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By Rob Thompson

During the 2018 legislative session, lawmakers voted to put six constitutional amendments on the ballot in this election. While the issues addressed in these amendments range widely, many would have a significant impact on children and families in North Carolina if approved. NC Child has taken a position on three of these amendments. In considering our positions, we took into account both the specific policy changes in question, and the relative wisdom of enshrining such a policy in the state constitution.

(To see the exact language that will be on the ballot and to find links to the original legislation, follow this link.)

Income Tax Cap: Oppose

What it would do: This amendment would cap the state income tax rate at 7%.

Impact: During the 2018 legislative session, NC Child actively worked to block this amendment because of its corrosive impact on funding for investments in children’s health, education, and safety. Capping the income tax rate at 7% ties the hands of elected lawmakers to raise revenue to meet the needs of North Carolina’s children and families. NC Child remains strongly opposed to this amendment, and encourages our supporters to vote against it in November.

Photo ID to Vote: Oppose

What it would do: This amendment would require voters to show photo ID before voting in-person at the polls.

Impact: The right to vote is foundational to our democracy. Evidence from other states shows that this amendment would create an unnecessary obstacle to voting, and that it would disproportionately harm people of color. As a result, this amendment could deepen existing racial disparities in political power. The outcome could be even less representation for children of color, who already start life at a disadvantage due to the structural racism that pervades our society. NC Child opposes this amendment and encourages our supporters to vote against it in November.

Victims’ Rights: Oppose

What it would do: This amendment enshrines a host of rights for victims of crime in the state constitution.

Impact: Many of these rights are already in state law. The amendment would broaden the types of crimes that come under the purview of these protections, and extend these rights to victims of alleged juvenile delinquency. NC Child is concerned that the constant presence of victims in the courtroom could result in more pressure on the judicial system to pursue harsh punishments in juvenile cases. This could have the unintended consequence of undermining the current system’s focus on rehabilitation for young offenders. Additionally, this amendment will have a substantial administrative and fiscal impact on an under-resourced juvenile justice system. This additional burden is particularly troublesome given the impending implementation of the ‘Raise the Age’ law, which will transfer thousands of youth from standard courts into the juvenile justice system. NC Child opposes this amendment and encourages our supporters to vote against it in November.

Early voting is underway in North Carolina, and election day is Tuesday, November 6. Find your polling place or get more information from the NC State Board of Elections.

 

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