NCGA Week in Review

June 29, 2018

Pardon Our Dust

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The legislature was very busy this week as leadership prepared to adjourn Friday afternoon. The focus shifted to remaining local bills and constitutional amendments. Also, House and Senate leaders responded to Governor Cooper’s veto of seven bills with five veto overrides this week. Furthermore, both chambers approved various gubernatorial and legislative appointments, and the United States Supreme Court upheld recently drawn legislative districts.

Constitutional Amendments

During the short session, the legislature proposed six constitutional amendments. The proposed amendments needed three-fifths of the vote from the House and Senate in order to be placed on the ballot in November. Once they are on the ballot, the amendments will need a majority of the vote from citizens in order to become law. The Governor does not have power to veto the proposed changes to the constitution. Below are the Constitutional Amendments that will be on the ballot in November.

HB 551: Strengthening Victims’ Rights: Adds rights in the legal system to protect victims of felony crimes.

SB 75: Const. Amd.-Max. Income Tax Rate of 7%: Reduces the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent.

SB 814: Judicial Vacancy Sunshine Amendment: Allows the General Assembly to decide who should fill judicial vacancies, rather than the Governor.

HB 913: Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement: Allows the General Assembly to choose eight members for the Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement board, with nominees from each party.

HB 1092: Const. Amendment – Require Photo ID to Vote: Would require voters to present photo ID at the polls. This amendment is aimed to prevent voter fraud.

SB 677: Protect Right to Hunt and Fish: Preserving hunting and fishing, and make hunting and fishing a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife for future generations.

Veto Overrides

Governor Cooper and legislative leadership sparred this week as the House and Senate quickly returned his vetoes with overrides. The General Assembly voted to override Governor Cooper’s veto of the following bills this week:

HB 374: Regulatory Reform Act of 2018 is this year’s version of the annual regulatory reform bill. The legislation amends various business, municipal, and environmental regulations. The bill amends the wastewater permitting requirements, mandates the Environmental Review Commission to review the implementation of water quality laws at the local level, and changes the appointment process to the Utilities and Industrial commissions.

HB 382: DOI Omnibus.-AB, sponsored by Reps. Mitchell Setzer (R-Catawba), Dana Bumgardner (R-Gaston), Cody Henson (R-Transylvania), and Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), makes various conforming and clarifying changes to state insurance law as requested by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. It also amends the North Carolina consent to rate, captive insurance, and bail bond forfeiture laws. 

HB 717: Judicial Elections Changes makes numerous changes to the election of judges, judicial districts, and judicial divisions. Sponsored by Reps. Justin Burr (R-Stanly), Scott Stone (R-Mecklenburg), Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), and former Rep. Chris Millis (R-Pender), the bill reduces the number of judicial divisions from eight to five, and realigns the district court, superior court, and prosecutorial districts for various counties across the state. Furthermore, it requires election ballots to include the specific seat sought by the candidate if the seat is vacant.

SB 711: NC Farm Act of 2018, sponsored by Sens. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson), Bill Cook (R-Beaufort), and Norman Sanderson (R-Pamlico), repeals the North Carolina Handler’s Act, and replaces it with the Fruit and Vegetable Handlers Registration Act. Additionally, the bill exempts the Department of Agriculture from the Umstead Act as it pertains to selling “Got to Be NC” merchandise, and creates a multi-state compact for labeling plant-based products currently market as milk. The bill also amends the Right to Farm Act, and allows the state to enter into agreements with out-of-state law enforcement agencies and officers working at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon this summer. 

SB 325: The Uniform & Expanded Early Voting Act amends early voting requirements for the upcoming election. Sponsored by Sens. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), Tommy Tucker (R-Union), and former Sen. Andrew Brock (R-Davie), the bill sets the dates and hours for the upcoming early voting period. Originally, the bill set the early voting period to start on Wednesday, October 17 and end on Friday, November 2nd. However, the voting period will be extended through Saturday, November 3rd by HB 335: Restore Last Saturday Early One-Stop. Furthermore, it requires all county early voting sites to be open at the same location for the entire voting period, and mandates uniform voting hours throughout the early voting period.

Supreme Court Upholds NC Legislative Maps

The United States Supreme Court upheld the majority of the legislative maps drawn by a Stanford University law professor, which redrew district maps that were adopted by the General Assembly in 2017. The court’s decision maintains the districts that candidates ran for in this year’s primary are the same districts that will be used in the upcoming general election. The ruling did not uphold the districts drawn in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, which are currently the subject of ongoing litigation in state court. However, Wake and Mecklenburg districts are susceptible to change before the 2020 election.


The General Assembly considered and voted on appointments for various commissions, judgeships, and boards. HB 1083: Appointments Bill of 2018 makes appointments to public offices upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The Governor also made recommendations for appointments, which had to be approved by both chambers of the General Assembly.

The following gubernatorial appointments were confirmed by the General Assembly:

State Board of Education

Reginald Kenan, current member of the State Board of Education

Special Superior Court Judge

J. Stanley Carmical, Robeson County Chief District Judge
Athena Brooks, Buncombe County Chief District Judge

Industrial Commission

Myra Griffin, Deputy Commissioner, Industrial Commission

Oil and Gas Commission

Jim Zhang, Professor of Global Health at Duke University
Rebecca Wyhof, Mayor Pro Tempore, Sanford