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December 3, 2018 3:19 pm
This week on Family Policy Matters, NC Family President John L. Rustin interviews Mitch Kokai, a senior political analyst at the John Locke Foundation, one of North Carolina’s preeminent conservative research organizations and public policy think tanks. Mitch talks about four new amendments to North Carolina’s constitution.
Not incredibly rare for North Carolina to have an amendment on the ballot, but it certainly is unusual to have as many as six contemplated at one time. This is only policy not asked with NC family Pres. John Weston thank you for joining us today for family policy matters Carolina family policy Council's weekly radio show and podcast which is designed to better inform listeners about the critical issues of the day and to encourage them to be voices of persuasion for family values in their community. We are a little more than a month removed now from the 2018 general election, and although North Carolina did not have the United States Senate or gubernatorial race on the ballot. Voters did have the opportunity to decide the outcome of six proposed amendments to our state constitution. The results were mixed bag with for the amendments receiving voter approval in two of the amendments failing passage on today's gas is going to help us sort through these constitutional amendments and what they mean for North Carolina are yesterday is Muskoka a senior political analyst at the John Locke foundation, one of North Carolina's preeminent conservative research organizations and public policy think tanks Mitch follow the activities surrounding these proposed constitutional amendments very closely and we look forward to talking with him today about what happened Mitch walking the family policy matters. It's great to have you back on the show with Jon. I appreciate the invitation so we could chat with well it's our pleasure and we really appreciate the partnership that we enjoy between the John Locke foundation in NC family and I just are so grateful for all that you do now Mitch considering the process for amending the state constitution in North Carolina and also understanding that we are not in the Nisha to the referendum state where voters can petition to place questions on the ballot. How unusual was it for voters to be confronted with six constitutional amendments when they want to vote this year. Six really is a large number for Dr. Babbitt on the ballot.since North Carolina adopted its current version of the overall Constitution in the early 1970s we had seen it before. This previous election be amended, 30 some time. So basically, not quite. Every year, but almost every year, maybe two out of three years, we would see that, but sometimes a couple of the bunch together and it would go for two or three years with no amendments of the ballot so not incredibly rare for North Carolina to have an amendment on the ballot, but it certainly is unusual to have as many as six contemplated at one time course of one of the more interesting pieces of that puzzle this time around was that by law, none of the amendment could be differentiated from each other by a number or letter you didn't look at the ballot or hear any of the conversation about the amendment process and your people say vote for amendment one vote against amendment to vote for a but not be. They were all identified on the ballot as constitutional amendment and so it made a little bit more difficult for people who wanted to differentiate among them, as we will discuss the one was some differentiation between these questions again.
As for past and into did not get into that a little bit before we do, though, Mitch, what is the process for amending North Carolina's Constitution you alluded to this a little bit earlier unlike other states we don't have this initiative process where anyone could try to get enough signatures so they could get some sort of item on the ballot we see in states like California. They have quite a few ballot initiatives that can get onto onto the ballot because people will launch a petition drive to petition signatures to get an item on the ballot in North Carolina.
It really comes down to the Gen. assembly. Both the state House and Senate Devote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot and it's not a simple boat they have to get what that what sometimes is referred to as the super majority. 3/5 of the members in both the chambers have to vote for the measure to get on the ballot and then once it gets on the ballot. Then it takes a simple majority of the voters to pass that amendment and put it into the Constitution's most publicized amendments, which ultimately passed with 55% of the vote has to do with voter identification. Mitch, as we are speaking. Even today, lawmakers are actually back in Raleigh to iron out the details of the implementation of this voter ID amendment.
What do you believe we can expect as far as a timeline for implementation and what kinds of IDs you believe will be authorized as ballot for voting in North Carolina. Under this new amendment language speaking.
This is not yet been finalized, but I suspect that the Gen. assembly is going to end up passing the voter ID bill and even if Gov. Roy Cooper decides to veto, and we don't know if he would be tell it. I'm guessing he probably won't find it, but because he is been an opponent of voter ID but he might depending on the final version of the bill might allow it to go in without a signature, but literally because of her.that the Gen. assembly could, if all of the Republicans who have supported this measure stick with each other and that some of the Democrats who have lined up behind the particular pieces of legislation join them there would be the potential to override a veto. The plan is to have voter ID in place for municipal elections in 2019 that we know some Democrats in the Gen. assembly have been concerned about that timeline.
They think it's too rushed, they would.
Some would like to see it delayed until after the 2020 election, even those who are not going that far say that they like to see it delayed at least until the 2020 election, but the plan right now is to have voter ID in place for municipal elections in 2019.
And I think that before talking about some of the other IDs that could be in place.
It's important to note that the vast majority of people are going to use their North Carolina drivers license.
That's gotta be the main ID that that most people use so much of this debate tends to be about small percentage of voters who don't have a valid drivers license. Uptight about a passport military ID, a tribal ID there's been discussion of having some of the state issued IDs at University 90s right yet student IDs a community college.
Maybe even the private college ID if they will come up, up to a standard set by the state board of elections there and there may be some other things that will be added as well. As long as sort of a standardized government issued or if not government issued at least acceptable to the public official to something that just didn't make in their own home. Then make up your own business that is rising. I think that's good to be that that's can be part of the standard and then there will also be some exceptions made for people just can't get to it ID and that'll be probably what the devil was listening to a resource to listen to our radio show online resources have a place of persuasion in your community website, alleging how you believe the amendment that caps the corporate and individual income tax rate in North Carolina at 7.0% will affect the current and future tax climate in North Carolina.
I think it could have a major positive impact. The first thing that we ought to note is people have been following this very closely. The amendment itself doesn't have any impact on current tax rate) Reichert because our current tax rate well below even the new Our current personal income tax rate is just under 5 1/2% and in 2019. It goes down to 5.25%.
So even with the new Of 7%.
It would be possible that a great idea, but it would be possible for the future Gen. assembly to raise the personal income tax rate by 33% still not go about the new Of 7%, but I the reason why believe that this will be a positive for our economy going forward is that companies looking at going to North Carolina or entrepreneurs thinking about where they might want to start a new business to look at our rules like a look at our policy they could see that you know it's not good to be possible without a new constitutional amendment and boats from the people again to ever see it income tax rate higher than that. That's gotta be better for them. Good looking thing we know some future Gen. assembly might raise her tax rates to 10%. So I think in the long term. It's good to be good for businesses that are looking at where there where states have a positive tactic climate they can see North Carolina's rates are competitive right now and that there's not a possibility that the going to get sky high California like levels in the future about the amendment dealing with rights and emotions law what you saw happen with this, especially with outside interests that were promoting the passage of this constitutional amendment and restaurant. I think this one would have been pretty popular anyway because most people say that crime victims should have a role in the process of effect, North Carolina had already enshrined a lot of crime victims right in our Constitution. If you compare what we already had what Marcy's law provides in the in the new constitutional amendment. There is a name, a major difference. There is a little bit of extra consideration that crime victims will get and it spells out a little bit more clearly that they can play a role at different stages of the legal process. We already had some pretty strong crime victims right. I think one of the reasons that we saw such an interest in this during the campaign was because it is part of a national campaign are some states that did not really have much crime victim protection within the Constitution, and so other states that have addressed Marcy's law. I think it will end up being a much larger impact on their legal system here in North Carolina. I think it was probably a good thing to do and to sort of clarifies the things that were already in the Constitution but because we already had crime victims rights in our Constitution. It really is more of a tweaking of what we had been a wholesale major changes you talk about establishing a right to hunt and fish in the Constitution which I think is pretty straightforward because limited in time. I wanted to give you an opportunity to just make any comments about the two constitutional amendments that did not pass. One of the reason why these amendments fail is that they did have much more vocal opposition that any of the other amendment that there was a I campaign called mix all six or vote against them all out Adamic the state Democratic Party: people to vote against all six even if they liked some of them, but these last two in particular that I was explaining these two amendments to the people who really have a strong opinion one way or the other going into it what outfit said what do you think should have the lion share of the power in determining who sit on the bench in between election, voters are still going to cast the ballot took to decide is good to be a judge every four years or every eight years depending on that seat but in between. If there's a vacancy should the general assembly play the lion share of the role of determining who sits on that seat or the governor if you think the governor vote against the amendment. If you think the general assembly vote for the amendment. In a similar argument on the elections board doesn't make sense for the governor to appoint the members of the group. It's good to oversee elections and ethics enforcement North Carolina or should that be something that bipartisan members of the general assembly should do because those appointments would've come from the leader and the minority leader in both state house and state Senate. So if you think the governor should have the power to things where they are going against the amendment. If you think having four leaders within the general assembly for both parties to make those appointments that support the amendment. And I think a lot of people saw the amendments on the ballot. They had heard maybe that was something about power grab here plus the judicial vacancy amendment. If you read it and didn't go into the election.
Knowing what is about. It was lost for people to saw those and said you know these others made sense. I don't really know what's happening with these to a member's just about out of time for this week before we go I want to give you opportunities to let our listeners know where they can go to get more information about your great work and also the John Locke foundation. Thanks so much.I think there are two websites that would point people toward one is our daily news operation and that's Carolina journal.com people get a free monthly print newspaper called Carolina journal they can contact the John Locke foundation for that but daily online. You can also see news and commentary and video and email@example.com and then there's the organizational website. John Locke.org features more of our research and some of the things that we really think tank. He type people in our organization are involved in so Carolina journal.com and John Locke.org, thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule to be with us on family policy matters and for your great work and for just helping us understand better the decisions that were made by Mr. a lot of owners with respect to these constitutional amendments just like you so much for having been listening to family policy matters production of NZ family to listen to our radio show online, and for more valuable resources and information about issues important to families in North Carolina website and see family.org on Twitter and Facebook