Constitutional amendments setting limits for top legislative leaders, making the state Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed position, curbing the use of eminent domain, and on other topics have been filed. If passed by the legislature, an amendment goes to a vote of the people. STATUS: An amendment that would restrict the government's use of eminent domain has cleared the state House and is awaiting action in the Senate.
The most recent amendment to the state constitution added a definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. Before that, an amendment made it unconstitutional for a convicted felon to serve as sheriff.
In order to pass, a constitutional amendment must garner 30 of 50 votes in the Senate, and 72 of 120 votes in the House. It then goes to a vote of the people. Republican leaders, who now control both chambers, have discussed a number of amendments, including limiting government's ability to take land from private citizens, for years. Several have already been filed this session.
Bills and Status:
HB 8: Eminent Domain. This would limit the power of local government to take land from private citizens.
This bill has passed the House on Feb. 12 and is now in the hands of the Senate.
Other amendments that have been filed by not heard yet include:
- SB 12: Appoint Superintendent of Public Instruction. This would make the head of North Carolina's school bureaucracy an appointed rather than statewide elected position.
- HB 6: NC Right to Work Secret Ballot Amendments. This would make North Carolina's union-weakening right to work law a part of the state constitution. It would also require a secret ballot for union elections and void any agreements between unions and local governments. House Bill 53 is very similar.
- HB 9: Speaker / Pro Temp Limits. This would limit how many terms top legislative leaders could serve.
- H 79: Annexation Amendment. This amendment would limit the ability of cities to bring land into the corporate limits. Such actions would be subject to a vote of those who live in the affected area.
- HB 246: Gun Rights. This amendment would bolster the gun rights guaranteed in the state constitution.
- HB 397: Expand District Judge Eligibility. This measure would allow certain non-lawyers, such as former sheriffs, to serve as district court judges. Currently, the state constitution requires all district and superior court judges to be lawyers.
- HB 274: Taxpayer Bill of Rights. This amendment would require a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly to exceed an annual expenditure limit set by the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The measure would limit the annual growth in government to a calculation that involves the prior year's spending, population growth and inflation.
No constitutional amendment other than HB 8 has been heard in committee yet.
A constitutional amendment filed by Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, would limit what restrictions state law could place on firearms ownership.
Cities will still be able to condemn land for streets and public buildings, but they wouldn't be able to do so for economic development purposes.
Three constitutional amendments have already been filed for consideration in the 2013 legislative session.
The Gun Rights Amendment