A group representing hundreds of advocacy groups, local governments, and state notables (including several folks from the Piedmont Land Conservancy) visited the General Assembly on Wednesday in support of a proposed $1 billion bond issue this November for land preservation and park expansions. The “Land for Tomorrow” organization is backing identical pieces of legislation cosponsored by more than half of the Legislature’s 170 members. Bond proponents argue the state’s growing population will make it more difficult to preserve the state’s natural resources and historic landmarks. The measure would permit the state to issue general obligation bonds starting in 2007, phased in over at least three years. The proceeds would be given in the form of grants to four existing conservation trust funds. The group says the money would protect 740,000 acres, protect 6,000 miles of rivers and streams and restore 350 historic landmarks. Bond proponents include former Governors, Jim Hunt, Jim Martin and Jim Holshouser. The measure enjoys good support in the House and Senate, but is currently opposed by Governor Easley, who is troubled by the state’s incurring more debt.
More than 100 veterans met with legislators on Wednesday, which was Flag Day, and were honored during session with a resolution that expressed “profound appreciation and gratitude” to past and present service members.