Your Choice: Should we change the NC Constitution?

Provided the Republican majority led legislators override Governor Roy Cooper’s(D) veto, there will be six constitutional amendments to vote on in the Nov. 6 general election. Those amendments involve victims rights, hunting rights, and a photo ID requirement to vote.

• House Bill 551: Strengthening Victims’ Rights

Otherwise known as “Marsy’s Law,” H.B. 551  offers the victims of violent crimes better help, more access to court proceedings, and the ability to hire their own attorney. The N.C. Constitution already contains protections for crime victims, but legislators wanted stronger actions. If passed, a leaked fiscal note revealed a cost estimate of $30.5 million per year for enforcement.

• H.B. 913: Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement

In December 2016  the General Assembly merged the former State Board of Elections with the N.C. Ethics Commission. Various combinations of that board were rejected by state courts as a violation of separation of powers.

• H.B. 1092: Constitutional Amendment – Require Photo ID to Vote

Voters would have to present photo identification to vote in person if this bill is approved in November. This is the General Assembly’s second attempt to institute voter ID since the previous voter ID law was struck down by federal courts.

• Senate Bill 75: Constitutional Amendment – Maximum Income Tax Rate of 7 percent

This amendment freezes the income tax rate maximum at 7 percent.  Several caution that this amendment violates the traditional function of amendments to add rights or resolving institutional powers.

• S.B. 677: Protect Right to Hunt and Fish

This bill makes hunting and fishing a right in the N.C. Constitution. This could challenge existing Sunday hunting restrictions..

• S.B. 814: Judicial Vacancy Sunshine Amendment

Governors now fill judicial vacancies when they arise during judicial terms. The amendment proposes the General Assembly to source candidates from a “nonpartisan judicial merit commission” to prevent any branch of government from securing a majority of appointments to the nine-member commission.

The number of amendments will make for interesting campaigns.