Archives by: Melissa Boughton

Melissa Boughton

About the author

Melissa Boughton, Courts and Law Reporter, joined N.C. Policy Watch in September 2016. She covers local, state and federal courts and writes about key decisions that impact the lives of North Carolinians. Before joining the project, Melissa worked the crime and courts beats at The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.; The Winchester Star in Winchester, Va.; and The Kerrville Daily Times in Kerrville, TX. While reporting in Charleston, she covered the Emanuel church shootings and the police killing of Walter Scott. She was part of the team that was named a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news reporting for coverage of Scott’s death.

melissa@ncpolicywatch.com
919-861-1454

Melissa Boughton's articles and posts

Top Story

Round-up: NCGA discusses four constitutional amendments — hunting and fishing, voter ID, victims’ rights, legislative appointment of judges

GOP lawmakers want North Carolinians to make sweeping, permanent changes to the state Constitution and trust them to sort out the details of it all later.

The legislature considered four constitutional amendment proposals yesterday and voted to move along two of them and continue discussing the other two.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Lawmakers on their way to changing judicial districts during candidate filing

The Senate voted along party lines Tuesday night to overturn a partial judicial redistricting bill in an apparent attempt to flex its political muscle at Gov. Roy Cooper.

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U.S. Supreme Court gerrymandering rulings could put North Carolina cases front and center

It’s not over till it’s over, and all eyes are now on North Carolina to carry on the partisan gerrymandering fight after the U.S. Supreme Court sidestepped two opportunities from other states to intervene. The court released two highly-anticipated opinions Monday: Gil v. Whitford, a challenge to Republican partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin, and Benisek v. Lamone, a challenge to a Democratic partisan gerrymander in Maryland.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday numbers: All about voting

With midterm elections around the corner, lawmakers have, unsurprisingly, taken aim at last minute changes that would affect voters at the polls. Senate Bill 325 eliminates the last early voting Saturday before this year’s elections and create uniform early voting hours across the state. It was sent to the Governor’s Office Friday. Legislators have also introduced a constitutional amendment that would require voters to present a photo identification before casting a ballot. It’s expected to be voted on next week.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

PW exclusive: Previously undisclosed fiscal note says victims’ rights constitutional amendment could cost state millions

Can you put a price tag on victims' rights? A fiscal note obtained by NC Policy Watch that has been kept confidential for the past year would indicate that you can – and a hefty one at that. The fiscal note, dated February 8, 2017, from the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), estimates that a change to the victim rights section of the state constitution -- a multi-part proposal known as known as Marsy’s Law -- would cost the courts $16.4 million to implement and $30.5 million annually in subsequent years for additional district attorney staff.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

“Piecemeal” judicial redistricting: Lawmakers pushing a trio of bills that would impact a third of state’s residents

Lawmakers are still trying to sort out their plans for judicial redistricting less than two weeks before candidate filing commences for judicial office and it’s not at all clear where the finish line will be. Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) all but promised last week that a Friday committee meeting at which two bill were approved would be the end of judicial redistricting, but Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) said Monday that there were still imbalances across the state that could be dealt with.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

GOP plan to redistrict judges in Mecklenburg wins quick Senate approval; Dems, judges cry foul

Sen. Dan Bishop recently said it himself: if lawmakers can’t get a consensus on judicial redistricting for the whole state, they’ll go after Mecklenburg County. Now he’s making sure they follow through. Bishop and fellow Mecklenburg Republican, Sen. ...
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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Legislators seek background checks, fingerprinting for election workers

North Carolina election employees could soon be facing stricter scrutiny. House members rolled out a bill Tuesday night (that has not yet been officially posted online) requiring all current and prospective permanent and temporary employees of boards of elections, including the State Board, to undergo criminal background checks and fingerprinting.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Stealth session? G.A. returns today, but the agenda (including plans for judicial redistricting) remains under wraps

Unsurprisingly, the agenda for the General Assembly's "short session" that commences today in Raleigh is shrouded in secrecy. The recent primary election results — which unseated an unprecedented number of legislative incumbents — have North Carolinians wondering if GOP lawmakers will go into the session guns ablaze or if they will take a tamer approach to prepare for the November election.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday numbers: Gerrymandering in North Carolina

Hundreds of North Carolinians turned out over the weekend to run a jagged race around downtown Raleigh in an effort to raise awareness about gerrymandering. It’s an issue that has plagued the state for years. Here are some numbers to provide further context: 7 — the number of redistricting legislative bills that have filed this decade calling for an independent redistricting commission or impartial process blind of political consideration.

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