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NC Constitution: A primer

The NC Constitution of 1776

Although the constitution affirmed the separation of power between the three branches of government, the General Assembly held the true power. Until 1836, the General Assembly members were the only state officials who were elected by the people. The General Assembly picked Judges, the Governor and the members in the Council of State. Judges had life terms and governors had a one-year term. The Governor had little power and in many cases needed the consent of the Council of State to exercise the power that the office did hold. The Governor was also held to strict term limits; a person could only hold the office three terms in every six years. The constitution established a judicial branch, but did not well define this branch's structure. The constitution also lacked a system of local government. Universal suffrage was not an element of this constitution. Only landowners could vote for Senators until 1857. To hold state office required land ownership until 1868.

Constitution of 1868

Dissatisfied with the central role of the General Assembly, a state constitutional convention was called in 1835. Out of the convention came many amendments. Among those changes was fixing the membership of the Senate and House at their present levels, 50 and 120. Also, the office of Governor became popularly elected. The convention’s proposed changes were adopted by vote of the people on November 9, 1835. In 1865, Governor William W. Holden called for a Conference to write a new Constitution; it was rejected by a popular vote. Two years later, they reconvened. The new Constitution gave more power to the people and to the governor.

Victims rights amendment: A wolf in sheep's clothing?

The N&O decided to weigh in on my belief that the Victims Rights Amendment would open the door to undermining abortion rights in North Carolina. Their "experts" seem to think that the amendment as proposed would be faithfully implemented by a well-meaning legislature and would have nothing to do with abortion. What the heck are those experts smoking and where can I get some?

Victims rights amendment: A wolf in sheep's clothing

Of all the "blank check" amendments that will be on the ballot, the one that causes the most consternation among liberals is the so-called victims rights amendment. It sounds good, right? Why not extend special rights to crime victims? Who could be against that? In fact, a number of victims rights advocates have been criticizing the VOTE AGAINST campaign because, they argue, victims are special. I don't dispute that.

Open letter to David Rouzer

Dear Congressman Rouzer.

We read on your website that you consider yourself an advocate for working people. You even say you are concerned about public health crises, like the opioid epidemic. So I'm writing to ask, "Why the hell are you supporting a president who will literally kill hundreds of thousands of people by allowing asbestos back into US consumer products?"

Not fake news

A reporter inquired today about my KNOW YOUR AMENDMENTS flyer. Here's my response.
__________________________________________

Hi Andy.

James Protzman here. I'm a founder of BlueNC. Thanks for reaching out with your comments and questions. I'll do my best to respond.

The flyer you're referring was first posted on my personal Facebook page a few days ago. I created it. I have been a vocal critic of all six amendments, and am giving away yard signs and bumper stickers encouraging people to VOTE AGAINST every amendment.

The amendments are political shenanigans that undermine the integrity of our Constitution. Each could have been handled with simple legislation; none of them are necessary. Worse still, they lack implementation language. Voters can't possibly know what the amendments will mean for the citizens of North Carolina because that won't be spelled out until after they're passed, in a lame-duck session.

The victims rights amendment, for example, leaves important questions unanswered. Just look at this language from the legislation:

"The victim or, if the victim is a minor, is legally incapacitated, or deceased, a family member, guardian, or legal custodian may assert the rights provided in this section."

So let's say you're the estranged husband of a woman who has an abortion. Under this amendment, you could assert all the rights of a family member on behalf of the fetus, and then impose the requirements of the amendment on your estranged wife. You could even assert, on behalf of the "victim," that felony murder took place.

Would this happen? Who knows? But it could. And given the willingness of Senator Berger and Speaker Moore to bend legislative rules to suit their agendas, I wouldn't bet against it.

Regarding hunting and fishing, let's say you're a gun-loving citizen of Chapel Hill. Let's also say you don't much like the town ordinance that restricts hunting inside the city limits. You sue and you win. Your rights as a hunter would protected by the NC Constitution, which must surely trump local regulations. And now that you can shoot deer in Chapel Hill, what about feral cats? Are they wildlife? Who knows? It's all up to the General Assembly to decide ... after the fact.

Hunting / Fishing Amendment could prohibit regulators from stopping shell-fishing even when it's dangerous to people's lives

The Pamlico Sound was closed to shell-fishing today because of excessive bacteria in the water. That regulatory action would be prohibited if the GOP's "blank check" amendment passes. The moral of this story? Republicans would rather see you die if it means they can take NRA money.

https://www.thecoastlandtimes.com/2018/08/03/shell-fishing-closed-in-pamlico-sound/

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