Legislators Will Return To Raleigh To Redraft Rejected Constitutional Amendments

Legislators Will Return To Raleigh To Redraft Rejected Constitutional Amendments

3:51pm Aug 23, 2018
Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, standing left, and Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake, standing second from right, exchange comments during a July special session at the General Assembly in Raleigh. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The North Carolina General Assembly is heading into its second special session of the year to rewrite two constitutional amendments struck down by a court this week.

The legislature will reconvene for votes on Friday and Monday.

The original amendments would have given voters a choice on two issues related to the balance of power in Raleigh. One would limit the governor’s power to fill judicial vacancies. The other would transfer the authority to make appointments to state boards and commissions to the legislature.

Both were struck down because the court found the language of the amendments to be misleading.

In a press release, House Speaker Tim Moore disagreed with the court’s decision, saying the proposals would provide more balance in state government.

Senate Leader Phil Berger added that keeping the matter in court too long would delay ballot printing and cause confusion.

Opponents to the amendments have a variety of arguments against them, accusing leaders in the general assembly of attempting to consolidate Republican power and drive voter turnout this fall. They also say the proposals, if they make it to the ballot this fall, would disrupt the separation of powers in state government.

The number of prominent opponents has grown in recent weeks.

On Thursday, according to the Charlotte Observer, all six living North Carolina Supreme Court chief justices came out against the measures, calling them unconstitutional. That group includes two Republicans and four Democrats.

The five living former North Carolina governors – also a bi-partisan group – have come out aggressively against the amendments, as well.

In both cases, the unification of such powerful political and judicial rainmakers is unprecedented.

The two measures in question are part of a larger group of amendments designed by the legislature this year. The others include proposals like requiring photo identification at the polls, an expansion of crime victims’ rights, and the right to hunt and fish.

North Carolina voters will have a chance to decide whether any or all of them will become law in November.

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