House passes revised wording for constitutional amendments

Published August 24, 2018

Legislative leaders have revised the wording on two proposed constitutional amendments after a three-judge panel ruled that unless the wording was changed or an appeal reversed their decision the two would not appear on the November 6th ballot.

The House convened Friday morning to consider the new wording and passed, by the necessary 3/5 margin, both amendments in early afternoon. The Senate is scheduled to come to Raleigh Monday and is also expected to pass the revised wording. Following ratification of the bill it will be returned to the three-judge panel to determine if both revisions satisfy the concerns of these judges.

Here is the revised wording on the constitutional amendment to determine the makeup of the Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement:

“Constitutional amendment to establish an eight-member Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement to administer ethics and elections law.”

This revision removed language could have allowed the legislature to appoint members to many more boards and commissions. Many observers expect this new language to pass approval of the judges.

“Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the appointment is solely at the will of the Governor to a process in which the people of the State will nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend nominees to the Governor via legislative action that would not be subject to gubernatorial veto; and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees.”

While the legislature did removed the wording that many feared would allow lawmakers take away the governor's veto power but still essentially allows the legislature to make the decision on the filling of judicial vacancies. NC SPIN panelists Bob Orr (former Supreme Court Justice) and Rufus Edmisten (former Attorney General)  said  that they weren't sure this new  wording would convince the 5 former Governors and 6 former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court to change their opposition to this amendment.

NC SPIN panelist Becki Gray was at the legislature today and provided background information for this blog.

For an excellent discussion on this topic be sure to tune in this week's NC SPIN on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. or  Sunday morning at 6 a.m. You may also view the show on UNCs North Carolina channel Friday night at 10 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. or Sunday at 10 a.m. If you prefer you can also stream this week's show (after 5:30p p.m). on