While you're doing that I'll take the opportunity to announce that we have our Sergeant at Arms with us today, Marvin Lee, Regi Sills, Terry McCraw, and Chris McCraken[sp?]. Thank you all for your service, we appreciate what you do for us everyday. Members as the bills and amendments are being passed out, I will just turn your attention to the agenda we do have forth, bills on the agenda. I recognize the hour, we're finally having the opportunity to meet. You all know as I do that there is a cross over time coming up soon and frankly fasten your seat belts we will be having some election minutes between now and noon and hopefully have the opportunity to drain our cup of bills to the degree necessary. I will also note that I think the bills before us today certainly there're going to be some divided votes as I see it the bill is pretty clear, pretty simple now it's extremely complicated so hoping I will be helpful for all of it to this late hour. Okay, at this time may be we will begin with House bill 311 may be seek for licence to unions[sp?], representative is Harmattan and Hyman, Representative Harmattan your recognized to representative your Bill. Thank you Mr. Chairman, this is a local Bill, applying to the town of loodlum[sp?] and [xx] County, [xx] allows for a city to hold an ABC store election, the city has at least 1000 registered voters and it' on a county the city is on a county that does not have an ABC board or an ABC stores. So, House bill 311 will authorize the town stores hold an ABC election if the town has atleast 1000 registered voters which it does and that's really the long and the short of the bill, where you go around the amendment [xx] OK, I believe Representative Yarborough has an amendment to the bill. Representative Larry you're recognized to bring forth the amendment. Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you Representative Hamilton. All the amendment does is repeal a special Brunswick County provision, and Brunswick County by the way is also the location of the town Leland which we share the town Leland, and we share Brunswick County, president [xx] The first bill in 1991 requiring a [xx] ABC store to [xx] the corporate limits of municipality which had an existing ABC store, and that was passed for the benefit of Leland [xx] Belville excuse me. Which one of them was ABC store did not want Leland to have one. So I'm going to be making the money for me and Leland's now ten times bigger than Belville roughly, and they'd like to have an ABC store in Leland also, but most repeals that 1991 law and a subsequent changes to it which is basically [xx] of a [xx] as fast as they get a 5 mile [xx], the lower county has so we [xx] with all the other counties and [xx]. Members is there any other questions or comments on the amendment? Representative Davis. Motion [xx]. Okay, are there any comments in your questions? No. On the amendment Representative [xx] I'm not sure if there's a [xx], [xx] is there any other [xx] Yes there is, I have 13 municipalities and most of them have at least one liquorstore, but nothing has been prevented from having one and they've grown tremendously Follow up So, [xx] County is not [xx] county pass a bill which the law says that the [xx] or just those particular times that [xx] I think I can answer that. Representative Hamilton to find a stand. Thank you Mr. Chairman. If I understand your question correctly Representative Willingham, this bill applies to this the substance [xx] [xx] money, but the amendment will repeal laws that had an adverse impact on rail land since 1992. Representative Boles. There are two separate issues with the,
impact the same town and county. Any other questions or comments on the amendment. Seeing none I represent Davis to be recognize for a motion. Right Mr. Chairman I make a motion that we accept the agenda by favor. Representative Davis moves for the amendment as presented in the previous discussion, all in favor signify by saying aye? All opposed no? The ayes still have it. Representative Hamilton over. I'm happy to answer further questions on the bill as amended. Members Representative Gill. I just want to move that we have a favorable report for the still as amended owing to a PCS. Let's see if there're any further questions or discussion, seeing none Representative Gill moves that the amendment be rolled in that there be a new PCS on House Bill 311, that there be given a favorable report and a favorable to the original. If not all signify by saying aye all opposed no, no, the ayes have it, and the bill passes given a favorable report. At this time I represent the next two bills and I ask the chairman [xx]. House Bill 8 is before the committee on elections, Representative Jones is recognized to explain the bill. Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, House Bill 8 is entire to store partisan, state rights judicial elections, it's on of the bills that I've said may have different views, but I think it's quite simple and it's not very complicated at all. This is only for state judicial elections, the pellet courts, the supreme court, the court of appeals has nothing to do with superior court or district court judges. Simply as you see on your summary, until 2004 this state right judicial elections throw our parties for the elections. At that time they'll remain non-partisan, this bill will take them back to partisan I know the arguments, we all hear the arguments. Most everybody here has probably made up their mind how they are going to vote, I would just say that if some body that has been involved in politics locally for a long time. The main question that I hear from citizens tell me something about the judges, I don't know about the judges. I know that people are going to try to make the argument that well this somehow makes these people more partisan if they have to list their party on the ballot. I think we all know in our hearts that's not true and I think we all know in our hearts and in our minds that the truth of the matter is that both political parties are out there, something for their candidates, giving out their information at the polls, there is all the vote information that comes apart from you know all the candidates who supports him, who's against him. I would say there was about 500, 000 vote drop off with the [xx] last time from the other races and so if you think it's a good idea to with hold information from the voter so that they don't know a little bit more about who they're voting for then you might not think this is a good idea. Some people are going to think it helps their party to with hold information perhaps or I don't buy that, I think it's a good idea to put on the ballot what the ballot is, the paper more information let's just be transparent about it folks, of course [xx] is an affiliated as a Republican, as a Democrat whatever. The only thing I would say is this, when the court repeals last time we had 17 judges running on the ballot. I don't think that's a very healthy situation. I personally think that one of the laws of political parties is to have primaries and to paradigm the candidates and let the best parties involved put there candidates out there for the following elections so that you don't have 17 candidates on the ballot. So, again I think it's pretty simple, I won't be-label the point. You guys can talk about and debate as long as you want to, we're here available for questions. I give my other primary sponsor this opportunity to speak if they would like please say. Representative Howard, Brown or Jordan have additional comment. Just brief comment, just to summarize us for working up here by [xx] and
turning votes of odds as I had as a candidate of chairman for number of year, and it hurts what's to start on the judges. Tell me about the Judges because we had a [xx]. [xx] on it, and that party has [xx] on their [xx], and they move elections sent out the little vote that you're supposed to [xx] edge the resumes and is much of a political person as I was. I just couldn't bring myself to read the book mostly when I told them, look in the trash and then they started asking, who did I vote for? And then the lesson about them I think party labels are getting a better idea exactly who they are voting for. Any of the other bills sponsors is there a comment on the bill. Representative Stan for what purpose do you seek recognition? To speak on the bill. Gentleman speak on the bill. I'm in support of the bill and I would like to give some experience that might encourage people to support it. For about 10 years I was the unofficial recruiter for appellate candidates for our party and that even included in a couple of years where we couldn't find enough people other than myself [xx], they might have wished I had won and then I wouldn't be here. Alright, in the days when it was partisan, previous to about 2002 is that about right? I'm not sure. What happened was, the parties top to candidates valido. If unqualified people went in the republic and primary, the republic and party establishment did our best to defeat them in the primary so that our best candidate will go forward. I'm sure that was the same and true in their democratic party. [xx] non partisans can plead me different your main factor in whether or not you would win was your name. I do not mean your reputation, I mean the shape of your name, how short your name was, whether it sounded female, whether you're female or not, Beverly [xx] they thought he was a girl, and how English it was, and how weird it appeared in the alphabet so, one year for example the incombat[sp?] appointed incombat[sp?] was John Elowood. So I was attempting to recruit someone to run against Mr. Irewood and I wanted a good judge, a sitting judge with a good reputation, female if possible and also someone who would beat John Irewood on the alphabet, so I went to Greensboro. Rep. Harrison and I found Sherry Ahluwalia and almost talked her into that is how ridiculous it got because those are the factors that actually help you win when it's non partisan. So, to me the non partisan has another problem and that is the primary. You understand what happens, suppose four, say there're two, there's a court of appeal seat and two Republicans run two Democrats run and all the people and all the parties know who they are. We'll twice what is happened is in one case both Democrats won and went on to the general election and on the other case, both Republicans won and we went on to the general election. Was that because this was too much qualified people in each case? Absolutely not, it was because in one case Obama verses Clinton there was a heavy Democrat party turnout for that primary, so therefore the two democrat went to the final election and in the other case when the two republican went for it was because there was a significant republican primary which they turned out it is a failure as a system, well before you vote on this, the Americans there you know what Retainer[sp?] White depended on everything even though without not voting for, ask your if this group right here is this the election or committee of the house you all know more about elections than anybody, write on the piece of paper names of three judges of the court of appeal on the 15th and if you can't put down three of them, please vote for this Bill. Representative [xx] for what purpose is the gentleman seek recognition? To speak on the Bill at the appropriate time for motion Sir. The gentleman may speak on the Bill. I'm supporting the Bill and one of the reason why is just a thought of reality the most voters don't you dont have the time and the
resources to vet every cadidate in this position I think we need to complete the number of votes cast of its presidential drop up from the number of votes cast from the down taken obviously when it gets to the judges there's remarkably high number of people didn't bother to vote on that, I think that's one reason why apparently to both parties are hardworking ofcourse to identify their candidates to know what they're going to do the vote is going in. So, while we're making that effort within each partisan factor fashion to make it partisan as it is, again I think that for most constituents do their homework is a matter to know if the candidate is aligned with the party with [xx] aligned with the values and principles with so that's how the homework come in, so perhaps this reason has brought this [xx]. Representative [xx] for all purposes do you seek recognition? Yeah, speaker on the bill. The gentleman may speak on the bill. I can name 15 and more judges of the court of appeal, so you know where I'm going with alread I think it's a bad idea when you start throwing partie that going to be determining what do? How you going to come out, I think it's a bad idea for anybody to sit there with a partisan interest to debating on bills passed by partisan general assembly and you know you going to do it, I'll take my chances, I'll take my chance on having a purely non partisan judiciary to determine further not to build but not because of the party, but because whether the bill are good or not it's just that simple, when we've said that we've tried that's what we're trying to do, eventually we'll get around to it but here if for some reason or other somehow or other we come back as Democrats and take over and then we have we have a Republican Judiciary in a Democratic General Assembly, we will have a big argument there, why not try to make did you say that you have a non partisan judiciary who can look at all aspects and not just that the party aspect I'm opposed to it. For what purpose does Representative [xx] seek recognition? Speak on the bill. The gentleman may speak on the bill. It always looks good when and the party does not empower non partisan always looks good, the problem is that it's not truly been a non partisan there's no such thing as non partisan. All of the judges go the respective parties for support, it's particularly important now because we don't do state funding, they don't get to tax dollars anymore or their contributor dollars or otherwise, and so they need to go be able to go to the parties and ask for help and get people out there to work and which is what they've been doing anyway. The Democrats have been going to the Democrat Party, the Republicans have been going to the Republican party. So, nothing changed when we went to non-partisan. However. What did change is the electorate was basically kicked to the curb as they had no idea who is who and there is a lot of people who will vote for the candidate they look on the candidate and say which candidates are best going to represent me? I did that believe it or not for some of you who think I'm super partisan, but I look at the best candidate. In the absence of not knowing something about the candidates which is 90% of the people who don't know anything about the judges then they tend to want to vote according to party lines because they'll say well if I'm Republican then hopefully the Republican will see things a little bit closer than the Democrats normally would. [xx], so there is a good reason for making it partisan and again everybody here nobody, we can't kid each other. We can laugh and joke and skip rope, but let's not play games with each other and pretend that we don't know that these races never have been partisan. The only people that are fooled is the electorate, and what we need to do is get the electorate involved. We need, by the time you get to the judges basis the people have dropped off, they've stopped, their voting was done. A lot of the judges, some judges
are getting elected with a small number of votes, we need to get everybody involved. I keep hearing this about voter suppression and this and that. Well, let's give the people the opportunity to vote and get them the information that they need to make that call and let's support this bill, it's a good bill. Representative Blust, for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? Speak on the bill. The gentleman may speak on the bill. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Representative Stam's remarks earlier reminded me of an incident when a fellow named Jack Daley recruited a state auditor candidate, a homeless man named Kemble[sp?] because the Democrats, they don't do with name cumbersome[sp?] you do get situations like that and I want to ask a question of the sponsors, and I don't want this to indicate make you think I'm not going to support your bill, but it is a move consideration in the non-partisan non-person, I agree, I believe that the judges really are one or the other even when they are decisions and if you study some of the more political type issues like redistricting lawsuits, you can almost see that but, there is this additional consideration, you do have the fastest growing segment of voters now are unaffiliated. How do you respond to whether, if one of them wanted to run for judge given the hurdles that that is in a state wide election getting on the ballot and getting people to vote for you. Do you have any concern that you might be disqualified, I don't know what it is now state wide maybe 25%. There maybe genuinely unaffiliated people that might want to run for judge and I just wonder what your response to that is given this bill, is just something I'm thinking abut. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I think that's an excellent question Rep. Blusten, I think quite honestly this body needs to have an extended discussion about the unaffiliated voter and unaffiliated group in North Carolina. I would say that one reason I think we have such a large group of unaffiliated voters in the state is that we incentiveivize that, we allow the unaffiliated voters to vote in either a primary and quite honestly for most people out there unless they just have really strong ties to one of the two major parties in particular, they want to get involved, they want to run for some kind of party office or something, they don't really have an incentive to be involved as a member of a political party, so that's one thing. For another thing I will answer the way I answered a question that was similarly made in committee last week or so, if people out there truly want someone that they feel like is non partisan, and they really believe that the unaffiliated party label means that that person is non partisan, maybe it behooves a person to run for the office as an unaffiliated candidate maybe they end up doing well in an office like this, I think we just have to be realistic and understand that just because you and I and the other 168 members of the legislature decided that we would run for office, and we would run under some party labels, doesn't make us a hyper partisan person by Representative [xx] was saying earlier. We are no more partisan as people than judges that run in non partisan race or school board members that run, the fact that you have to put your party label on the ballot does not mean that you are any more or less partisan what it does mean no is it there would be primaries, there would play down candidate so that you don't have 17 people running on the ballot, and it also means that if a person feels like they want to run as an affiliate candidate, they certainly can, I know there's another bill out there right now that would address the number of signatures that a person has to get to run in certain races maybe we need to look at that, I think there is a broader issue there when it comes to the one affiliation candidate but I don't think this Bill hopes, or helps necessarily anyone because of their party affiliation. The only people that it helps is perhaps most of those 500, 000 people they voted in the last election in the US Senate Race but did not vote for one of those Supreme Court Offices, because truly, they didn't feel like they knew anything about the candidate over on that person's name, now for some people the party affiliation may or may not matter and that as the same as in
our races, I got the feeling from the discussion we had a couple of weeks ago that some of our members would like for every race to be non partisan, maybe we should run non partisan, but we all know that that is not realistic I think. So let's just be honest and open and transparent about it, and let's just recognize that many people want to know the party affiliation of the candidate and we ought to let them know, and they can, let's trust the voters, let them make that decision if that doesn't mean anything to them that doesn't have to influence their vote, but if it does influence their vote then so be it. I just think that that is information that we can give to the voter, that we should give to the voter, and I can't think of any good reason why we want to withhold that information unless certain people think that it helps their party's candidates to rip off that information and I don't think that's the right reason to do it, so I think it's a good deal and I think we should do it. Representative Harris [xx]. debate the bill. The lady has the floor to debate the bill. Thank you Mr. Chair, I appreciate the response to representatives [xx] question because I I have a similar concern as an expert in the pages, changes to the purge of election. I do think that access for [xx] is very difficult. I don't know if you remember is easier to do it, you were able to do it but I think so large is a pretty large number and getting on a balance is going to be very difficult. I personally don't like the reform on there was more back in 2004 non partisan ages was extreme and I think the public perceptions the judges shouldn't be put to one party or the other but I just rule of the law, and I think this is an unfortunate change and in our election procedures I'm and actually a fan of the Carlifonia system where they just take the voters as a a matter of fact sometimes its the two democrats the general elections sometimes is the republicans depending on their mistakes, I think its in short the election, I know who I am and [xx] I am if the and government offers something good that the people want I'm just not in favor of this, I wish we, I just we would turn this into study bill because I've been working on the I just want to try and any comment thank you. Yes chair I can respond. I appreciate your comments and I would they would say that they hurt all of those public officials not holding onto a party, after one [xx] I don't know how many others can but I think that there's no one invited to position whether its a state representative or judge, I do agree with you that and I think we should look at how we operate a comment system, we should look at how we trade with other investors, that's a secret issue, I think that this particular issue certainly a week ago just a way better, I do think it will be better to do have the state judicial Representative Brown, for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? To debate the bill. The gentleman to debate the bill. I don't want to delay the points that have been well made and actually recently today from Representative Brown[sp?] for judicial selection for district and supreme of the court judges, that's a conversation we've been having, we could have it all the way up the chain certainly the former party share in the county completely agree that the parties on both sides create a least they support and this is just reality. I think your point about being noticed, talk about what's actually happen think especially at the top of the chain when we talk about the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, people have a judicial philosophy and the parties tend to have judicial philosophies that are not always different but there's usually some clear markings of what the judicial processes are, and I think as long as we're electing judges this makes sense Representative Floyd, for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? To speak on the bill The gentleman has the floor to debate the bill I'm just going to say that I introduced the study bill on the second primary. I think that given that this is would be rolled over into a study bill to allow was across the state, to give input on how they see this and which is the best process, there whether the non-partisan or partisan election it's just my preference that I think that it should be
rolled over so it can be splitted before we just push it through. Representative Richardson, for what purpose does the lady seek recognition? Thank you Mr. Chair, I'd just like to debate the bill? The lady has the floor to debate the bill. As a party chair in my county I noticed that the non-partisan members of our county did not participate in the political activities of their county. They retained all through out the time of the election they did not participate in our democratic activities therefore I think that they do show that they are trying to be non partisan, and they respect the fact that that's how they got elected, and I don't understand why if we sit here and say that anybody knows who the democrats are and who the republicans are, what difference does it make if we already know? Except putting that initial on a ballot, so as a Party Chair I do not see a non-partisan people being partisan, they maintain their non-partisanship through out their term as a board member on those boards that are non-partisan. Representative Riddell for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? Speak on the bill, Mr. Chairman. Gentleman has the floor to debate the bill. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the bill sponsors for bringing this bill forward, it's a great idea, it's long overdue. Just want to share one [xx] statistic, 2012 last presidential election, we had governors on the ballot in the supreme court race, total votes cast for president were about four and a half million in our state total votes cast for governor, 4.4 million. Total votes cast for the one supreme court race, 3.4 million. That's a million voter drop off from a presidential race to the supreme court race. Being partisan labels on a jurisdictional elections for the court of appeals and the supreme court, is simply providing our electorate political short hand and to do this bill. Representative Mitchell, the gentlemen please just stand a moment. Representative Raj is recognized for a motion. Thank you Mr. Chair, I'd like to make a motion for a favorable report for house bill 8. Representative Warren has moved for a favorable report for house bill 8, Representative Mitchell has called for the ayes and no to they will assume that [xx] sustained and the clerk will record the vote. Pardon, those supporting the motion Representative Warren gave house bill a favorable report will answer Aye when their name is called, those opposed will answer No. The clerk will call the roll. Representative Michaux? No Sir. Representative Michaux, No. Representative Warren? Aye. Representative Warren, Aye. Representative Blust? Aye. Representative Blust, Aye. Representative Brody? Aye. Aye. Representative Brown Rayne? Yes. Representative Brown, Aye. Representative Brian? Aye. Aye. Representative Brian. Representative Burr? Aye. Representative Burr, Aye. Representative Conrad? Aye. Aye. Representative Cotham? No. Representative Cotham, No. Representative Davis? Aye. ' Representative Davis, Aye. Representative Dickson? Aye. Representative Dickson, Aye. Representative Faircloth? Representative Fisher? No. Representative Fisher, No. Representative Floyd? No. Representative Floyd, No. No. Representative Ford? Aye. Representative Ford, Aye. Representative Gill? No. Representative Gill, No. Representative Graham? George. Representative Graham, No. Representative Hardister. Representative Harrison. No. Representative Harrison, No. Representative Hunter. No. Representative Hunter, No. Representative Iler. Yes, Aye. Representative Iler, Yes. Representative Martin Susan. Representative Richardson. No. Representative Richardson, No. Representative Riddell. Aye. Representative Riddell, Aye. Representative Saine. Aye. Representative Saine, Aye. Representative Schaffer. Representative Speciale. Aye. Representative Speciale, Aye. Representative Stam. Aye. Representative Stam, Aye. Representative Tobit? Representative Willigham? No, Representative Willigham no, Representative Jackson. Representative Torbett. Aye. Representative Torbett, Aye. Representative Jones? Aye. members by vote on 17
in the affirmative and 11 in the negative motion by Representative [xx] to give House Bill eight a favorable report passes. This time experience is going to ask Representative Mitchell and Representative Jackson perhaps confirm, the chair is trying to advice the principle Clerk if she should this committee report and part of the incarnation will be whether or not the gentleman would anticipate the minority party will reject to having stuck at the third reading on Thursday if we did not wait and all these bills to tomorrow's calendar so if you just give the Chair goodbye so then you can't speak for the entire circus, but I would appreciate your advisor so I may advice to Clerk's office. Move in to House Bill 344 Representative Jones is recognized to explain the bill. Thank you Mr. Chair and Members of the Committee, House Bill 344 is identical to the bill that passed the house by bi-partisan vote last time 86 to 24. House Bill 344 would do, would be to amend the Governor and Lieutenant Governor run as a team on the General Election ballot beginning in 2020 will not be effective until then and as a matter of fact it would actually put the ballot question in 2018, so there wouldn't be any confusion with the 2016 election it would not apply. I think it should make sense to you, but I was just saying that the 43 states that have a lieutenant governor, 25 have lieutenant governor run as a team with the governor. There are many reasons why I think it makes sense to do so. The bottom line is this, governor and the lieutenant governor should be of the same party. The lieutenant governor is a heartbeat away from being governor, just like the presidency and the vice presidency of the United States. And we started in America we elected the president, the vice president separately and that didn't work out very well and we learned that we should elect them as a ticket. These two people should be working together, lieutenant governor is certainly always a potential candidate for governor later, but the lieutenant governor needs to be prepared to send the Office of Governor should that unfortunate occurrence happen and that person need to take that office. I will tell you that last session when we ran this bill, it was vetted thoroughly, I personally vetted with both Governor McCrory and Lieutenant Governor Forest, they both supported it. It would not affect them as I said in 2016 it would only affect the elections of 2020 going forward. The other thing I would mention is that it also would not take away the people's right to elect lieutenant governor, the primary as they currently do. Lieutenant governor would continue to run in a primary election and after that election would be paired with the candidate for governor in the same party for the fall ticket. Now I can anticipate the question and say that, there is probably no perfect way of doing this and you can say well maybe the Governor might they would not have chosen, but I think the flip side of that is, that I don't want to take away the people's right to choose who the lieutenant Governor can and should be. Frankly, I think we would be better off if we would did the same thing for the Vice Presidency, but that is a different issue, again if passed 86 to 24 the house last session I would ask for your support, and Mr. Chairman I'll be willing to take any questions that people may have [xx] but first [xx] do we have House Bill 344? we only have the review for 344 we don't have a copy of the Bill. The members will be at ease just a moment you do, if any member would like a copy of House Bill 344, raise your hand to him if the members would not mind, if the members would endorse the chair would you look in the photo [xx] it all members who needed member of copies of house bill
344, the chair would the chair office sends apologies for those members that were inconvenient, are there any members seeking recognition house bill 344 if not the chair recognize Representative John for a motion Thank you Mr Chairman I move for a favorable [xx] for House Bill 344 gubernatorial team take it. Representative Jones has moved that House Bill 344 be given a favorable report is Representative Mitchell, for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? To speak on the bill. The gentleman has the floor to speak on the bill. I guess I started as a seemed to have survived this speeding in this gubernatorial lieutenant governor ticket for quite a while and I guess, my best equation I go back to what Representative [xx] just read a few minutes ago what are you going to do with fact of the matter is I understand it the number of unaffiliated voters outnumbered the republicans registered in this state so what are you going to do with the unaffiliated voters who want to run for lieutenant governor? You're going to make them go out and get petition signed and call that paper that's going to be a problem. Further discussion or debate on the motion by Representative Jones to give House Bill 344 a favorable report? And the Chair will assume the call is sustained, the question before the committee is the motion by Representative Jones to give House Bill 344 a favorable report. Those favoring the motion will signify by saying Aye when their name is called, those opposed will signify by saying No when their name is called. The Clerk will call the roll. Representative Michaux? No. Representative Michaux, No. Representative Warren? Aye. Representative Warren, Aye. Representative Blust? Aye. Representative Blust, Aye. Representative Brody? Aye. Representative Brody, Aye. Representative Brown? Aye. Aye. Representative Bryan? Representative Burr? Aye. Representative Burr, Aye. Representative Conradd? Aye. Representative Conrad aye. Representative Cotham? No. Representative Cotham no. Representative Davis? Aye. Representative Davis aye. Representative Dickson? Aye. Representative Dickson aye, Representative [xx]? Representative Fisher? No. Representative Fisher no. Representative Floyd? No. Representative Floyd no. Representative Ford? Aye. Representative Ford aye, Representative Gill? No. Representative Gill no. Representative Graham? No. Representative Graham no. Representative Harrison? No. Representative Harrison no. Representative Mahoney[sp?] No. Representative Mahoney[sp?] no. Representative Iller? Aye. Representative Iller aye. Representative Susan Martin? representative Peterson? No representative Peterson no, representative [xx] aye representative [xx] aye. Representative Hussein? Aye Representative aye, representative shaker? Representative Mitchell? Aye representative Mitchell aye. Aye Representative Tobit Aye Representative aye, Representative Willingham? No. Representative Willingham no, Representative Jackson? No Representative Jackson no Representative Johns? Aye Representative Johns aye. Members, with 16 members having voted in the affirmative, 11 members have voted in the negative, the motion to get house bill 344 is adopted. Mr chairman For that purpose does gentleman from Wake seek recognition? I have a question on that bill and the only way to do to vote move to reconsider ask my question and then I withdraw my motion [xx] May I do that? [xx] stand could you just as an inquiry to the chair? Yes so an affiliated candidate runs for lieutenant governer and wins what party his nomination what who would that person be affiliated with on the team ticket? I can't figure that out. Well, Representative Stam, the first part of your question, and unaffiliated, a person registered as unaffiliated would not be able to seek the party's nomination of any local parties is they
were not affiliated with their party for at least 90 days. I think the gentleman's point is that, I think what the gentleman's attempting to ask is if an unaffiliated candidate were to seek to become Lieutenant Governor for the November election how that would be accomplished and while it is slightly out of order, I would ask to save the day. Can staff tackle that? Representative Stam, in section five of the bill, if a the Petition Filed as an unaffiliated candidate, the petition has to contain both the names of the candidate for Governor and candidate for Lieutenant Governor, so they must still run together Representative [xx] does that satisfy? Sorry, I didn't see that. You too you have to [xx]. Yeah, that's sort of gotten really didn't heard all that could she repeat that again? Ms. [xx] could you repeat that question set for Representative [xx]? Of course on page two, section five of the bill, If an unaffiliated candidate wishes to run for Governor or Lieutenant Governor, that petition has to contain the names of both the governor candidate and the lieutenant governor candidate, so earnestly, the candidate would still need to run together as a team. So. Representative [xx]. So as I understand what would be unaffiliated this is mistake. A candidate for governor that he is going to run where? Is that what I'm hearing? No sir, representative Mitchell need to channel it correctly the the person seeking to be elected as Lieutenant Governor would run with another person seeking to be elected as Governor both as an unaffiliated ticket. But that makes it worse Mr. Chairman, because if you don't have an unaffiliated running for Governor and that person wants to run Lieutenant Governor, he's precluded from doing that. With that, the Chair appreciates the member's indulgence who did thank your support and let the members address their concerns. The Chair will give up to Chairman Jones. Thanks, Chairman Lewis. Our next bill is Partisan Board of Education Elections, House Bill 324. Representatives Cleveland, Lambeth, Conrad and Shepard. Representative Cleveland you're recognised to present your bill. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a proposed Committee Substitute. Without objection the proposed Committee Substitute bill before us. Representative [xx] [xx]. Thank you Mr. Chairman. House Bill 324 will have all county and all all elected city board of education be elected on a partisan vote. All vacancies for elected boards of education will be filled by appointment by the remaining members of the board, following consultation on the vacancy appointment with the County Executive Committee of the party from which the vacating member was elected as a nominee, if the County Executive Committee made a recommendation within 30 days of the vacancy the remaining board members will appoint the individual recommended by the committee. All local [xx] or merger plans for local boards of education will establish a non partisan method of election or ultimate method of appointment for vacancies will be superseded and will repeal any local and special acts to the contrary. Soon will be confirming changes made to other statutes. For counties it will become effective for elections held in even numbered years become effective in 2016, odd numbers years would become effective in 2017. We've already had a discussion on non-partisanship. I don't think it just truthfully, I think it's been used for years for advantages on both sides. I think an individual when they go to vote should know what the political philosophy should be or is, or what way it leans when they're allowed to vote and I do believe it will bring more competition into the Board of Election's process and get other people on the board that are basically not paying attention. Mr. Chairman our Representative can I pass an amendment.
Representative [xx] you're recognized to send forth an amendment Mr. Chairman, I think the amendment has already been passed out, members should have it. It's really more of a clarifying amendment but just to explain to members what the two different sections here we're doing. The first change that we're making on page two is simply stating that with this change the partisan election that all school board members will take office in December currently because some are partisan, some are non-partisan, they may take office in July. So this is putting them all at the December period, match up with partisan races. And then the second section changing that is making it clear that even those that have school board races on odd numbered years will be partisan and they'll just simply conform to a partisan election cycle. members any comments or questions on the amendment only, on the amendment only. Representative Floyd. Which amendment is this? This is 324ATC21 Division three. Correct? So you want to have that finally? For comments, now representative [xx] leads the [xx] of the amendment make[sp?] 324ATC21 Division three? All those in favor signify by saying aye. All opposed no. in the opinion of the chair the Ayes have it, the Ayes do have it, the amendment passes. Representative Cleveland Thank you Mr. Chairman I stand for question. Representative Richardson, I saw your hand first. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the bill sponsor, what effect will this have on federal employees who are on a hatchard[sp?] if we make all the election non-partisan? I'm not totally familiar with the federal Hatch Act, and I don't know if we have any federal employees serving on boards, but if we do they will have to get off the board at the next election cycle. Thank you. Representative Stam is recognised. Yes, regretfully I can't support this one. I understand the motivation for it, the arguments for it and if any of the sponsors have a local bill for your county that you want to make partisan I'd be glad to vote for it. For Onslow, or Forsyth, but to do this to Wake County would just be more excitement than I can tolerate, and I think that's true of half the state that this ought to be done on a local bill basis. That's just my opinion. Representative Richardson[sp?] is recognized. Thank you Mr. Chair. Folks, I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I am going to sound like a broken record. shown that there's no press reporter since [xx] I think this is a terrible idea think not only are we making this [xx] person [xx] on local governments that may not want to [xx] so I think its, well on the other hand the government [xx] inappropriate way I think its a terrible idea to make up School Board Partisan and I just urge you to vote no thank you Representative Shepherd is recognized Yeah for me it'd about participation as well as being non partisan. In out county at one time there was partisan as a matter of fact School Board showed that it was Republican at that time changes to non partisan, and most elections were non partisan they hadn't given the primary time and then the primary in our county less than 10% of the voters that even vote, and so the School Board is elected during primary and you really don't get a great concensus of the whole county because less people voted in my time so I was excited to support this because I feel like it should be all rejected to get more people involved in the process and more people of opposed voting because more people vote in the general elections than they do in the primaries, and so that is one reason that I support this is to get more people involved in the process and more people voting in the school board. Representative [xx] is recognized. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I'm one of the lucky six candidates about this having these party election now, anticipation isn't the whole point, whereas American voting for School Board is mostly the same as the people voting in my election except, county [xx] actually is more, because it's county and it's not quite the whole county, but the percentage is about the same. And I had
another question, I like the concept of concerned about those counties that don't have districts, if there are such counties that don't have districts, I know some nearby county is non partisan and the top so many top four or top six, go on to the general, and I'm not sure they have to live in districts in that county, so that made them a different issue, but the top three ran or the top two ran and you run in districts and you run head to head in each one although you're voted by the whole [xx] you're not [xx] in the one district but you kind of have to live and never [xx] everybody could live in downtown, whatever-town downtown Leven[sp?] or something if it just ran without districts size. That's a different issue I understand but I wonder how it's going to work in counties that may or may not have districts. Is there a question there for Representative Cleveland? Do you want to? I understand what Representative Iler[sp?] is saying, and I believe if we get this bill passed I think counties will start looking at districts instead of doing what you're doing right now. Representative Graham recognized. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair, I tend to see some ambiguity here. We want to run the school board, we want to run the city council, we want to run county commissions, we want to be everything to everybody but when are we going to focus on being good stewards of those who are elected in cities, elected in counties, appointed to the board of education or elected. When do we all let locals take care of their agendas, run their business, and if need be they'll bring it to this level for a certification that it may need to be. Representative Fisher is recognized. Thank you Mr. Chairman, and with all due respect to the bill sponsor, as a former school board member and chair myself the most refreshing thing about my service on that board was that it was non-partisan, and I didn't know from Adam who represented what party when I was on the board. And I really believed that it engenders greater participation, some citizens who want to become involved at the community level, if they don't have to worry about whether somebody is going to point to them and say you're a Democrat, you're a Republican, you are this or that, before they are able to get active in your community, and so I know that, I just think we need to leave politics outside the door of our schools. Partisanship I would say, we need to leave partisanship outside the door of our schools and let education happen without that sort of hanging over the heads of our students. Thank you. Representative Fisher would you yield for a question? Certainly. Just wanted to ask, when made that change from a non-partisan office to a partisan office, did you undergo some magical transformation that turned you into such a bunch of more partisan person? There seems to be, they found out there that a person that runs for a non-partisan office is a very different person clinically than a person that runs for partisan is in office, since you've done both I just wondered if there was a magical transformation in your life, or if you could speak to that. Thank you for the question, I would say no change whatsoever. I am who I am, who I've always been. My point is that none of the work that we do at the school board level should have anything to do with whether I'm a Democrat, or a Republican, or an Independent. Thank you for your answer. Representative Cleveland? I agree with what Miss Fisher said, Representative Fisher said. Once you're elected you work for all of your citizens, and I'm sure Republican or Democrat feel the same way. So I don't see where that's a problem being elected as a Republican or being elected as a Democrat. Once you're in the position you work for your citizens. If philosophical differences are still here, you still argue about whether you want to pay for A, or B, et cetera we need truth in advertising, we need to know, the electorate needs to know who they are voting for philosophically and that's one of the major reasons I'm behind this.
Representative Fannin you're recognized. Thank you Mr. Chair. We all receive email from my constituency back home. I received an email today from a member of our board of education who is a republican and I'm going to quote just one sentence out of her email, it said boards of education are not making decision on partisan issues and therefore their party affiliation should not be leveled to an election, and this is coming from a republican. Having said that I'll have to oppose this bill Representative [xx] you are recognized I've got a question for [xx], right now can under cut law, can a local school board can local government somehow change from non partisan to partisan or does that require an act of the General Assembly? As I directed the staff I've witnessed [xx]. It requires an act of the General Assembly unless you have a merger of two score boards and in that case the General Assembly has said the merger plan can designate the method of election and that has to be approved by the State Board of Education, but otherwise any change has to be made by back at the General Assembly. Mr Chairman I've got a question Follow up. The sponsors then and I've got a lot of sympathy I think people get on these boards and many times they are partisan and they can hide behind the non partisan I think I've seeing that happen, but I've also got a little bit of concern as to the extend that I know we can't leave local along completely sometimes there's a time to act, and each member knows his/her local community better than we all know. But I do wonder if this is something best left to each county as Representative Stam said. I'm wondering if you would consider changing your bill to just instead of the default is non-partisan just letting each county decide which day you want. I do wonder sometimes if we made them all partisan would we really see an actual improvement in what the school boards do. I do have a difference on the judges, the bill we just did, they will stay wide judicial offices, but I'm just wondering if the local, we shouldn't leave it up to the locals. Representative Conrad you're recognized. Can I speak as someone who represents a county and partisan school boards rises for a long time, local county commissioner [xx] for 18 years as a partisan, our school board districts county commissioner racist. I have never heard a single citizen in precise tell me they didn't like the progress of school board ratio, they like it, but there is just more information. And there are, I mean education in general was my most important something they all [xx] they that cant be, for example in precise caning they are unique [xx] about exams, we had school public school choice within zones[sp?] and the people that moved there loved it the people that live there love it. It was a very positive idea brought forth by one political party and it's been very clear the other political party would dismantle it, and that has guided the elections because parents love it they can pick between say, they live in like two different elementary schools instead of being assigned to one, depending on what's the best for their child, and then when they get to the middle school level, this may be a choice of two and people of course are always guided in the real estate choices [xx] particular focus of each to say they have three elementary schools to choose from, they may not be the one closest to their home and we provide transportation no matter which side of the three you pick, you still get within the school bus riding system. People voted, but it was a partisan issue in a fire and we suddenly went to non-partisan, they could accidentally elect people without knowing that we're dismantling a system that we lost. So, I don't think you can say that politics doesn't play a role. Not every parent agrees on how their child should be educated, they're different their guide say by their religious beliefs, their parenting beliefs and having a labelled next to the calendar the people of my county found they're helpful is to be one piece of the puzzle. I don't think it's divisive, I think
once the people are elected as Representative Fisher said both the Democrats and Republicans in the board told to gather, but people do know that the majority that they elect does so to guide the direction from which the school was going on and that reflects the values and wishes of not only the parents, but the tax payers at large who are funding the public school system. So, I certainly support this. Again, I'm not doing it for my county cause we already have it. I've just seen it work so well and I don't think it's the right and I think it's very informative for the voters. Representative [xx] you're recognized. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Representative Conradd I think [xx] should be a local decision, I think I agree with representative Blasie I feel like this is an overreach, is a state wide policy, if we were talking about the commissioner's district, for your district, or we design your school districts, and it was a local [xx], I would have no problem supporting on that at all, but when we talk about setting a policy which I believe a policy which would make partisan races statewide for positions that I don't believe are policy setting positions, you could do the same thing for a Clerk of Courts or Recorder of Deeds. I just don't know, the Clerk of Deeds. Clerk of Court isn't. Yes it is. It most certainly is. Yes it is. Yes. How come the Clerk of Courts is? They are a part of [xx] Skip is it? [xx] Clerk of Court and the Registrar of Deeds are partisan races in North Carolina. [xx] policy setting [xx] I just can't see supporting this as a statewide policy for school districts. To your point Representative Conrad, if people know locally how they want their children raised then they should decide locally what they want to do on their school boards. So I won't be supporting the bill. If I may? Representative Cleveland. There's no difference in reality about making School Boards partisan, to making judges partisan. It's being done to give the voter more information about the people they're electing. I don't think it's an overreach, I don't think it's out of line for the state to require elections of any type to be partisan, and school boards do make policy decisions. Alright Mr. Chair. Representative Warren? I wanted to apologize, you're right that the clerk [xx], my point is they're not policy positions, so I don't see the significance that way is, but again, for the school board with board of education, Representative Cleveland I think you're a 100% correct in that viewpoint but I'm just saying I believe that it should be a local decision. Representative Mitchell you're recognized. I find myself really, rather [xx] positions agreeing with so with Stam again. We will peacifullly going on here somewhere, I don't know what it is but I do have a question, page three staff, vouching for Staff. Page three beginning at line eight, starting with the [xx] with after [xx] July 14 period after act. Can somebody please tell me what that means? [xx] Representative Cheverle is part of the the current law for school boards that do have district boundaries, after each census they can revise them to account for the population distinctions after the censuses occurred. [xx] and I asked a question because I know there is a part on the current law which I guess I'm asking about Section 5 with Voting Rights Act. If the duly[sp?] district devolved this are they going to ask somebody whether or not it's approved? Miss McCraw[sp?]? So, generally they would not have to. There are some districts that remain under court orders and so it does reference if they need to do it to
comply with the court order because currently North Carolina is not subject to Section 5, although that language remains in there they would not be required to go to the USDOJ. Pardon me, can I follow up? But what of counties that are? Miss McCraw? Under the most recent decision from the US Supreme Court because of Section 4, that Section 5 no longer applies to these 40 counties until Congress re-authorizes or re-establishes [xx] for coverage. Representative [xx] you're recognized. Thank you Mr. Chairman, you know we've talked a lot in these committees about taking over school boards and commission boards and everything, what we got to remember in North Carolina we're dealings rule state which means that the local governments derive their power from the state government. And as a former county commissioner I didn't always like that but we were reminded that we were enormous state government, and it's a fact of life. I represent three different school districts and we got one of their elections in May, and it's so far down the ballots sometimes these people get elected in the single digits. Whether it's good or bad and some people on that board for decades, and that they maybe doing a great job. And by the way I've only heard from one school board member and Mr. [xx] that particular school system. I think this is a good bill, I think this it's the way to go and I think it will definitely increase participation. Representative Stam you're recognized for a second time. I was trying to think where will practical effect will be all of the past mic problem, but you can hear me. What is the practical effects after reorganize 109 school boards, this practical effect. You have [xx] of the state dominated by Republicans or Democrats if you contest and there is, the practical effect will be the area is dominated by the Democrats, all the Republican members of the boards will be swept off and in the Republican areas of the state all the Democrat members of the boards will be swept off. That's what I think would happen. I think we'll leave it [xx] local people local bills. Representative Willingham is recognized Thank you Mr. Chairman, three things I hear that we want to increase, the bill want to increase participation, same thing, I don't think this would do that and the other thing is that what the bill does, it excludes people because we are talking about if you are under the [xx], then we exclude people, they cannot run, they cannot serve on a school board. And as a former school board member I can tell you that we had just like the other representative I didn't know whether people were Republican or Democrats, that's how we operated because we were there for the children. And I think all the discussion, what it has proved to me and what it has shown me, this is not a good bill because I think it makes your own point. Each school board, each area is unique. The communities, the parents and the things that they deal with, so to have a blanket Require something that might at least [xx] school that [xx] help us with participation, so I would think that because of what you said about anybody doing something different then this is the reason we should probably leave it just the way it is [xx] don't see us [xx] and each local school board deciding how they want to be whether they want to be partisan or not and I think suggestion was made that maybe if you have something that come up and allow School Board to do that, if they choose and not make amendment from the state that they must be one thing or another, is it possible to respond, question there, there is a question if not [xx] respond, Representative Dickson you're recognized. Thank you Mr. Chair I trully support this Bill and I believe that it's not only this year, they have the right to it's our responsibility to do the things we do well to the local
governments, it's beyond my believe in comprehension that we can say that we don't know what part [xx] get on these rules, though judges that believe that jurisdiction can live himself [xx] when he gets in any kind of situation I carry with me my beliefs, I carry with me my loyalties, I carry with me my concerns and I think for immunity I support the bill, the sponsors have put forward and I encourage everybody to support out it so, thank you Mr chair. Representative Bill you are recognized. Thank you Mr chairman, I want to support bill and just want to make a couple of comments about it. If you had your computers nearby I would recommend that you Google North Carolina School Board Election Laws at the Command[sp?] State Board of Elections, and I think the School Board Association probably put together a very good document that lays out the history of changes that have been made over the years. And I've heard the statement made by some that we shouldn't be doing this, we'll set a precedent, and I don't see that as the case because just running through a few pages here the General Assembly has in 1923, 1927, 1931, 1955, 1967, 1969, 1975, 1981 made major changes to how school boards were elected. They used to be partisan, they held a primary, but then the General Assembly got to select the folks after the primary which as you are not guaranteed one party over another, I know this because I found that at a recent auction, a pamphlet from the 50's where the one political party in my community was raising [xx] about the fact that they didn't get to elect their school board members locally and they thought they should have a right that they got to vote on them in the primary and they should be able to vote on those talks in the general elections. The General Assembly also changed it, it was partisan, they started removing some of them where they were actually elected in the counties. Apparently that didn't work out too well for some of them so they moved the elections and I don't know I went around and maybe Representative Stam, or Representative Cleveland somebody can tell me how it was in the 50s when they changed it. But they moved the elections from the fall to the primary I believe in an effort because they had higher voter turnout for one political party over another. So there have been major reforms done to school board elections and I think this reform that you're doing is actually one that unlike many other reform mainly the changes, I'm going to call reforms changes that have been done in the past years, is a true reform that is better educating the voters so that they know where they school board candidates stand, has actually put more information in their hands versus less which has been the case under many of the changes that have been made that I mentioned that you will find if you follow up that document. And I think it's a good bill, there's actually 17 school boards that are partisan and it's even more at 17 currently, many of which are a Democrat counties and some are Republicans counties. There's some extra votes to be fair so it seems to work just fine in many of those counties and I think it works just fine statewide and would encourage you to support the bills so we can continue the discussion. Representative Graham you're recognized for a second time. Thank you very much Mr. Chair, I recall last year coming in and really that was meant to reach this point in our discussion. Someone would say let's lay it on the table, so what are we? Ladies on the table and revisit it, and come back and may be we can come up with a better decision. Chair is not going to take that suggestions being in order we will probably take a vote today, or is there further discussion, further debate? Representative Blust. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I've heard the debate and I have sympathies on both sides of the issue. I definitely think it's something voters need to know what people who run for office really think, and we in politics seem to be pretty adept at trying to keep them from learning what we think sometimes, I do wonder if it shouldn't be more left to the local. Representative Burr said something about moving it along, I think I will reluctantly vote to move the bill along at this point, but I may well change that at the floor and we may need to think about this a little longer, as to whether we want to go down this road, but I certainly don't
want to kill your bill right now without having, and I really didn't think given all that's on the calendar, I didn't think about it much before I came in here and I sure don't want to surprise you with a vote in a in writing in the room you might not be expecting so I will reluctantly almost 50-50 on the bill moved, told keep it moving but I do have questions on what I think about it a lot longer thank you. Thank you and Representative Bob you're recognized for a motion. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I move that we give the proposed committee substitute as amended to House Bill 324 a favorable report and unfavorable as to the original. OK, Representative Yarborough. Representative Warren would you have a comment? Yes, I just want to say I agree entirely with Representative [xx] and the report that will be given to him in the board but I do intend to speak to each of the bill sponsors to get their clarification. Thank you. Representative Yarborough has properly moved for the favorable report on the House Committee Substitute to House Bill 324 unfavorable to the original. All those in favor will signify by saying aye? All opposed no? In the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it, the ayes do have it. The business of this committee being completed, this meeting is adjourned. Thank you.