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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Durham Legislators to Talk Short Session, Constitutional Amendments at Town Hall Event

Posted by on Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 4:23 PM

Durham representatives in the state legislature will participate in a town hall meeting Wednesday, covering legislation passed in the short session that concluded last month as well as proposed constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot come November.

The town hall meeting will take place from six thirty to eight p.m. at the M&F Bank Building at 2634 Chapel Hill Blvd in Durham.

This short session was busy, with forty-five bills passed by the General Assembly in the six week session. Of the forty-five bills passed, Governor Cooper vetoed seven (Republicans hold a veto-proof majority), signed thirty-two into law, and allowed six to pass unsigned.

In addition, the General Assembly has passed six proposed constitutional amendments that will appear on  the state ballot in November for voter approval.

  • House Bill 551​ is proposed to strengthen victims’ rights. This bill is a local version of “Marsy’s  Law,” a bill first enacted in California in 2008. The organization​ Marsy’s Law​ is fighting to strengthen victims’ rights throughout America, and has introduced similar legislation in numerous states. The law would give crime victims the right to receive notice and be present at court proceedings, to be heard at some stages of the legal process, and to “reasonably confer” with prosecutors. Opponents argue that the bill adds significant costs and additional burden to law enforcement officers, and that North Carolina’s Crime Victims’ Rights Act adequately protects victims.

  • House Bill 913​ proposes to make significant changes to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. Currently a 9 member board elected by the Governor, this bill would create an 8 member board appointed by the General Assembly. Four would be appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore, and four by the House Speaker.

  • House Bill 1092​ proposes that all voters be required to present photo ID in order to vote.

  • Senate Bill 75​ proposes to move the cap on the income tax rate from 10 percent to 7 percent.

  • Senate Bill 677​ would give constitutional protection to the right to fish, hunt, and harvest wildlife.

  • Senate Bill 814​ proposes to create a Nonpartisan Judicial Merit Commission which would provide a list of candidates to the General Assembly for judicial vacancies. The General Assembly would consult the list and recommend two nominees to the governor for approval,  and the governor would then select the replacement. This would replace the current system in which the governor alone vets and appoints replacements.

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