and former municipal officials such as David Rusk (he was the former mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico), Pat McCrory, and some undefined class of business leaders.  I wouldn't exactly call this group as "many." The article rehashes the same tired arguments:
    Daren Bakst, March 29, 2011
  • Repeal Senate Bill 3

    Recent newspaper articles have discussed the John Locke Foundation's  view that the state legislature should repeal the 2007 state renewable energy mandate bill (SB 3). Here's a bit more information on why SB 3 should be repealed, along with some thoughts about the views expressed in those articles. The SB 3 Mandate SB 3 mandates that utility companies generate at least 7.5% of their electricity from renewable energy sources (such as biomass, solar, and wind). If a bill mandated coal or nuclear power, this also would be a problem.  Utility companies should be generating electricity from the most reliable and inexpensive sources of electricity, whatever those sources may be.  If those sources are wind and solar, so be it. Costs: Due to this mandate, North Carolina electricity customers have to pay far more for electricity.  Utility companies don't bear the costs--they pass on the costs to customers.
    Daren Bakst, March 27, 2011
  • Partisan Elections for Judges: A Real Voter Rights Issue

    The News & Observer had an amusing editorial yesterday in which they argued against making judicial elections partisan.  They make this claim even though they admit that judicial elections had always been partisan until 15 years ago when the Democrats didn’t like the success Republicans were having at the…
    Daren Bakst, March 21, 2011