CHARLOTTE, NC – Before adjournment on Friday, June 29, 2018, of the legislative short session, Republican leadership used their advantage of veto-proofing with having the majority push certain constitutional amendments forward. Constitutional amendments require three-fifths of votes in both the House and Senate chambers from legislative members.
Here is an overview of the constitutional amendments that will appear on the upcoming November ballot:
Senate Bill 677 (Protect the Right to Hunt and Fish) – This constitutional amendment would preserve the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife. According to supporters of this bill, twenty-one other states have similar constitutional provisions. It would not change state hunting regulations.
House Bill 913 (Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement) – This legislation makes structural changes to the State Board of Elections. The legislature will have the power to make appointments, instead of the Governor. The elections board would have eight members. Half would be appointed by House and Senate majority leaders, and the other half appointed by House and Senate minority leaders.
House Bill 551 (Marsy’s Law/Victim’s rights) – This constitutional amendment expands the rights of victims of crime and their families in the North Carolina Justice System. It allows victims of crimes more notice and information regarding their case. Although victims are entitled information regarding their case, they will not be able to access confidential juvenile information.
Senate Bill 75 (Constitutional Amendment - Maximum Income Tax Rate of 7.0%) – This constitutional amendment caps the income tax in the state of North Carolina at seven percent. Republican legislators in the House advanced this revised measure, after determining that a 5 percent cap would harm the state’s ability to generate revenue. The constitution currently caps the income tax rate at 10 percent.
Senate Bill 814 (Judicial Vacancy Sunshine Amendment) – This bill is another constitutional amendment that shifts power from the Governor to the lawmakers when there are vacancies on the bench of the General Court of Justice. The amendment calls for the creation of a state commission to appoint judicial nominees and forward recommendation to the General Assembly.
“These constitutional amendments will be in the hands of voters on November 6, 2018. There is much work to be done informing North Carolina voters accurate information on the harm these constitutional amendments may impose. Governor Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 814 removed his legal authority to have the power to appoint judicial nominees. Senate Bill 75 allows the tax cap increase in the cost-of-living for our working families. As we have adjourned until November 27, 2018, the North Carolina General Assembly has a multitude of work left to do making sure that each and every North Carolinian is kept abreast of the consequence of the constitutional amendments. I implore each and every one of you to reach out to my office with questions and do your due diligence before casting your vote,” said Senator Joyce Waddell.