Business slowed at the legislature this week in preparation for adjournment next week. The focus shifted to local bills, concurrence votes on a few public bills, and constitutional amendments. Also, the House and Senate voted to override two gubernatorial vetoes of a comprehensive elections bill and a bill to make various changes to judicial districts. Furthermore, legislative leaders expect to consider more constitutional amendments and veto overrides next week.
General Assembly Overrides Veto of Elections Bill
The House and Senate overrode Governor Cooper’s veto of a bill that made comprehensive changes to state election law. Sponsored by Sens. Warren Daniel (R-Burke), Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), and former Sen. Andrew Brock (R-Davie), SB 486: The Elections Security and Transparency Act prohibits a candidate from running for the same office under a different party if they lost the primary election as a candidate of another party, and changes how judicial candidates are listed on the ballot. The new law also requires criminal background checks for current and prospective employees of the state and county boards of elections. The bill became law on Wednesday.
HB 551: Strengthening Victims’ Rights received a favorable report from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Sponsored by Reps. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), Rena Turner (R-Iredell), Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), and Beverly Earle (D-Mecklenburg), the legislation would add a referendum to amend the state constitution to November’s ballot. If passed by a majority of voters in November, the bill would broaden the definition of “victim” in the state constitution, require timely notice of all criminal proceedings, and add the right for the victim to receive full and timely restitution from the defendant. The legislation, known as Marsy’s law, has passed in numerous states across the country.
Legislature Overrides Veto of Judicial Districts
The General Assembly voted to override Governor Cooper’s veto of SB 757: Various Court District Changes this week. The bill would phase in district and superior court changes in Mecklenburg, Wake, New Hanover, and Pender counties between 2018 and 2022. Wake and Mecklenburg counties will change from electing district court judges at large to single member districts within the counties. The bill also changes the superior court districts in New Hanover and Pender counties.
Voter ID Constitutional Amendment
The House Rules Committee gave a favorable report to legislation that would amend the North Carolina Constitution to require photo identification to vote in person. If approved by the General Assembly, HB 1092: Const. Amendment – Require Photo ID to Vote, sponsored by Speaker Tim Moore (R-), David Lewis (R-Harnett), Michele Presnell (R-Yancey), and John Sauls (R-Lee), would add a referendum on the voter identification amendment to November’s ballot. If approved by a majority of voters in the upcoming election, the General Assembly would have the authority to enact laws pertaining to requirements of the photo identification amendment. The bill now heads to the House floor for vote of the full chamber.
A Look Ahead to Next Week
Monday, June 25, 2018
1:00 PM Session Convenes (House)
1:30 PM Session Convenes (Senate)
TBD Rules, Calendar, and Operations (House)