News

Constitutional Convention resolution, wave of election bills passes late night Senate committee

The Senate Select Committee on Elections passed a wave of bills Tuesday night that would change numerous election processes in the state. They also passed a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention to make changes to the U.S. Constitution.

Sen. Terry Van Duyn

Republicans outnumbered Democrats 6 to 2 at the meeting, and there was little input from the public on the six bills that were passed. Sen. Democratic Leader Dan Blue and Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) voted against the measures and spoke against a few of them.

The Constitutional Convention resolution was not introduced until minutes before the meeting, but a Senator was able to give two residents a heads up, and they spoke in favor of the measure at the meeting. North Carolinians who may have been against the resolution were not given the same courtesy.

The other bills that were passed included a moratorium on extending voting hours at one precinct during an election, unless all precinct voting hours are extended; making Carteret County Board of Education elections partisan; and changing the primary elections dates in the state.

Sen. Chuck Edwards

The bill that was discussed the longest was Senate Bill 285, which subdivides Asheville into six districts for city council elections. The bill, introduced by Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania), would require that city council members be elected in the districts and the mayor be elected citywide.

Asheville would be required to draw its own maps by November, and if they failed to do so, the General Assembly would do it for them.

Edwards told the committee that he didn’t want to broach creating districts in Asheville, but that some citizens had approached him and said they felt disenfranchised.

Van Duyn, who represents 85 percent of Asheville residents, said she had never once been approached by anyone asking her to split the city into districts, and that she has received requests not to do so.

She said the city was planning a referendum in November and asked legislators as a professional courtesy to give Asheville residents a chance first to weigh in on the issue before passing such a bill.

“I understand I’m in the minority, but this is my city,” Van Duyn said.

A contract lobbyist for the city also spoke to the legislators and said there would indeed be a referendum in November. He asked that if legislators were going to pass the bill, if they could at least not make it effective until after November.

Edwards said the city has already been given too long to sort out issues it has and create districts, and that the bill would just push them into action. He said it was time for “government to govern.”

In the end, Republicans voted to give the bill a favorable report.

One Comment


  1. Patti Ulirsch

    April 26, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Republicans behaving badly, very badly.

Check Also

NC voters pass 4 constitutional amendments; lame-duck session looming

North Carolina voters wrote four blank checks yesterday ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

As LGBTQ state employees and dependents struggle to restore State Health Plan coverage for transgend [...]

About a quarter-mile off NC 177 in Richmond County, just north of Hamlet, skeletons of buildings gou [...]

The North Carolina courts have a lot to celebrate after Tuesday night – voter turnout in statewide j [...]

While Congressional and General Assembly races got most of the election headlines this week, history [...]

The post The GOP’s Supermajority appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Ever been to a funeral where no one had anything nice to say about the dearly departed? That’s the f [...]

The 2018 election is finally and mercifully over and, as was noted in this space yesterday, now is n [...]

You’ve seen the headlines and no doubt received hundreds (thousands?) of action alerts from well-mea [...]