Last week, the 2018 short session of the North Carolina General Assembly came to a close until lawmakers return for a special session in November. In addition to substantive legislation, lawmakers approved 6 constitutional amendments for voters to decide on November’s ballot. Earlier this week, we provided a breakdown of possible constitutional amendments. Here is a refresher on each amendment that will be on the ballot along with a brief description.
HB 1092 – Requires photo ID to vote. Voter ID is a common-sense way to protect the integrity of our elections. A June 2018 Civitas Poll found that 69 percent of respondents supported the measure, with 24 percent opposing and 7 percent saying they were not sure. You can view the results across different demographic groups using our interactive poll results here.
SB 75 – Limits maximum state tax rate on incomes to 7 percent. The amendment would lower the income tax rate cap from its current level of 10 percent. The amendment originally passed by the Senate with a 5.5 percent cap, but was changed this week in the House before final approval. See the following Civitas articles to learn more:
- Why the tax rate decrease is a good idea
- The truth about the myths surrounding the tax cap decrease
- The moral case for decreasing the tax cap
- Public support for the lowered cap across all demographic groups
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.
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.
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
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.