RALEIGH, August 28, 2018 — Earlier Tuesday Governor Roy Cooper signed into law the hotly debated HB 17. Nicknamed the “Pluto bill”, this new law draws into question whether or not the idea of states’ rights extends into outer space.
This new law goes into effect on August 31st states that Pluto is once again a planet.
Pluto was originally classified as a planet until the International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefined the definition of what a planet is. This redefinition lead to the demotion of Pluto and thus, the celestial body has been known as dwarf planet since 2006. The decision was widely respected by scientists at the time.
However, in recent years some politicians have called for the reinstatement of Pluto as a planet. NC House Rep. Pat B.Hurley, the co-author of the bill, said on the matter “we have punished Pluto long enough”. Additionally, Lt.Governor Dan Forest said on this bill “this is [a] historic moment for our state, our country, and most importantly, Pluto” and he even called on the federal government to follow in North Carolina’s footsteps and recognize Pluto as a planet on a federal level.
We reached out to Gov. Cooper’s office for additional comment and are yet to receive a response.