Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Board endorses farmers' priorities for legislation

Henderson County Board of Commissioners sent to Raleigh eight ideas for legislation, including one request by Henderson County farmers to allow migrant workers to get drivers permits and another to exempt farmers from a law requiring employers to make electronic background checks of new hires.

Commissioners voted unanimously for six of the eight proposals. Commissioners Larry Young and Bill O'Connor voted no on the agriculture community's request to exempt farm labor from the so-called E-verify checks, and Commissioner Charlie Messer voted no on the idea of eliminating the second primary.
Commission chairman Tommy Thompson called the primary runoffs expensive and wasteful.
The board also voted to ask state legislators to enact bills that would:
• Require voter IDs at the polls.
• Give counties the same authority to regulate video sweepstakes that cities have, including the power to tax the games.
• Give counties more flexibility in economic development incentives, specifically to give greater weight to job creation.
• Eliminate several kinds of legal notices required under state law for county zoning and other regulations.
• Give counties more flexibility to place lower assessments on homes that have become dilapidated while abandoned during a foreclosure proceeding.

The county's AgriBusiness Development agency, the Mills River Agricultural Advisory Committee and the county Agricultural Advisory Committee all endorsed the two proposed state law changes that farmers say are needed to ensure a stable workforce.

O'Connor objected to the farmworker exemption from the E-verify checks, saying the change would be controversial and should only be recommended to the Legislature after a local public hearing. Commissioners said there was insufficient time to hold a hearing, since the state Association of County Commissioners asked for the recommendations by Sept. 17.