UPDATE 1pm: Support for SB 814, judicial vacancy appointments, is exactly at 3/5 and the final House vote is postponed until tomorrow/Thursday. Contact your NC House representative NOW to let them know what you think of this bill that shifts more power from the governor to the legislature (details below) - especially if you think they disagree with you. Make your voice heard!
SB 75, lowering the income tax cap, is being renegotiated with a possible change to 7.5% instead of the original 10% or proposed 5.5%. No change would be best for NC; 7.5% is better than 5.5% (essentially what we have now). Contact the House Finance Committee to share your input, especially if your representative is on the committee.
The NCGA continues to blast through the session, hurling bills and constitutional amendments through committees and houses as if they've got 5 minutes to play 9 innings of fast-pitch.
One constitutional amendment, SB 677, Protect the Right to Hunt and Fish, has passed both houses and will appear on the ballot this November. If you're wondering why this is even an issue, don't worry. You're not the only one. This is little more than an attempt by the NC GOP to draw out and drum up rural voters ahead of November.
HB 913, Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement, has cleared the House and is on to the Senate. This amendment would "put the legislature in control of 'the powers, duties, responsibilities, appointments and terms of office' of state boards and commissions now appointed by the governor." Contrary to what the name suggests, it could give the legislature sweeping power to appoint and control any number of state boards.
The infamous Voter ID amendment, HB 1092, passed its third reading in the House and has been sent to the Senate.
HB 551, Victim’s Rights or Marsy's Law, has passed the Senate and been sent to the House. This bill has a few helpful provisions, but there are concerns about changes to the privacy of juvenile court proceedings and vastly increased costs for this program-- to the tune of $30.5 million per year for additional prosecutors.
The second reading of the income tax amendment, SB 75, is scheduled for a House vote Wednesday. If approved, it will need to go back to the Senate for concurrence.
SB 814 (Judicial Vacancy Sunshine Amendment) has passed the Senate and will be considered by the House. This bill would transfer judicial vacancy appointment power from the governor to the legislature, much like HB 913. Read more about why this bill is bad here.
These are all Constitutional amendments, so unfortunately Governor Cooper has no ability to veto these bills, but he has vetoed several others, and if you need a reason to cheer, his veto letters may just do the trick.
H 131, the Motions for Appropriate Relief. Read Governor Cooper's veto letter here.
HB 374, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2018. Read Governor Cooper's veto letter here.
HB 382, the DOI Omnibus. Read Governor Cooper's veto letter here.
HB 717, the Judicial Elections Changes. Read Governor Cooper's veto letter here.
HB 1055, the Retirement Complexity Reduction Act. Read Governor Cooper's veto letter here.
SB 711, the much-debated Farm Act. This act creates restrictions that prevent anyone who lives more than a half-mile from an alleged nuisance or anyone who moved in after farm was in operation from suing. The bill also prevents punitive damages, which was the bulk of the April court judgment, unless a farm's operation had led to a criminal conviction or a civil penalty by regulators. Read Governor Cooper's veto letter here.
SB 325, the Uniform and Early Expanded Voting Hours Act. This bill eliminates voting on the final Saturday before Election Day. Read Governor Cooper's veto letter here.
As satisfying as all of this is, the NCGA wouldn't be the NCGA without chicanery and shenanigans and a dash of outright tomfoolery, so all of these bills are on the House calendar to be overridden tomorrow.
So what can we do? Make noise. Contact your legislators here and tell them how you feel about these bills and amendments. Even if you don't believe they'll listen, it's hard to ignore many voices raised in the same refrain.