Editorial: Voters need to reject impetuous amendments to N.C. Constitution

Posted June 19, 2018 5:00 a.m. EDT

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, left, and House Speaker Tim Moore during a May15, 2018, news conference.

CBC Editorial: Tuesday, June 19, 2018; Editorial # 8313
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Before our legislative leaders further embark on manipulating the state’s Constitution for their worldly gain and fortune it might do them some good to contemplate the preamble to understand from where their power and authority derives.

“We, the people of the state of North Carolina, grateful to the Almighty God … for the better government of this State, ordain and establish this Constitution.”

In the next few days – with little discussion and even less input from the state’s citizens – the legislature may shove as many as a half-dozen constitutional amendments for voters to consider when they go to the polls.  It is foolishly impetuous, needlessly rushed and nakedly partisan.

When legislators refuse to give citizens time to participate, learn and understand what they’re being asked to approve, the amendments should be REJECTED out of hand. What we don’t know, will hurt us.

There are no good reasons to support any of the proposed constitutional amendments should they end up on the November ballot.

Amending North Carolina’s Constitution isn’t, and shouldn’t be, an every-day act. In the last 25 years the General Assembly has passed just 10 proposed amendments for voters to consider.

Since 1993, there’s been an average of about 11 months, from the when legislators put items on the ballot, to the time citizens voted on them. For a few procedural amendments – changing terms for magistrates and barring felons from running for county sheriff – the time was abbreviated.  Voters had 20 months to ponder giving the governor veto power back in 1996; eight months on whether to bar gay marriage in 2012 (while it passed, it is irrelevant since it has been overturned by the federal government as unconstitutional).

This Legislature thinks it was elected for life. It is trying to control the future.  It wants to take  necessary flexibility away from future legislatures.

Vote no against any proposed constitutional amendment and while you are at it, reject the legislators responsible for putting them on the ballot.

November cannot come soon enough.

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