By Lindell J. Kay
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Criminal justice should be a matter of common sense, not political fodder, according to a candidate in March’s Republican primary for North Carolina attorney general.
Sam Hayes visited Wilson on Tuesday to meet with a few folks and then took a look at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park.
Hayes said with issues like Second Amendment sanctuaries and voter ID, now is the time for a conservative attorney to represent the state’s interests.
“Democrats have had a stranglehold on attorney general for 150 years,” Hayes said. “It’s time for a conservative change, and I’m a conservative for change.”
Hayes is in a three-way race for the GOP nomination. Also running are Christine Mumma, executive director of the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence, and Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill.
The winner will face incumbent Attorney General Josh Stein, a first-term Democrat.
Stein is a protégé of Gov. Roy Cooper, who served as attorney general for 16 years prior to winning the state’s top office in 2016.
“Stein is an extension of Roy Cooper,” Hayes said. “That’s the problem. In 20 years under Cooper and Stein, there is still a backlog of 15,000 untested rape kits at the state crime lab. I will solve that problem.”
Hayes said he’ll get to the bottom of what’s wrong with the system.
“Every minute of every day that these cases aren’t prosecuted is a denial of justice for victims and their families,” Hayes said.
Hayes served as general counsel for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality under Gov. Pat McCrory and general counsel for State Treasurer Dale Folwell. Hayes, 47, has practiced law for more than two decades.
At the DEQ, Hayes oversaw litigation that addressed the decades-long problem of coal ash contamination. He served as special counsel in a case blocking a federal takeover of all agricultural land east of Interstate 95 and helped fight a federal takeover of the state’s power grid, which would have meant higher electric rates for North Carolina residents, according to information provided by Hayes’ campaign.
“I’m not a career politician,” Hayes said. “Josh Stein is padding his resume and eying higher office. He’s looking at Sen. (Richard) Burr’s seat. I’m not a career politician. I just want to do the job of attorney general, and if the legislature passes a law, I will defend it.”
Hayes said he grew up in a small town not unlike Wilson. A native of Forsyth County, Hayes now lives in Raleigh. He’s been spending a lot of time campaigning in eastern North Carolina. He said he enjoys meeting people and visiting places he hasn’t been in a while.
“As I talk to voters across the state, I see a lot of concern over the loss of Second Amendment rights,” Hayes said. “That’s why I support Second Amendment sanctuaries.”
Hayes said he’s a big proponent of voter ID and is baffled why Stein didn’t fight for the law when it was recently waylaid by a judge.
“If it’s important in the general election, it’s important in the primaries,” Hayes said.
Hayes also objects to sheriffs refusing to hold illegal immigrants for federal immigration agents.
Hayes graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his law degree from Wake Forest University. He remains active with both alma maters, recently completing a four-year term on the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Visitors; he also serves on the economics department advisory board. At Wake Forest’s law school, he serves on the general counsel advisory committee.
Hayes is married with two young children. The family attends Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh.
We spoke with the three Republican candidates for attorney general: Sam Hayes, former attorney for two state agencies, Jim O'Neill, the district attorney in Forsyth County, and Christine Mumma, the executive director for the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence. Correction: Apologies! I dropped a word in the introductions. Sam Hayes is former general counsel for the state Treasurer's Office, not current. - Travis Fain
Web editor: Jason Boyd
Producer: Kelly Riner
Link to the story WRAL.com.
Carolinajournal.com Opinion: Daily Journal. Cooperation key in freeing farmers from federal overreach over land, water
Donald van der Vaart
in Daily Journal
January 17, 2020
When President Trump speaks to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention Sunday, I’ll be listening for next steps in his plan to free North Carolina farmers from the devastating overreach of Obama administration rules that expanded the definition of private land that can be regulated under the federal Clean Water Act.
Under President Obama’s redefinition, much more of North Carolina, and virtually all of our state east of Interstate 95, would have been designated as Waters of the United States. Land that is designated as wetlands is subject to land-use restrictions that are intended to protect streams and rivers. However, the overly broad definition composed by Obama’s bureaucrats in Washington would have done nothing to protect water quality. The rule would have had a disproportionate impact on our farmers by reducing their land values and forcing them through lengthy permitting red tape before making changes in their land’s use. The process has been the subject of much criticism, with horror stories of the process lasting years.
Obama’s rule was also illegal, according to U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency understood its legal obligations and knew the grave threat Obama’s rule posed not only to individual farmers, but to North Carolina’s top economic sector. The Trump administration immediately set to work on first repealing the rule, which it did last year, and reforming WOTUS according to the Supreme Court’s rulings on the limits of federal power. The less restrictive WOTUS rule is expected soon from the EPA. It’s these changes I hope to hear about Sunday.
At the core of the issue is the extent of the authority of the federal government. The Clean Water Act does not regulate waters of the United States based on the likelihood of their contributing pollution to actual navigable waters. It regulates anything that is navigable. As EPA legal experts have explained, even if the CWA targeted pollution, implementation would still be limited by the authority granted to the federal government by the states in the U.S. Constitution.
This means the question of what should be included as Waters of the United States is not a scientific inquiry, but a legal one. It is one the U.S. Supreme Court has attempted to convey to the EPA in past decisions.
States are free to go beyond WOTUS — and North Carolina already does — to regulate whatever waters or land it believes necessary. States have far better knowledge of what lands need to be regulated than bureaucrats in Washington. Without amending the CWA consistent with the Constitution, however, the EPA cannot and should not attempt to expand its control of private property.
Based on history, it’s a good bet that Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration will challenge Trump’s reforms to WOTUS. During the Pat McCrory administration, then Attorney General Cooper did not represent North Carolina in lawsuits filed against the Obama administration’s expanded WOTUS, even though the majority of states (29) had filed lawsuits. To protect North Carolina’s rights, McCrory moved to challenge the WOTUS expansion despite Cooper’s refusal to represent the state. McCrory implemented a state constitutional provision allowing him to appoint Department of Environmental Quality General Counsel Sam Hayes as special counsel to represent North Carolina in multiple lawsuits. This effort was rewarded when the Obama-era rule was stayed by a federal appeals court. By issuing the stay, the court recognized the significant harm WOTUS would cause and the legal frailty of the rule.
While the lawyers fought in court, farmers fought back, as well. They knew the rule would significantly impact property values immediately by restricting land use. Farmers were part of a larger coalition that formed when it became clear the initial process used to develop the expanded WOTUS was cloaked in secrecy. While developing the maps that showed the expanded jurisdiction under its proposed rule, Obama’s EPA refused to consult with state agencies that would implement the new rule. Pressure from Congress compelled EPA to share the maps.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science Committee declared, “Given the astonishing picture they paint, I understand the EPA’s desire to minimize the importance of these maps. But EPA’s posturing cannot explain away the alarming content of these documents.”
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, which included North Carolina’s Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and North Dakota’s Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, held hearings on the rule. In the meantime, the Obama administration was lobbying for the rule and was cited by the Government Accountability Office for violating the law. A bipartisan resolution repealing the rule was passed by Congress but vetoed by Obama, who also ignored the violations by his agency.
Thankfully, things are about to change. The EPA is expected to publish the final rule this month. I expect the reformed WOTUS will be challenged, but the efforts by so many has already illustrated the success of cooperation between states and the federal government in ensuring our Constitution and our laws are faithfully executed.
NOTE: These comments are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily express the position of the John Locke Foundation.
Donald van der Vaart is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation. Formerly, he was secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and the state’s energy policy adviser.
Link to the original post here.