The House Committee on Elections, please come to order. The chair thanks all the members for their attendance and apologizes for the slightly tardy start to the day’s meeting. Our Sergeant-At-Arms today include Young Bay, Patrick Mason, Barry Moore and Warren Hawkins. We appreciate you for all of your hard work. We are also pleased to have several pages with us today I think. Yes, we do. We have Marshall Barnes from Pender County, Clarissa Bryson from Haywood County, Antoinette Dier from Wake County… the Chair apologized in advance. Adogme Evumpum? Close maybe? The chair hopes so. If not, apologies. And Zachary Hocup from Johnston County. The Chair appreciates all of your work in being here today. At this time we’re going to begin with House Bill 11-58. Representative Blackwell… Do we have PCS on this? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members, the Chair is informed there is a proposed committee substitute on this bill. Representative Dixon moves the proposed committee substitute to House Bill 11-58 be before us, and is there any objection? Seeing none, so ordered, and Representative Blackwell, you have the floor to explain the bill, Sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is a bill that was introduced by me, and a companion bill in the Senate by Representative Daniel, in response to the unanimous request of the Morganton City Council to make a couple of changes in the city charter relating to elections, and I have confirmation from the city attorney Mr. Vinay this morning that they have reviewed the PCS and agree that it is in agreement with what the city council unanimously requested. In short, I would say that there are two primary changes that this focuses on. One is that historically, Morganton has had an election in which if you didn’t get a majority of the votes, there would have to be a runoff. So they had an election normally in October, and then if nobody got a majority, they would have a runoff in November. They have over the years decided that they would like to change that to more or less do it the way most other municipalities and bodies now do it, and that is have election by plurality. That would allow them to have their election in November, it would save the city money, it would help avoid confusion with voters who didn’t understand why they were voting twice, maybe, in October. So that’s the first thing, and then the second thing is Morganton is a little bit unique, but not totally so, in that its charter provides for recall of city officials, and we are slightly changing the recall provisions. Before the city of Morganton had its own Board of Elections, and this statute refers to filing the position for recall with the old Morganton Board. Instead this is being changed to more or less accord with a recall provision that involves the Burke County Board of Education, and the provision for recall would be filed with the county Board of Elections instead, and there is other language in there clarifying that in filing a recall provision, that you would state some ground, you file your affidavit with the county Board of Elections, and that the petitioner would then receive blanks to take to registered voters to get the requisite number of signatures, and that they would need to complete that process within 30 days so that it wouldn’t drag on over months as somebody continued to go around the community trying to get signatures on a recall petition. If there are any questions, I’ll be glad to try and answer them. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Jones, please state your purpose. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The Gentleman is recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative Blackwell. I was just going to ask, are you aware of any significant opposition to the bill – to the local bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES]
Mr. Chair I’d be happy to make a motion at the appropriate time. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Representative Jones has moved that the proposed committee substitute for house bill 58 and an unfavorable report to the original bill. Is there further discussion or debate on the proposed committee substitute for house bill 1158. Seeing none those who favor the motion by Representative Jones to give the proposed committee substitute for house bill 1158 a favorable report will signify by saying aye. Those opposed will say no. In the opinion of the chair the ayes have it and the motion carries thank you Representative. At this time the Chair is going to yield the chair to Co-chairman Moore and assist with the presentation of the next bill, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Members you have before you house bill 1108. The Chair will without objection entertain the PCS. Is there objection? Hearing none, the PCS is before the committee. Representatives Lewis and ?? I believe this is your bill. Both of you gentlemen are recognized to explain the proposed committee substitute. Members you should have copies at your desk. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. Chair. Members, the first part of this bill, some of you may remember down in Duplin County in the last session we changed our districts on the board of education and the ??? from six to five. There was no opposition to that change from anybody. We have implemented that change; however, at one point a sitting county commissioner resigned which required the necessity to appoint a person in his place. That calls some confusion; however, the bill as originally passed has been implemented exactly like it was proposed and exactly like it is. This is strictly a technical change to identify particular individuals in particular districts as to when their reelection is to take place. There is no opposition to it, Ms. Carol McCraw has worked intensely with the board of education and county commissioner’s attorneys to draft this bill. I know of no opposition to it. I would appreciate your support. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Representative Lewis do you want to the ??? provision. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes sir Mr. Chairman, thank you. Members of the committee I’ll be addressing sections five through the end of the bill. Section five adds Harnett County to the list of counties that specify that should a vacancy occur on the county board of commissioners or the county school board that the political party from which the individual who caused the vacancy to occur, the executive committee of that party would be the one who recommends the replacement to fill that seat. That is the way it’s done in many counties and there’s been some question reason in our county about what would occur and so this should add some clarity to that. Section six deals with only the county managers or the superintendents of the counties and what it says is that the board of commissioners or the school board can fill these two vacancies during these seven months before the reconstitution of the board and to explain to you what I mean by that, every December the board of commissioners and the school board reconstitutes itself in my county. I know in some of yours that occurs in May, but in ours it occurs in December. That’s when the elect the new chairman and whatnot. What this says is if the old board, if you will, for the last seven months that it’s in office if it needs to..
Position that it would need to be by unanimous vote of the board, and what is the purpose of this is to keep an old board, if you will, from binding a new board with these two very important county hirings. It does not affect any other position within the counties. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ms. ?? the chair sees you here. Does the State Board of Elections have any interest in this bill or are you just here to visit with us today? Well, we’re glad to have you. Good to have you here. Representative Jones, for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Information at the appropriate time, Mr. Chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think, Representative Michaux, did you have a question, sir? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, I’ve got a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Member from Durham is recognized to submit a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For Mr. Lewis. Representative Lewis, I noticed that the PCS would require the appointing authority to be bound by the party recommendation. I’m a little confused. Is the person to be replaced going to be replaced by the party of the person that’s being replaced. Is that what you’re saying now? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It’s not clear. It says it could be that the opposite party may make a recommendation also and that recommendation has, but if that’s not the intent of it then I can live with that one. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, if I could respond. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Of course. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Gentleman may want to address that to staff. What my reply would be, Representative, is this is existing language, old language, and I am merely asking to add my ?? to this list. As always, you may be correct, there may be some cleanup language that should be required on old statutes, but I don’t think it actually affects the intent of this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair, may I follow-up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Gentleman is recognized for follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I guess the follow-up is, if the party of the person who’s replacing that person, that recommendation should be, I think if that’s not clear. That’s why I raised the question Mr. Lewis, because to me it really wasn’t clear. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If both gentlemen, Mr. ?? has his hand up, maybe this is a question he can deal from staff if that would please the gentleman from Durham. Mr. ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What set out in the bill was just a list of counties. The statute underlying it, subsection A, I think in both cases, says that, if the person was elected as the nominee of a political party, it’s the County Executive Committee of that party that makes that nomination. The other party has no role in it. If the person was like a non-affiliated commissioner, which there are a few around the state, then this process doesn’t apply to them. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For what purpose does the lady from Buncombe, Representative Fisher, seek recognition? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To propound a question, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Member is recognized for that purpose. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I’m wondering, how did this come about in the first place? Did you have a request from your county commissioners? From your county board of elections? From your local—how did this come about? Was this a request locally and, if so, does everybody agree that this should happen? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, Representative, I appreciate the inquiry and, again, I’ll speak only to the section of the bill that deals with my county. This is language that I have proposed. There was no request from either of the county boards. It’s been an ongoing conversation for some time and it’s my hope that, to clarify where the appointing of authority comes from to fill the seats, that this will end the conversation. Just so you know, this is prospective language, of course, and there are currently no vacancies on either one of the boards. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For what purpose does the gentleman from Craven, Representative Speciale, seek recognition? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To ask a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Gentleman is recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m a little confused here. How does this affect, I see Beaufort County on here, what of this applies to Beaufort County, because I’m really still confused about the whole bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman and Representative, where you see the words Beaufort County, which I know is on page two, line
seventeen and perhaps elsewhere in the bill. That's just because in Beaufort County this is already the practice. If there is a vacancy on your board then you're, then the Beaufort County executive code ?? sends forth the name to fill that spot. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further questions for members of the Committee. Further discussion or debate? If not, the Chair will accept a motion from Representative Jones for a favorable report to the PCS and favor to the original, is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The motion is accepted. All those in favor of the motion please signify by saying Aye. Those opposed No. The Aye's have it, the motion is adopted. Members, it appears that concludes our business. Is there any further business before the committee? If not, we stand adjourned.