After two hours of passionate public debate about a proposal to require voters to have photo ID, House Elections Chair David Lewis (R-Harnett) announced the committee won't vote yet on the controversial bill.
When H351 was filed last night, Lewis said it was likely the committee would approve the bill at the end of today's four-hour hearing. Now, he says more time is needed to give the bill a full airing.
"The bill’s sponsors legitimately did want to get feedback from the public," Lewis said. "Perhaps we mistimed the filing of the bill. We thought it would help facilitate discussion among the committee."
Lewis said the bill's sponsors and Majority Leader Paul Stam intend to make several amendments to H351, largely technical. Those changes will be included in a new version of the measure, which will be debated next week at the committee's regular Wednesday meeting. He says the panel will not meet tomorrow.
House Democrats and good-government advocates complained that the public hadn't had a chance to see H351, which was filed only about 16 hours before the committee hearing started, a complaint Lewis conceded "was probably a fair observation." .
"We’re going to open a new link for public comment for those that wish to submit comments online" about voter ID, Lewis added. He said the comments will be available for the general public and lawmakers to review. That link is here. Rep. David Lewis on H351
You can hear the short Q&A at right.