Neighbors on Call's Weekly Policy Update for 6/21/21


Governance

Fair Representation


Voting Rights

  • A bill to remove literacy testing as a prerequisite for voting from the NC Constitution has bipartisan support in the NC House and from both liberal and conservative advocacy groups in the state. While the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned literacy testing, effectively making the North Carolina law unenforceable, several past attempts to remove the requirement from the NC Constitution were unsuccessful. Supporters of the current legislation say that while the provision can’t be enforced, removing it would have symbolic importance. HB 337 passed the House Committee on State Government. If it is approved by both the full House and by the Senate, it would be a ballot initiative in 2022.

  • On Wednesday, three bills that will impact voting and elections law passed the NC Senate without any support from Democrats. Under SB 326 all mail-in ballots must be received by Election Day to be counted. The law currently allows a 3-day grace period. SB 725 would prevent local governments, including election boards, from receiving outside grants - including those from charitable organizations – to help defray the cost of elections. In 2020 nonprofit organizations helped to pay for things like single-use pens, PPE equipment, and direct mailers with information about absentee and in-person voting options. Republicans claim SB 724 (titled “Expand Access to Voter ID and Voting”) would facilitate online voter registration and getting identification cards if a currently blocked voter ID law is allowed by state and federal courts to be enforced. Voting rights advocates oppose the law because implementation would be both difficult and underfunded, effectively disenfranchising many potential voters. All three bills will now go to the NC House for consideration.

Economic and Housing Policy


Environmental Policy



Gun Violence Prevention

  • Gov. Cooper vetoed SB 43, a bill that would allow concealed-carry permit holders to carry guns in churches that meet on school property as long as the school was not in session. In his veto message, Governor Cooper said, “For the safety of students and teachers, North Carolina should keep guns off school grounds,”


Women’s Rights and LGBTQ Rights



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