Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly: we passed historic constitutional amendments for the voters to decide, we had a record override votes of the Governor’s vetoes, and we finished our work for the short session.
On last Monday afternoon we had an unusual early session. The first item of business was to finish House Bill 1028 – Oak Island Charter Amendment by concurring with the Senate’s minor change by a vote of 111 – 0. It became law then, as it is not subject to the Governor’s veto.
Then we began a series of constitutional amendments by voting on House Bill 1092 – Constitutional Amendment – Require Photo ID To Vote. It passed 74 – 44 in the House and 33 – 12 in the Senate and will be on the ballot in November for the voters to decide.
During the week a total of six constitutional amendments were passed, and will be on the November ballot. The voters will decide which of them will become part of our state constitution. Besides voter ID, five others are:
- House Bill 913 – Bipartisan Ethics and Election Enforcement makes the state elections and ethics board bipartisan. It passed 74 – 43 in the House and passed 32 – 14 in the Senate.
- Senate Bill 677 – Protect Right to Hunt and Fish makes it clear these are protected rights, subject to some statutory restrictions. It passed 92 – 23 in the House and 41 – 6 in the Senate.
- Senate Bill 75 – Constitutional Amendment – Maximum Income Tax Rate of 7% caps the income tax rate for the state at 7% rather than the current cap of 10%. It passed 73 – 45 in the House and 34 to 13 in the Senate.
- Senate Bill 814 – Judicial Vacancy Sunshine Amendment provides for a non-partisan commission to recommend justices and judges to fill vacant positions, send them to the General Assembly, and then to the Governor for appointment. Now just the Governor is involved in the process. It passed the House 73 – 45 and the Senate 34 – 13.
- House Bill 551 – Strengthening Victims Rights makes it clear that certain victims’ rights are protected instead of allowing victims and their families to be victimized further. It passed the House 107 – 9 and the Senate 45 – 1.
All the constitutional amendments require a three – fifths vote to pass both chambers, and must then be voted on by the citizens in November. Veto overrides must also pass by three – fifths. The Governor had vetoed seven bills the previous week, so we took up the override votes this past week. The five we overrode were:
- House Bill 374 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2018 overridden by 75 – 44 in the House and 34 – 11 in the Senate.
- House Bill 382 – Dept. of Insurance Omnibus bill overridden by 84 – 35 in the House and 39 – 8 in the Senate.
- House Bill 717 – Judicial Election Changes overridden by 74 – 45 in the House and 30 – 16 in the Senate.
- Senate Bill 325 – The Uniform and Expanded Early Voting Act overridden 74 – 45 in the House and 34 – 12 in the Senate.
- Senate Bill 711 – NC Farm Act of 2018 overridden 74 – 45 in the House and 37 – 9 in the Senate.
All of these bills can be read on the General Assembly web site at www.ncleg.net .
The last order of business last Friday was to adjourn the short session. We may be back before the year is over, depending on what the Governor and the courts do that may require our attention.