Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Defending Democracy 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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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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Defending Democracy 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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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Policy Watch exclusive: Double-bunked judges speak out on judicial redistricting plans

More than 100 judges with thousands of years of combined experience could be wiped from the North Carolina bench by one bail bondsman who has served less than a decade in the General Assembly, and no one really knows why.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Snail mail responses from legislative operations chief Paul Coble appear to violate state public records law

Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble appears to be violating the state public records law and is forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for communications with reporters that could be free. There aren’t any formal policies at the Legislative Services Office (which Coble oversees and that is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the General Assembly) to address communications with reporters or compliance with public records laws, but Coble has informally decided to use the U.S. Postal Service for all of them.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Pioneering women celebrate progress in the judiciary, make the case for more at Supreme Court ceremony

There have only been seven women to serve on the state Supreme Court in its 199-year history. In comparison, 92 men have served during that time.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Modern families unprotected by outdated NC laws

Giselle Meléndez had five miscarriages, went through three In Vitro Fertilization cycles and had to wait five years before finally becoming a mother.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Five questions with the co-leaders of the North Carolina Green Party

The North Carolina General Assembly passed a law last year making it easier for third parties to get on the ballot, and the Green Party has achieved official status. The Electoral Freedom Act of 2017 is probably best known for its elimination of judicial election primaries this year, but the bill also eased ballot restrictions for third parties.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Homeowners to homelessness: Siler City residents battle eviction after chicken processor purchases mobile home park

When Lucia Salmeron thinks about her trailer, she thinks about her family’s future – her children riding their bikes with their friends in a neighborhood they love; she and her husband working on their home renovations; everyone being surrounded by a close-knit community of which they’ve spent years becoming a part.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Deadlocks, discord and compromise: Elections/Ethics Board makes nominations for ninth seat

It took five deadlocked votes along party lines and a failed suggestion to draw names from a hat for eight members of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to finally agree on two nominees to serve in what could be a tie-breaking ninth seat.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

The Board of Elections battle: Where things stand

One-stop early voting for North Carolina’s May 8 primary election is a little over a month away, but litigation over the structure of the agency overseeing all things voting remains very much unresolved. Gov. Roy Cooper filed a ...
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