NCGA Week in Review

August 17, 2018

Pardon Our Dust

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During the short session, the legislature passed six proposed constitutional amendments. The constitutional amendments will be placed on the ballot this November for the voters to decide. The amendments have been heavily debated by legislators, media, and former Governors. Governor Roy Cooper (D) has long opposed the Republican proposed amendments and has challenged them in court. The courts will now decide if the proposed amendments would shift power from the executive office to the legislature.

NC Constitutional Amendments

House Bill 551: Strengthening Victims’ Rights
Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.

House Bill 913: Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement
Constitutional amendment to establish a bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections to administer ethics and election laws, to clarify the appointment authority of the Legislative and the Judicial Branches, and to prohibit legislators from serving on boards and commissions exercising executive or judicial authority.

House Bill 1092: Constitutional Amendment – Require Photo ID to Vote
Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.

Senate Bill 75: Constitutional Amendment – Max. Income Tax Rate of 7.0%
Constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent (7%).

Senate Bill 814: Judicial Vacancy Sunshine Amendment
Constitutional amendment to implement a nonpartisan merit-based system that relies on professional qualifications instead of political influence when nominating Justices and judges to be selected to fill vacancies that occur between judicial elections.

Senate Bill 677: Protect Right to Hunt and Fish
Constitutional amendment protecting the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.

Audit of NC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control System

A recent audit of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) found that the ABC commission cost the state close to $14 million over the past 13 years. North Carolina is one of 17 states that control the sale of liquor by prohibiting the operation of privately owned liquor retail stores. As a result of the findings, Michael Herring the former commissioner of the ABC system has resigned. The audit prompted some lawmakers to revive the discussion on the privatization of liquor retail sales. Rep. Chuck McGrady (R- Henderson) has stated that he plans to introduce a bill next session to end the state’s monopoly liquor sales. The legislature will study the economic impacts of such a bill in the upcoming months.