Legislative Briefs for June 24

View of the rooftop gardens at the N.C. General Assembly. (NCGA photo)
  • The state senate on Thursday proposed three constitutional amendments on illegal immigration, voter IDs and a state income tax cap.

The original amendment, SB 630, only addressed that U.S. citizens may cast a ballot in North Carolina. After a committee meeting, an amendment requiring voter ID for all voting – including absentee ballots – was tacked onto the bill.

Non-citizen voting is a growing political issue across the country, as millions of immigrants have entered the country since President Joe Biden loosened restrictions in 2020. Some municipalities and states are considering allowing non-citizens to vote in some elections, mainly local city and county boards.

Scholars point out that North Carolina’s election laws lack the specific word “only”, a key point in those electorates where non-citizens are being given voting rights. By making voting rights “citizen only,” solons hope to prevent illegals from voting in any North Carolina elections.

The income tax cap of five percent would be a reduction from the current constitutional rule of seven. Democrats have wanted to raise the cap for higher wage earners and businesses.

Constitutional amendments have a mixed history in North Carolina. Proposals must have a three-fifths majority on both houses of the General Assembly, then be approved by voters by a simple majority. Amendments on gay marriage and other hot button issues have faced multiple lawsuits in recent years before either being modified or eventually put into place.

  • Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday nixed a bill that would criminalize wearing masks except for people with medical issues. The bill also loosened campaign finance rules. Cooper said ina. statement that the finance change would allow “dark money” from “extreme right wing” candidates to be used in North Carolina elections.
  • Cooper’s complaints about “dark money” came just before a new report by Carolinajournal.com showed that 30 percent of the funding for the state Democrat party is from outside North Carolina’s borders. North Carolina is considered a battleground state as the first African-American Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican, and Democrat Attorney General Josh Stein square off for the state’s top executive position.
  • Cooper’s approval pen was busier than his veto stamp this week. On Thursday, he signed four bills into law. Three dealt with technical corrections in retirement policies, while the fourth – SB 124, The Predatory Roofing and Insurance Reform Act – tightens rules for roofing contractors and insurance companies, while raising penalties for roofers who do substandard work.
  • The Senate and House versions of the budget are complete, but a blended proposal hasn’t quite made the cut. At issue are funding for Opportunity Scholarships – both budgets fully fund the popular program – and childcare “stabilization” funding, designed to fill the gap between the federal COVID daycare funds and state funding.
  • The Biden daycare program sunsets July 1, and provided an estimated $530 million in subsidies to daycare programs across North Carolina. State. Officials on both sides of the house previously warned that the state does not plan to continue fully funding the subsidies after the COVID funding runs out.
About Jefferson Weaver 2149 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].