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AT ISSUE: Challenges and Opportunities

Yet another new and historic session of the North Carolina General Assembly is underway, and the staff of the North Carolina Family Policy Council is busy with both the usual and unusual hustle and bustle of activity that comes with each session. As our president has said frequently since November, this year has the potential to be one of the most family-friendly sessions in memory. I am reminded of Nathanael Greene’s words:

America must raise an empire of permanent duration, supported upon the grand pillars of Truth, Freedom, and Religion, encouraged by the smiles of Justice and defended by her own patriotic sons.

We must not miss this opportunity. This issue of Family North Carolina includes articles highlighting many of the issues we hope to see legislators consider in the coming months.

Dr. Bob Luebke’s feature on school choice is more than pie in the sky dreams. He looks at what has been successful in other states and why, and offers realistic policy ideas North Carolina should consider. As he outlines, parents should be empowered and supported in their desire to provide the best educational opportunities for their children. It is time for North Carolina to make options more tangible to more families.

Society is only as healthy as its marriages. With the overwhelming passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment last year, North Carolinians made clear their understanding that marriage is an important foundational institution in society. Mike McManus offers tangible public policy options the State and churches should adopt to protect and strengthen marriages.

Medical marijuana is a myth. Marijuana is not a safe drug, and its legalization is not wise public policy, as Alysse ElHage explains in her article on so-called medical marijuana. Her analysis of the medical and social science research related to marijuana and to the policy surrounding it provides a strong case for lawmakers to not only reject any attempts at legalization, but to reinforce attempts to keep it off our streets and out of the hands of our youth.

The science is in—unborn children are human. Surprising to some, many of the children whose lives are ended through this barbaric procedure feel excruciating pain. Attorney Mary Summa argues that unborn children’s ability to experience such real physical pain in their mother’s wombs, especially during abortions, should be considered in determining the timeframe during which an abortion is legal.

Lawmakers have returned to Raleigh. As yet another historic legislative session gets underway in North Carolina, Brittany Farrell offers a perspective of the highlights to expect in 2013.

Courts in North Carolina and across the country have been busy since the fall. North Carolina has seen its 2010 ban on electronic sweepstakes upheld by the State Supreme Court, and its “Choose Life” license plate struck down as unconstitutional. On the federal level, marriage is again front and center. See more details on each of these cases in the Courts pages.

Do not miss NCFPC president Bill Brooks’ interview with Dr. Natasha Dow Schüll on the addictive nature of machine gambling discussed in her excellent book Addiction By Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas.

Bill Brooks’ commentary on the following page is a call to the newly elected General Assembly to embrace North Carolina’s state motto “to be rather than to seem” by actively working to be champions of faith, life, and family.

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to support us in our work to educate legislators on those issues that are most important to North Carolina families. With your help, we look forward to a legislative session full of positive public policy.

We hope this issue of Family North Carolina prepares you to be an even better advocate for sound family-friendly policies. As always, once you have read it, please share it with your friends and family.



Brittany Farrell is assistant director of policy for the North Carolina Family Policy Council and editor of Family North Carolina.



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