Legislature Forced to Step Back in Power Grab

Sep 6, 2018

Clean Air Carolina filed a legal challenge against the legislature’s efforts to place four state constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall that would threaten voting rights, radically restructure the government, and significantly erode the separation of state powers. Southern Environmental Law Center is representing Clean Air Carolina and the NC NAACP in this case.

This power grab would limit the impact that North Carolinians have on state policy, especially on urgent civil rights and environmental issues. The lawsuit challenges four amendments related to judicial vacancies, state boards and commissions, voter ID requirements and an income tax cap and would fundamentally shift power away from the governor’s office to the legislature.

Since the lawsuit was filed in early August various state courts have weighed in on the case. A Wake County Superior Court found that the language used in the judicial vacancies and state boards and commissions proposal was misleading to voters and the legislature came up with new language.

Although Clean Air Carolina still believes the newly written amendment proposals are misleading and harmful, they are much improved. The legislature was forced to give up on its attempt to seize power over 350 Board and Commissions – including Boards that oversee important environmental issues. The litigation also stopped a potential loophole that would have allowed the General Assembly to pass legislation free from Gubernatorial veto.

Clean Air Carolina will continue to fight the amendments in court.