MVA Monitor – June 29

This week, lawmakers closed out the legislative session until November. Final legislative action included approving a number of constitutional amendments which will appear on November ballots. Additionally, Republican legislators rejected four of Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominations.

In judicial news, the U.S. Supreme Court this week sent the North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case back for further review by the lower court without ruling on the merits of partisan gerrymandering claims.

Issue Insights

State and Legislative Issues

Legislative Session Adjourned

State lawmakers adjourned today, winding down the legislative session. The General Assembly voted to adjourn to a specified date, November 27, leaving the door open for more legislating this year. Lawmakers will reconvene after elections in November to take up any final legislative action before adjourning the legislative biennium sine die.

Redistricting Cases

The Supreme Court of the United States took action on two separate North Carolina redistricting cases this week. First, the court remanded a case alleging that the 2016 congressional redistricting resulted in an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander back to a lower court for further review. As with a similar case from Wisconsin, the court provided no decision on the merits of partisan gerrymandering claims. Changes to North Carolina congressional districts are unlikely this year. In a separate case, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that having an outside expert draw legislative districts fixed racial gerrymanders previously found to be unconstitutional in a few House and Senate districts but was unnecessary in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, where no such problems existed.

Supreme Court sends NC partisan gerrymander case back for more arguments (Raleigh News & Observer)

Supreme Court upholds redraw of some NC legislative districts (WRAL)

Constitutional Amendments

North Carolina voters will weigh in on six proposed North Carolina constitutional amendments appearing on November ballots. The amendments that will be on the ballot this fall are:

  • Require Photo ID to Vote (House Bill 1092, S.L. 2018-128)
  • Protection of the right to hunt and fish (Senate Bill 677, S.L. 2018-96)
  • Changes with respect to crime victims’ rights (House Bill 551, S.L. 2018-110).
  • Changes with respect to how the State’s Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement is appointed (House Bill 913, S.L. 2018-117).
  • Changes with respect to how judicial vacancies are filled (Senate Bill 814, S.L. 2018-118).
  • Lowering the constitutional cap on income tax rates from 10% to 7% (Senate Bill 75, S.L. 2018-119).

Voter ID amendment goes to voters (WRAL)

Lawmakers put judicial appointments amendment on ballot (WRAL)

Crime victims’ rights amendment to go on November ballot (WRAL)

You’ll be voting on a ‘max tax’ this November (Raleigh News & Observer)

Nominees Rejected

Republican lawmakers rejected four of the Governor’s nominees to serve in various positions. In April 2017, the Governor nominated three individuals to serve on the State Board of Education – Reggie Keenan, Sandra Byrd and J.B. Buxton. The General Assembly took no action on these nomination until this week, when it voted to confirm the nomination of Mr. Keenan, but not to confirm the nominations of Ms. Byrd and Mr. Buxton. In separate actions, the General Assembly rejected the nomination of Robert Harris to serve on the Industrial Commission and of Bryan Beatty as a special Superior Court judge.

NC Republican lawmakers reject 4 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominees (Raleigh News & Observer)

News Roundup