While the first legal test of the Racial Justice Act is underway this week in Fayetteville, House Speaker Thom Tillis has named 10 representatives to a committee expected to weigh changes to the law.
Late last year, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 9, which would have functionally repealed the 2009 Racial Justice Act. It was vetoed by Governor Bev Perdue. House Republicans tried but failed to garner the votes needed to override the veto, allowing the Racial Justice Act to stand. The vetoed Senate Bill 9 was sent to committee.
At the time, Bladen Democrat Bill Brisson said he had pushed for a compromise. He didn't support a full repeal, but said he thinks it's clear that some changes need to be made to the 2009 legislation, and that a committee would be named to study the issue.
The committee, authorized by this order, "may study evidence of racial discrimination in capital cases and determine if legislative action is needed to address such issues." The panel is asked to submit an interim report by May, and a final report by next January.
It's made up of six Republicans - chairman Tim Moore, Skip Stam, Justin Burr, Sarah Stevens, Shirley Randleman, and John Faircloth - and four Democrats - Tim Spear, Larry Hall, Earline Parmon, and Joe Hackney.
One interesting point: the order stipulates that the Speaker of the House of Representatives can dissolve the committee at any time.
UPDATE: The committee's first meeting has been scheduled for Friday, February 10th at 10:00am in Legislative Building Room 1027.