@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

More amendments ahead?

Posted January 30, 2013 11:51 a.m. EST
Updated January 30, 2013 3:14 p.m. EST

— The House and Senate haven't even gaveled in yet to begin their work for the year, but three constitutional amendments have already been filed in the House for consideration in this legislative session.

House Bill 6, "NC Right to Work/Secret Ballot Amendments," would add the state's "right to work" law to the constitution, as well as a provision forbidding "card check" union elections.

The state chapter of the AFL-CIO immediately blasted the proposal, saying other states face lawsuits over their amendments on secret-ballot union elections.

"North Carolina already has a right to work law and a ban on public-sector collective bargaining," MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, said in a statement. "These amendments are a ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ time and money. Legislative leaders should instead focus resources on job creation and economic growth. North Carolinians need jobs not ballots full of unnecessary amendments designed to turn out conservative voters and generate more corporate campaign contributions."

House Bill 8, "Eminent Domain," would add the following language to the constitution: "Private property shall not be taken by eminent domain except for a public use. Just compensation shall be paid and shall be determined by a jury at the request of any party."

It's intended to defend against cases like Kelo v. New London, a famous lawsuit over the taking of land in the Connecticut town for the purpose of "economic development." Property rights advocates say the local power of eminent domain needs to be limited to "public use," not the more vague "public good."

In past sessions, the House has passed similar amendments, but the Senate has not.

House Bill 9 would limit the speaker of the House and the president pro tem of the Senate to no more than two terms in their respective leadership positions. Speaker Thom Tillis advocated for this idea last session, but the Senate didn't take it up.