If you’re having trouble keeping up with the number of constitutional amendments North Carolinians may be asked to vote on this November, you’re not alone. At last count, I’ve noted six possible amendments. Possible amendments and their current status include:
HB 1092 – Requires photo ID to vote. Requires voters to present valid identification for person to vote. Sixteen states have some form of photo ID requirement for voting. Thirty-four states require some general form of voter ID to vote. Status: Passed the House; Vote pending in the Senate
SB 75 – Limits maximum state tax rate on incomes to 5.5 percent. Amendment would reduce the maximum tax rate from 10 percent to 5.5 percent. From 1920 to 1936, the maximum rate North Carolina could charge on state income tax was 6 percent. In 1936, voters approved an amendment to raise the maximum tax rate to 10 percent and that has been the cap ever since. Status: Passed the Senate; Vote pending in the House
SB 677 – Protects the right to hunt and fish in North Carolina. Legislation is intended to provide stronger protection for hunting and fishing rights against organizations who are working to limit those rights. Similar amendments have been approved in 21 states. Status: Passed Senate and House (SL 2018-96). Will be on November ballot.
HB 551 – Strengthens victim’s rights. Voters in North Carolina adopted a crime victim’s rights amendment in 1996. The proposed amendment strengthens specific victim’s rights and obligates the General Assembly to develop a process to assert those rights. The new provisions are based largely on what is known as Marsy’s Law. Six states have already approved Marsy’s Law amendments and another half dozen states are considering similar legislation. Status: Passed Senate and House; Vote on Concurrence to Senate substitute amendment pending
SB 814 – Fills judicial vacancies. The constitutional amendment changes how the state would fill the seats of judges who resign, retire or are forced out before the end of their term. The amendment would not change how judges are currently elected. Current law allows the Governor to appoint judges who leave before the end of their term. Proponents of the amendment say the current system allows governors to fill vacancies as a form of patronage. The amendment would end the practice and authorize a commission to review and identify nominations. Nominations would be approved by the General Assembly and the Governor would make the final choice from a list of approved nominees. Status: Passed Senate: Vote pending in the House
HB 913 – Establishes bi-partisan elections and ethics enforcement. Amendment would change how members are appointed to the State board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. Currently, the governor appoints all members. Under the proposed constitutional amendment, a new bi-partisan 8-member State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement is created. Leaders in the House and Senate would each appoint four members to the commission. The amendment would largely shift control of the appointment process for the State Board of Elections from the Executive branch to Legislative branch. Status: Passed the House; Vote pending in the Senate
Since adoption of North Carolina’s modern-day constitution in 1971, the legislature has placed 45 amendments on the ballot. Voters have approved 37 of them.