The North Carolina General Assembly resumed this week to override the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 824: Implementation of Voter ID Const. Amendment. The House and Senate both voted to override the Governor’s veto. There are still several bills that sit on the Governor’s desk that could potentially be vetoed. State law allows the Governor to wait up to 10 days to decide whether to sign or veto a bill. Republican lawmakers have urged the Governor to move quickly as the Holidays approach.

The House and Senate will hold a skeleton session (non-voting) this Sunday. This is done in order to comply with rules on how often the chambers must meet while remaining in session. It is expected that the Governor will veto at least one more bill and that the General Assembly will override any vetoes after the holiday.

The team at McGuireWoods Consulting would like to wish you a safe and happy holiday. We will resume publication of North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review after the New Year.

Voter ID

Voters in North Carolina will now be asked to show a photo ID when they go to vote next year. The House voted to override the Governor’s veto 72-40 while the Senate voted 33-12. The votes mostly along party lines did not come without fiery debate.

The Democratic Caucus and the Governor would have preferred to take up the legislation next year when there would not be a veto-proof General Assembly in place. A majority of Senate and House Democrats contended that the new voter id requirement is unfair to certain communities and responds to a very low number of voter fraud cases reported across the state.

Republicans focused their debate on responding to the 55% of voters across the state that voted in favor of the referendum on Election Day, increasing confidence in elections, and discouraging voter fraud. Through the process Republican leadership did accept amendments from across the aisle. Leadership felt that they had created a final product that had plenty of bipartisan input. The bill had two Democratic sponsors, one from each chamber.

Under the new law acceptable forms of ID will be:

  • Driver Licenses
  • Passports,
  • Military and Veteran IDs,
  • Tribal Enrollment cards,
  • College IDs
  • State ID cards issued to non-drivers
  • State and Municipal employee IDs
  • New type of ID issued by local boards of election.

People who don’t have the required ID would be able to cast provisional ballots after signing an affidavit at the polls stating their “reasonable impediment.” A lawsuit was filed in Wake County Superior Court shortly after the House voted on the bill. Barring any major court rulings, the law could take effect for municipal elections in the Fall.

Climate Change Council

Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 80 in October to address climate change and transition to a clean energy economy. The Governor has set an ambitious goal of cutting greenhouse emissions across the state by 40%. 2025 is the target date to reach this goal. The state has been hit with devastating storms and other climate related issues that have in turn affected industries across the state. The Governor stressed that climate change will and has impacted the state’s economy.

On Wednesday, the N.C. Climate Change Interagency Council held their inaugural meeting. Cabinet members from the Cooper Administration gathered to present their plans to reach the goal. All state agencies are represented on the council and shared similar goals.

Highlights of the plan includes requiring state buildings to cut their energy use by 40%, creating a public-private partnership to have 80,000 zero emission vehicles on the roads, and infrastructure upgrades such as charging stations to accommodate electric vehicles. The plan has been touted as the most ambitious climate change plan out of any state.

To view the presentations from the meeting click here.