Senator Smith previews short session
On May 16 the North Carolina General Assembly returned to Raleigh for the 2018 legislative short session.
Only the following matters may be considered during the short session:
- Budget bills. Bills directly and primarily affecting the State budget, including the budget of an occupational licensing board, for fiscal year 2018-2019.
- Constitutional bills. These are bills: a. Proposing an amendment or amendments to the North Carolina Constitution and containing no other matter. b. Proposing an amendment or amendments to the North Carolina Constitution and containing no other matter other than statutory conforming changes to implement such bills. c. Solely making statutory and transitional changes to implement bills under sub-subdivision a. of this subdivision.
- Crossover bills. Bills and resolutions meeting the crossover deadline but not ratified or defeated in the receiving chamber; to be concise, bills that have passed either the House or the Senate and are awaiting action from the other chamber.
During session, there are two main areas that could be addressed in terms of judicial reform: new judicial maps or a merit selection plan, which would get rid of judicial elections altogether.
The House and Senate have drawn separate maps for redrawing District Court and Superior Court districts, and a switch from elected to appointed judges is still under discussion. The Joint Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting met before session to discuss the most recent judicial redistricting proposals.
The joint committee also covered House Bill 240, an act to provide that district court vacancies shall be filled by appointment of the General Assembly, and House Bill 241, an act that would allow the General Assembly to appoint special superior court judges. These pieces of legislation are up for consideration in the short session.
A statewide poll indicates that the majority of North Carolina voters are opposed to hyper partisanship of judges. Judges should rule on the law, and not on politics.
Our Office is adamantly opposed to taking away your right to elect fair and impartial judges. The proposed maps create districts larger in size with no increase in judges. We further oppose any redistricting plan that targets women and minorities, which has been deemed unconstitutional in prior congressional and legislative redistricting plans drawn by this General Assembly.
Senator Erica D. Smith, (D-Northampton), represents Senate District 3 — Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Hertford, Martin, Northampton, Tyrrell, and Washington counties.
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