I think if we had two cable companies operating in Greenville we might see improved customer service. But what can you...

Vote down legislature's power-grabbing amendments

North Carolina Ballot Battle

Former North Carolina living ex-governors, from left, Jim Hunt, Mike Easley, Jim Martin, Bev Perdue and Pat McCrory, headline an Aug. 13 news conference opposing proposed amendments to the North Carolina constitution.


Friday, August 31, 2018

The General Assembly really wants to amend the state constitution. Legislators really want to get their words on the ballot, so you can ratify them in November and allow those words to permit lawmakers to take more control of your lives. And that, in simple words, is what all this wrangling about wording in Raleigh has been about this past month.

Catch your breath and get ready for another riff: In June, on the last day of the General Assembly’s short session, lawmakers passed, without input from any delegate who isn’t designated with an “R,” those six amendments they want you to consider, giving legislators control of appointments for the judiciary and for commissions that the governor now has; enacting a photo ID framework for voters; lowering the cap of the state income tax rate; protecting the rights of crime victims and a reinforcement of your right to hunt and fish.

But in late July legislators realized that the three-person commission responsible for writing the language you would see on the ballot was controlled by two elected Democrats. So they did what they typically do: called a special session, changed that law and wrote descriptions themselves. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed that change, forcing another special session to override his veto.

Cooper and two other groups then successfully sued to remove the two amendments that took away the governor’s powers. So, rather than appeal that ruling to the state Supreme Court, the legislature was back Friday and Monday to write new amendments and apparently bypass the court ruling by making substantive changes to that wording, including restoring some control to Cooper.

We say “apparently” because there have been three special sessions and two court hearings in less than 60 days. Never mind that all five living former governors and six former chief justices think these amendments are bad ideas. Never mind that state Republican Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse actually suggested any justices who ruled against legislators perhaps should be impeached. That was the tactic in West Virginia, of all role models.

OK, sing this chorus with us: This is ridiculous to the sublime because none of these amendments rises to the level of constitutional protection and are only being used to verify future political power. None should be on your ballot, no matter how they are described, and they form an insultingly bad idea regardless of which party is in charge. They represent a power grab in four cases and bad government in five of them. That hunting and fishing amendment is a tip to the NRA. It has no other purpose.

Mail ballots are legally required to be in the sent by Sept. 7, and this thrust-and-parry has gone right to the hilt against the clock. At some point time will determine outcome over logic and principle.

So — and here is that word again — apparently you will have to make the value judgment to reject them. You will have to take the time to school yourself and your friends about what you actually are reading. These “ballot captions” are badly written in the extreme.

And you should vote against these six amendments and then perhaps vote against some of the people who are trying to manipulate you to pass them. The grab for power here is not in the best interest of anyone in North Carolina, no matter your party.

Greensboro News & Record


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


September 20, 2018

Earlier this summer, Robert Runcie, the superintendent of schools in Broward County, Florida, sent a back-to-school message to the "families and community" of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

His missive mentioned nothing about teachers or books or curriculum. Instead it went on for four pages…

Florida School Shooting 911 Calls-5

September 19, 2018

Hurricane Florence has lingered over North Carolina. The storm’s initial rain, high winds and storm surge-flooding has been followed by even more rain, swollen creeks and rivers along with impassable roads from interstates to neighborhood drives.

Cities like Wilmington — not merely…

Tropical Weather North Carolina-4

September 18, 2018

"The youth use of e-cigs is rising very sharply," Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday, as he issued the federal government's most forceful warning yet that these electronic nicotine-delivery devices are hooking a generation of teenagers. He promised that…

Flavored Vaping Sales Ban

September 17, 2018

America shouldn’t be in the coup business. Period.

It’s a relief, then, to learn that the Trump administration chose not to aid rebellious leaders in Venezuela seeking to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro. But it’s worrisome to think that President Trump and his advisers…

Venezuela Nicolas Maduro

September 14, 2018

Over the past few decades, there has been a proliferation of criminal statutes and regulations carrying criminal penalties at the federal level. As Congress debates criminal justice reform, mens rea reform should be on the table.

For years, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced and called for…

Trump Finance-3

September 13, 2018

It is tremendously sad and horrific to think about the forthcoming disaster and what it could bring to our communities and our neighbors to the south. We did nothing, really, other than live like we always have, to bring this on ourselves. Nevertheless, it is here.

Hurricane Florence, a major storm…


September 12, 2018

You can add the name Jordan McNair to the list of college, high school and middle school players who might have needlessly died for the love of football.

A simple, well-known procedure — immersing McNair, 19, in a tub of ice water — when he collapsed at an off-season University of…


September 11, 2018

By now, few might lift an eyebrow at President Trump’s crusade to delegitimize his own Justice Department and, specifically, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. It long ago became clear that Trump regards federal law enforcement — as he sees all of government — as a political…

Trump Sessions

September 08, 2018

Republican state lawmakers decided last week to investigate the Cooper administration’s slow response to Hurricane Matthew relief in some of the state’s hardest-hit areas. That could be a useful exercise, if our legislators use what they find to fix real problems, and they don’t…


September 07, 2018

When all of the state’s living former governors, including Pat McCrory, and all of the state’s former chief justices, including arch-conservative I. Beverly Lake Jr., come out against something unanimously, chances are it’s a bad idea.

Even the General Assembly had to notice…

North Carolina Ballot Battle
103 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»