The General Assembly plans to add constitutional amendments to the list of items that can be considered during their current session.
The session was established primarily to draw new congressional and legislative districts. In addition, lawmakers added a handful of other items that could be taken up during the session, which began on July 13. Those include considering the override of vetoes by Gov. Bev Perdue and election laws.
House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said that three proposed amendments to the N.C. Constitution that had already passed the House could be considered during the current session. Those three are bills limiting top legislative leadership to two terms, establishing protections against eminent domain abuse and reorganizing the State Board of Education.
Tillis said that the resolution would make it possible for other proposed constitutional amendments to come up this week, but not likely. “I don’t see how we can do it,” Tillis said.
Another amendment that has a lot of backing among the GOP majority is a proposal that would establish a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Tillis implied that as a practical matter, it would be difficult for a same-sex marriage ban constitutional amendment to come up this week. That’s because some legislators have commitments for later in the week or weekend and wouldn’t be available to vote on the House or Senate floor.
Constitutional amendments require a three-fifths vote of the members of both chambers in order to go to the voters for ratification. That means a proposed constitutional amendment must get 72 of the 120 members of the House and 30 members of the 50 senators.
The legislative GOP leadership has been saying since early June that they planned to return to Raleigh twice this year – once to take care of redistricting and once for a constitutional amendments session.
Tillis said it’s still likely that the General Assembly would return for the fall constitutional amendments session.