Saturday, July 30, 2011

General Assembly Update (July 30, 2010)

The North Carolina General Assembly reconvened this month to finalize redistricting and to address other unfinished business. Here are some notable outcomes:

General Assembly approves redistricting maps

New maps for Congressional districts as well as state House and Senate districts were approved by the General Assembly. These maps will now have to be approved by the Department of Justice or a federal court before they officially go into effect.

As expected, the new maps were a source of controversy across the state. Democrats accused Republicans of gerrymandering districts while Republicans argued that they followed the law and crafted districts that are "fair and legal."

General Assembly fails to override Voter ID Veto

State legislators attempted to override Governor Perdue's veto of legislation that would require voters to present a valid form of photo ID before voting. The legislation was intended to stifle voter fraud and protect the integrity of the ballot box. Unfortunately, the override of Perdue's veto failed as the Republican majority in the state House were not able to get any Democrats to join them in the override. State legislators voted along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor of the override while Democrats voted against it.

This issue is expected to be a major factor in the 2012 elections. Most polls indicate that the vast majority of North Carolina voters favor photo ID requirements for voting.

General Assembly advances restrictions for abortion

The General Assembly was successful in overriding Governor Perdue's veto of legislation that would place new restrictions on abortions in North Carolina. The legislation requires health providers to fully disclose the potential health implications from having an abortion and to provide the patient with images from an ultrasound. It also requires those seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours after consulting with a health provider before proceeding with the procedure.