The action inside the State Legislature resumed at full speed this week. Perhaps the most controversial measure in this session is the issue of Voter ID I opposed the measure in the last session because the bill, as written, created a hardship on the elderly and the poor. However, an Elon survey found that 72 percent of North Carolinians support the idea of requiring voters to show photo identification before being allowed to vote.
After working with Senate and House colleagues, I have introduced HB 253 – Voter Protection and Integrity Act. This bill provides for those with an acceptable photo ID to present it before voting. An individual without an acceptable ID may have his or her photograph taken by a designated election official and sign a voter photo affidavit, affirming that he or she is in fact the registered voter in whose name they are requesting a ballot that they shall use to exercise their right to vote. The signed photo affidavit shall remain on file in digital format at the county board of elections office and shall be included in the State voter file. No eligible voter will be denied the right to vote and the integrity of the election process is protected. This compromise bill should address the concerns of all sides of this issue.
Note: Senator Ben Clark from Hoke County (21st Senate District) has introduced a similar bill in the Senate (SB 235 -Voter Protection Integrity/Every Vote Counts).
On Monday evening, the House gave final approval on Senate Bill 10, Government Reorganization and Efficiency Act, which passed with a vote of 71-43. The measure is now headed back to the Senate for concurrence.
I strongly believe that this bill is an unprecedented partisan power grab. This reorganization will cost the state valuable expertise and institutional knowledge on these boards and commissions. Some Democratic amendments were offered, which would have cut six figure salaries for political appointees, but a GOP parliamentary maneuver ultimately defeated them. It is my hope that the final decision is one that will best reflect the needs of North Carolinians in our efforts to create a better reorganization of the state boards and commissions.
McCrory signs bills on Medicaid expansion, group home funding, and possums
Gov. Pat McCrory signed four bills into law Wednesday afternoon, all of which have been the subject of a fair amount of public discussion. The bills included Medicaid expansion, the annual possum drop, group home funding, and fallen heroes.
Gun Rights Amendment
SB 246: Pittman fires off gun bill
Earlier this year, Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, outlined a state constitutional amendment he planned to file that would restrict what limits the state could place in gun ownership. Titled “The Gun Rights Amendment,” Senate Bill 246 makes good on that promise. Along with the amendment, the bill contains several changes to state statute that would allow those with concealed handgun permits to carry firearms at parades and in establishments where alcohol is sold and consumed.
State Lottery Bill
HB 156: NC lawmakers, gov looking at lottery changes
Members of the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory are interested in scaling back or altering how the lottery advertises. Doing so could hurt annual sales that reached $1.6 billion last fiscal year and helped send $457 million to the state for education initiatives — records that have a chance to be broken again this summer.
There’s also a bipartisan bill scheduled for House debate this week that would delete the name “education” from the lottery, bar advertising at college sporting events and require ads to give the long odds of winning multimillion-dollar prizes. State law only now requires the overall odds of winning a game prize.
Pulse Oximetry Bill
HB 105: N.C. bill requires testing newborns for heart defects
The state House has given unanimous approval to a bill that would require all hospitals to perform a test to see whether newborns have a heart defect before they are allowed to go home. The bill, endorsed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, has been sent to the state Senate for deliberation. The bill also has a provision for ear screening in newborns to identify temporary or permanent hearing loss. The American Heart Association says nine of every 1,000 babies are born with a congenital heart disorder.
If you are in Raleigh, please stop by to say hello. Recent district visitors were: Clerks of Court; Nursing Students; Farm Bureau Representatives; Area Teachers-of-the-Year, Superintendents, and Principals; Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr.
Please feel free to contact me when you have questions or concerns pertaining to Legislative matters.
Room 542 – Legislative Office Building
300 N. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
— Ken Goodman of Rockingham represents District 66 which includes the counties of Hoke, Montgomery, Richmond, Robeson and Scotland.