- Associated Press - Thursday, June 28, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on the North Carolina General Assembly voting on proposed amendments to the state constitution (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

A proposed photo identification mandate to vote at the polls has received initial approval in the state Senate and is now just one vote away from being submitted to North Carolina voters in November.

The Senate voted 33-14 on Thursday for a referendum to amend the state constitution. A final vote is expected Friday, which is supposed to be the last day of this year’s work session. The House already approved the proposal earlier this week.

More than 30 states require some form of identification to vote, but only Mississippi and Missouri have constitutional provisions addressing photo ID. Arkansas will have a similar amendment on ballots this fall.



North Carolina legislators passed a photo ID requirement in a conventional law in 2013, but a federal appeals court struck down it and other elections provisions contained within.

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3:05 p.m.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly has agreed voters should decide whether North Carolina’s cap on the income tax in the state constitution should be lowered.

The House and Senate voted Thursday to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would lower the maximum individual or corporate rate that can be levied from 10 percent to 7 percent. The Senate had wanted to lower the cap to 5.5 percent, but House Republicans wouldn’t go along.

The current individual income tax rate is a hair under 5.5 percent and the corporate rate is at 3 percent. Republicans contend lowering the cap would instill fiscal discipline by restricting the scope of future tax rate increases. Democrats and allied groups are worried that the lower cap would make it harder for future legislators to close budget shortfalls.

Lawmakers this week have now agreed to submit five amendments to voters this fall.

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12:45 p.m.

North Carolina voters will decide this fall whether to change the way trial and appellate court vacancies are filled.

With a final House vote Thursday, the General Assembly agreed to submit to voters a proposed amendment to the North Carolina Constitution. It’s the fourth constitutional referendum added to the November ballot.

Currently the governor essentially chooses all judicial candidates and is not required to listen to recommendations. The proposed system would create nonpartisan “judicial merit” commissions to evaluate nominees for certain seats and send them to the General Assembly. The legislature would approve at least two of those nominees, from which the governor would choose one.

Republicans say the change promotes transparency, but Democrats who opposed it say it’s shifting power away from the governor to the General Assembly.

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12:55 a.m.

The North Carolina legislature is resuming efforts to give voters the chance to decide this fall whether in the future they should be required to show photo identification before casting a ballot.

A Senate committee scheduled a debate Thursday on a proposed change to the North Carolina Constitution requiring photo ID. The House already decided earlier this week it wants to put the referendum on statewide ballots in November.

Republicans in charge of the General Assembly already have agreed to three other constitutional amendments addressing hunting and fishing, crime victims’ rights and the composition of the state elections board. The House also could wrap up debate Thursday on a question about a new method for filling judicial vacancies.

Lawmakers want to adjourn their annual work session by Friday.

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