If you live in North Carolina and watch television or online videos, then you have undoubtedly seen advertisements about an upcoming North Carolina Constitutional Amendments Vote. Unfortunately, the advertisements only brush upon the subject, but they do not really tell you the issues at hand and what is at stake in the vote. At The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, we believe in bringing power to the people. Since knowledge is power, we would like to take this time to discuss the pending Constitutional Amendments Vote in more detail so you know if you should vote on these issues and why.
Six Proposed Amendments We Feel are Unnecessary
There are actually six Constitutional Amendments on the ballot on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. Here at the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, PC, we encourage you to vote NO to all six proposed amendments, regardless of your political party. The North Carolina Constitution is something to be revered, protected, and only amended when absolutely necessary to protect the citizens of North Carolina. It should not be amended for political gain, on either side of the aisle. With this in mind, we should take a closer look at these amendments.
Right to Hunt and Fish: There is no reason for this to be on the ballot other than to put fear into people by thinking that these “rights” might go away and therefore to get people out to vote to “protect” these “rights.” This amendment goes as far as to say that public hunting and fishing is the “preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.” Nothing and no one are threatening to take these rights away. You already have the “rights” to do the things the legislature is trying to enact. This begs the question, “Why is this Amendment needed if this ‘right’ is not being threatened?” Jason E. Taylor has been an avid hunter his entire life and has been and is currently a Life Member, Endowment Member, Patron Member, and Golden Eagle Member of the NRA — and he is voting NO on this proposed unnecessary Amendment.
Changes to Victim’s Rights Amendment: There is already an Amendment for this that allows victims of a crime to be informed of and present at proceedings for the alleged perpetrator, as well as the right to be heard at those proceedings. Victims already have the right to restitution and to be informed of victim’s rights in the criminal justice system. Victims already have the right to discuss the claim with the prosecuting attorney and know the final outcome of the charge, and any escape, release, or pardon. The proposed amendment creates a formal procedure for what is already happening [read—red tape], and actually puts the onus on the victim to request these “rights,” rather than the State automatically having to do it, and is estimated to cost you, the taxpayer, nearly $11,000,000 per year.
Cap Maximum State Income Tax at 7%: There is already a maximum cap to the State income tax at 10%. The current State income tax for an individual is 5.499%. This proposed Amendment does not limit sales tax, property tax, or federal taxes. Voting NO to this proposed Amendment will not increase your State income tax. This proposed Amendment is therefore a shell game of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Lowering the preexisting cap gives a false impression of lowering taxes. Capping State income tax at 7% also unreasonably prohibits future legislators, perhaps generations from now, from implementing rules and laws as needed to further the advancement of the Great State of North Carolina. Instead, use your vote to elect legislators who will wisely spend your hard-earned tax dollars.
Require Photograph ID to Vote: This proposed Amendment does not apply to absentee voting. It also allows the Legislature to carve out exceptions to the requirement, and will also require the Legislature to set forth what types of identification are acceptable. There is zero information at this time as to how this would be accomplished or how much it would cost the State of North Carolina. It is worth repeating. There is no plan in place as to how this proposed Amendment would be effectuated. Putting forth an Amendment to our State Constitution without any explanation as to why it is needed, how it is to be accomplished, and how much it will cost is negligent at best and reckless at worst.
Legislature to Control Judicial Appointments: All five living former Governors of the State of North Carolina, both Republican and Democrat, are opposed to this proposed Amendment. The Legislature already has the power to choose the finalists for submission to the Governor for appointment. If the Governor does not choose from the Legislature’s “approved” list within ten days, the Legislature already has the power to elect someone to fill the vacancy. The proposed Amendment also weakens your right as a voter because the Legislature would also have the power to lengthen the Judge’s term for up to four years before the Judge can be voted out. Currently, the Governor can only fill a judicial vacancy until the next election. There is no official explanation by the Legislature as to the purpose of the proposed Amendment.
Party Leaders in Legislature to Control Ethics and Election Board Appointments: This proposed Amendment would overturn a current North Carolina Supreme Court decision holding that a similar law passed by the Legislature in 2017 was Unconstitutional. Allowing this proposed Amendment is likely to result in legislative gridlock as it does not allow for a tie-breaking vote by a nonpartisan individual and create a Board that oversees the conduct and actions of the same people who chose them to be on the Board, which unnecessarily creates a conflict of interest. The only other Board currently authorized by our State Constitution is the Board of Education. Once again, there is no official explanation by the Legislature regarding the need for this proposed Amendment.
We urge you to vote No on the aforementioned proposed Amendments to the North Carolina State Constitution. We find it questionable that the people who are pushing these Amendments have been unable to explain why siding with them would be beneficial. To learn more about these topics and to make your own informed decision prior to voting, we suggest you visit https://www.ncsbe.gov/Elections/2018-Election-Information and https://www.sosnc.gov/divisions/nc_constitutional_documents. You should be able to find links to the actual proposed Amendments within each of these supplied websites.
You can get more information about The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor by contacting our law firm at any time. Our North Carolina personal injury attorneys are here to support you during difficult and high-stakes injury cases.