Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly we overrode the Governor’s veto on two election bills, we moved local bills through committees and both chambers, and we learned about constitutional amendments to be voted on shortly.
Many of our votes in the N.C. House last week were votes to concur with bills that had passed the House earlier, and had been sent to the Senate. There they had been changed, so we had to concur, or agree, to the Senate changes.
However, early in the week we knew the Governor had vetoed two of our election bills, and that we had to have the three fifths votes to override his vetoes. On Wednesday we had Senate Bill 486 – The Elections Security and Transparency Act back before us. This bill requires county Boards of Elections to perform background checks on board employees that handle sensitive election data. This does not include precinct poll workers. This override vote was 74 – 42, and became law over the objections of the Governor.
The second vetoed bill was Senate Bill 757 – Various Court Districts Changes. This bill changes some districts for District Courts and Superior Courts, most notably for the Wake and Mecklenburg County districts. The districts’ populations had been skewed by growth patterns since the 1980s, the last time they were updated. SB 757 addressed these disparities to bring more fairness into the districts. It passed 74 – 43 and became law. The Senate had already overridden both bills earlier.
Many local bills were considered and passed in both chambers last week. Two of our local bills were in the Senate last week. House Bill 1027 – Bald Head Island/No Wake Zone and House Bill 1028 – Oak Island Charter Amendment were sent to the Senate Committee on State and Local Government, and then to the Senate Committee on Rules and Operation of the Senate. I was on hand to present them to both committees and they passed. HB 1027 then passed the Senate and became law. HB 1028 had a technical change in the Senate, passed that chamber, and was sent back to the House for a concurrence vote. It is first on the House calendar this Monday, and should have passed by the time the readers see this article. The Governor does not have a chance to consider local bills for signature or veto.
Constitutional amendments to be presented to the people on the November ballot must be passed by the House and Senate by at least a three fifths vote. Several of them are being considered, and two are on the House calendar for this Monday. Senate Bill 677 – Protect Right to Hunt and Fish will make it more difficult to put further restrictions on hunting and fishing beyond what has already been done. It passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 44 – 4.
House Bill 1092 – Const. Amendment – Require Photo ID to Vote will have its first floor vote Monday afternoon. It requires proof of residency through the use of a photo ID. Anyone without an ID may get a free one. Both of these proposed amendments should be passed in the House Monday.
The pace of votes this week will be busy, and we may be able to adjourn the short session by Thursday or the wee hours of Friday morning. I expect floor voting sessions to last into the night, possibly all week.