NCGA Week in Review

October 20, 2017

Pardon Our Dust

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The legislature returned to Raleigh for the fourth time since adjourningthe long session this summer, which was focused on considering Gov. RoyCooper’s veto ofSB 656: Electoral Freedom Act of 2017. Meanwhile, Gov. Cooper issued an executive order that expandsnon-discrimination protections for some state employees.

From the Governor’s Office

On Wednesday, Gov. Cooper signedExecutive Order No. 24: Policies Prohibiting Discrimination,Harassment, and Retaliation in State Employment, Services, andContracts Under the Jurisdiction of the Office of the Governor, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color, ethnicity,sex, National Guard or veteran status, sexual orientation or genderidentity for state agencies under the Governor’s authority and businessesthat contract with those agencies. The impacted agencies employ a combined55,000 people and contract with more than 3,000 vendors. In hiscorrespondingblog post, Gov. Cooper states that Executive Order No. 24 will “make our state amore inclusive place and strengthen our economy.”

Special Session Report

The legislature returned to Raleigh earlier this week to considerSB 656: Electoral Freedom Act of 2017, which waspassedby both chambers earlier this month, and thenvetoedby Gov. Cooper. The bill eases the requirements for ballot access thirdparty and unaffiliated candidates and eliminates primaries for judicialoffices in 2018. The motion to override SB 656 passed the Senate 26-15,with two Republicans joining the Democratic caucus to oppose the motion,while two Democrats joined the Republicans in a 72-40 vote to override theveto in the House.

Additionally, Senate Rules Chairman Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) introducedSB 698: Increase Voter Accountability of Judgeson Tuesday. If passed, the bill would ask voters to amend the state’sconstitution to create two-year terms for all judges and justices.Presently, District Court judges serve four-year terms, while justices ofthe Supreme Court, and judges of the Court of Appeals and Superior Courtserve eight-year terms. Constitutional amendments must be passed by bothchambers and then approved by voters through a referendum in a generalelection.

The legislature plans to reconvene for another special session on January10, 2018.