A Description of the New Amendments for the North Carolina Constitution

Krysten Heberly
Editor-in-Chief

With early voting already beginning in the state of North Carolina, voting has already begun on the six new amendments being proposed this year by the state government. Below is a list of which amendments you will be voting on this November, and the criticism that those amendments have faced thus far.  

Hunting and fishing amendment: This amendment states that it will “protect the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.” The goal of this bill is to promote hunting and fishing while still making an attempt to protect wildlife. It also puts a strong emphasis on the use of “traditional methods” of hunting and fishing.

Criticism: The language used in the bill is incredibly vague, and does not lend itself to a very strict definition of what this means. Hunting and fishing is not currently under attack, and many critics of the bill are afraid that this bill will allow for the use of harmful tools such as steel jaw traps, poison and gillnetting which poses a large danger to wildlife. Critics also are wary that this bill could get in the way of environmental regulation in North Carolina.

 

Victim’s Rights Amendment: The ballot for this amendment states that, “Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.” This law would broaden current victim’s rights laws to incorporate felony crimes and crimes against minors. It also seeks to ensure that the court must make a “reasonable effort” to uphold a victim’s rights.

Criticism: This amendment is that it could interfere with a person’s sixth amendment due process rights. Similar amendments are being voted on in several other states, including Georgia and North Dakota. John Piro, the chief deputy public defender for Clark County in Nevada claims that this could interfere with the sixth amendment by “giving people harmed by a crime the right to be heard before the alleged perpetrator has pleaded innocent or guilty.”

 

Income Tax Cap Amendment: The ballot for this amendment states that it would be a “Constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent.”

Criticism: Critics claim that this amendment would hurt the poor of North Carolina and favor the rich. This bill could make it significantly more difficult to raise instate income-taxes to fund roads, schools and other essential parts of the infrastructure of North Carolina.

 

Voter ID Amendment: This bill would make it a requirement for voters in NC to bring a photo ID to vote in the state of North Carolina. The goal of this bill is to reduce voter fraud and to hopefully ensure a more balanced vote here in North Carolina.

Criticism: Many believe that enstating this law would make it significantly more difficult to vote in North Carolina, especially for poor Carolinian’s who may not have access to an ID. There is also concern over what would actually count as an ID, whether it can be power bills and student IDs, or if it has to be a Drivers license or the equivalent.

 

North Carolina Legislative Appointments to Elections Board Amendment: This ballot would reduce the members on the state Elections Board from nine to eight, overturning a supreme court ruling stating there should be nine members of the board.

Criticism: This would remove the one non-partisan member of the board, leaving ideally four Republicans and four Democrats to make up the board. There would be no more swing vote on the board and would remove the representation of moderates and unaffiliated voters from the Election Board of the state.

 

North Carolina Judicial Selection for Midterm Vacancies Amendment: This amendment would strip Governor Cooper of his power to fill judicial vacancies, instead leaving the decision up to a newly created commission made up of members from the judicial, executive and legislative branches of the state government. This would be in an effort to make these elections non-partisan.

Criticism: Many argue that this could make the process even more partisan, depending on who the committee would be comprised of. This would weaken the power of the governor, and could even allow the state legislature to add two new seats to the high court for currently unelected justices.

Name: Winston McGregor
Political affiliation: Democrat
Position they’re running for: Board of Education
Corporate/Private donors:
Positions on issues (pro-life, anti-gun control, etc.): believes in funding for tighter school security,
Experience: Five years as executive director of GEA, president and executive director of Habitat for Humanity Greensboro, serves on the board of NCCJ
Highest degree earned if available: Bachelors Degree in International Studies at American University
Profession: Executive Director, Guilford Education Alliance
Goals: To fix the “opportunity gap” in education, wants to invest in and innovate Career Pathways and Career Technical Education programs
Quotes: “I also believe when resources are tight, investing in our talented people is even more important than usual. Our people are everything and they really matter most to our kids” for Winston-Salem Journal

 

Name: Marc W Ridgill
Political affiliation: Republican
Position they’re running for: Board of Education
Corporate/Private donors:
Positions on issues (pro-life, anti-gun control, etc.): concerned with student and teacher safety, believes teachers are not being supported, believes gerrymandering hurts both students and wastes money on transportation
Experience: Served as chairman of the board, president, vice president and board member of the Greensboro Police Club for 15 years. Served as a field training officer with the Greensboro Police Department for seven years.
Highest degree earned if available: Bachelor of administrative science, justice and policy studies at Guilford College
Profession: former school resource officer, retired from Greensboro Police Department
Goals: wants to take a “hard look” at our current spending as “several million millers have been wasted in recent years on programs that have produced little to no value for money invested.” Believes “Students need a solid discipline plan that includes structure, routine, appropriate rewards and consequences and consistency” and that “The rules should not be interpreted differently from school to school.”
Quotes: “Students and teachers are exposed to and are victims of violent acts and crime every day. These threats are from INSIDE our schools. Consequences have been eliminated and pressure has been brought to bear on school site administrators to eliminate consequences for these actions. Teachers are not being supported” for Winston-Salem Journal

 

Name: Gladys A. Robinson
Political Affiliation: Democrat
Position they’re running for: N.C. Senate, District 28
Corporate/Private donor: In the year of 2018, Gladys received funds from both individuals and outside political committees. (And $39.41 from outside sources). As of her second quarter filing, she has accumulated $35,043.41 in funds. She has $23,229.83 on hand.
Positions on issues (pro-life, anti-gun control, etc.): Gladys is concerned with healthcare, and wants to expand medicaid. She also wants to pursue alternative means to energy production (wind farms). She is an advocate of gun-control and more security in schools.
Experience: 8 years in the NC Senate, some of that time as a Deputy Minority Leader. 10 years on the NC Board of Governors. 45 years as the leader of a non-profit health center.
Profession: Executive director of the Piedmont Health Sciences and Sickle Cell Agency
Goals: Close the gap in healthcare coverage; expand medicaid and provide more access to healthcare in rural communities; redistrict our state for fairer elections
Quotes: Gun Control: “North Carolina must pass laws that enforce extensive background checks, banning of assault weapons; and fund our schools to have more trained law enforcement personnel and safer facilities. We must change cultures in our state and nation where people think they have the right to eliminate those they dislike.”
Healthcare: “We must work with CCNCs, establish more community clinics, and collaborate with university medical centers to provide care to these individuals.” “The state failed to expand Medicaid and the result is multiple deaths and lack of access to health care for many others. We must pursue other means of providing health services to our citizens. We must collaborate with major medical centers to provide care in rural areas; and providing supplements to community clinics.”
Alternative Energy: “Wind energy via windmills is an alternative (voted down by Republicans), but we have many in our state that could be utilized.”
Controversies/Strange Details: N/A

 

Name: Clark Porter
Political affiliation: Republican
Position they’re running for: NC State Senate, District 28
Corporate/Private donors: He has received funds from both individuals and political party committees. As of his second quarter filing, Mr. Porter has accumulated $1,982.90 in funds. He currently has $1,371.18 left over.
Positions on issues (pro-life, anti-gun control, etc.): Pro-business and an advocate for tax reform.
Experience: He is the committee chairman for the Guilford County Republican Party and is on the executive committee of the North Carolina Republican Party.
Highest degree earned if available: High School (He attended UNC-Greensboro and Lees-McCrae College but didn’t earn a degree).
Profession: Customer service representative for a senior living facility
Goals: Fight for tax reforms and private businesses.
Quotes: “Voters need a choice. They feel like the local Democrats have fought against tax reform coming out of Raleigh and all that the General Assembly has accomplished in the past several years.”
Controversies: He has no contact information on his disclosure reports, no campaign website, and no publicly accessible photos of himself.
His campaign treasurer Greg Fornshell, was previously the treasurer of Rep. Brian Brown. Brown was accused of: “Filing incorrect and incomplete finance reports with the Board of Elections.” The complaint mentions that: “… thousands of dollars in spending from Brown’s campaign went to a catering company run by Brown.”
After the 2016 election Porter filed formal protests against 17 guilford county citizens, he accused them of voting illegally. Four of these people sued him for defamation, and the case is still pending.

 

Name: Kathy Manning
Political affiliation: Democrat
Position they’re running for: Candidate for Congress.
Corporate/Private donors: Has signed the No Corporate PAC Pledge to reject corporate PAC money during her campaign for Congress. Has raised $2,890,581 and spent $1,914,281. There is still $976,300 remaining unspent.
Positions on issues (pro-life, anti-gun control, etc.): Kathy Manning stands on a pro-choice policy and has been endorsed by NARAL Pro-choice America. Has praised the student protest movement in response to the recent school shootings. Has been identified as pro-gun control.
Experience: Kathy worked in leadership positions in organizations like United Way, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, and The University of North Carolina Greensboro. Prior to this she worked in a major law firm for 15 years.
Highest degree earned if available: Graduate from Harvard University and the University of Michigan Law School.
Profession: Lawyer, Nonprofit leader.
Goals: To limit special interest group influence in Washington. Make higher education more affordable, especially HBCUs. Protecting veterans healthcare and economic opportunities. Protecting Medicare and Social security.
Quotes: “I believe women’s health care decisions should stay between her and her doctor. I have a strong record of standing up for women and families and I’ll proudly do the same in Congress.”

 

Name: Ted Budd
Political affiliation: Republican
Position they’re running for: Congress
Corporate/Private donors: Has raised $1,809,593 and spent $1,005,005. A total of $824,180 is remaining.
Positions on issues (pro-life, anti-gun control, etc.): Wants to repeal Obama Care, Anti Regulation, Anti gun control, pro-life.
Experience: Gun shop owner, no political experience
Highest degree earned if available: Masters in business administration from Wake Forest University.
Profession: Gun shop owner
Goals: Deregulation and the repeal of Obama Care.
Controversies: Funded almost entirely by super PAC’s and interest groups. His first campaign received the second most funding from a super PAC in that election; astonishing for a first time candidate.

 

Name: Danny Rogers
Political affiliation: Democrat
Position they’re running for: Sheriff
Corporate/Private donors:
Positions on issues (pro-life, anti-gun control, etc.): wants to address the opioid epidemic, and the growing number of black men being incarcerated
Experience: completed BLET, is the current detention officer and deputy sheriff for Guilford county, patrol at the High Point Police Department
Highest degree earned if available: Masters in criminal justice, public leadership and executive management from Walden University
Profession: business owner
Goals: No vehicle pursuits will be initiated for minor traffic offenses (possibly in response to Barnes’ lawsuit), misdemeanor or non-violent felony charges, bring back D.A.R.E.
Quotes: “I saw where equality needed to be addressed, especially in the sheriff’s office”
Controversies: 16 criminal charges, almost all dismissed

 

Name: B.J. Barnes
Political affiliation: Republican
Position they’re running for: Sheriff
Corporate/Private donors:
Positions on issues (pro-life, anti-gun control, etc.): Barnes believes that jails are to “protect the community from those who would do harm, not for punishment,” has created a plan (which has been brought to the attention of President Trump) in which illegal immigrants self-report and obtain a government ID for 10 years
Experience: longest serving sheriff in Guilford county (20 years), claims there has been a 56 percent drop in crime in Guilford County under his supervision, former Marine
Highest degree earned if available: Associate degree in criminal justice and juvenile justice
Profession: Sheriff
Goals: make sure inmates get the education and counseling they need
Quotes: “The selfish part is that I love what I’m doing. I love the people I’m doing it for and I love the people I’m doing it with.”
Controversies: Sued for Wrongful Death after a 2017 pursuit left five dead.
Has been accused of not giving equal opportunities for black men that resulted in a race discrimination lawsuit by an employee of the Sheriff’s office.
An inmate died in custody. A toxicology report showed she had residual levels of two controlled substances but died of natural causes.



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