RALEIGH – Leaders of the N.C. General Assembly weighed their options following a court order blocking from the November ballot two constitutional amendment questions for misleading language; they could appeal the decision, or they could bring state lawmakers back into session in order to rewrite the language the two amendments in question sufficient to satisfy the court’s concerns.
They chose the latter.
Lawmakers will return Friday, and into Monday, for the second special session of 2018.
In a statement, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said, “We hope this will end the unnecessary litigation and allow our state to move forward with the democratic process to let the people decide these issues for themselves.”
Gov. Roy Cooper sued over the two amendments because they threatened to reallocate appointment powers away from the governor and to the legislatures. One deals with appointments to judicial vacancies, and the other with the State Board of Elections as well as myriad other state boards and commissions. That’s why he and others oppose it, but their argument in court was merely that the language was misleading, or did not sufficiently describe what the changes would actually do.
So, they will rewrite them. The House is expected to vote on new language (likely already crafted) on Friday, followed by the N.C. Senate on Monday.
In his public statement, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “I disagree with the court’s decision on the merits. It’s clear, though, that protracted litigation could delay ballot printing and only further the chance for voter confusion. Given those circumstances, I support a special session to write amendments that comply with the court order as quickly as possible.”
Cooper appeared dead-set against a special session when asked about rumors Wednesday, but that’s because it will leave no time after new language is approved to take the legislature to court all over again. Even if the language is fixed to comply with the court order, Cooper doesn’t want the people of North Carolina to have a sayi
However, Berger did say that the new language will be public for a period of time before final votes are held. The deadline to finalize everything going into the ballot printing is September 1.