A bill that would require the state’s attorney general to get approval from legislative leaders to settle lawsuits brought against the state received final approval in the NC House and is headed to Governor Cooper. SB 360 was drafted by Republicans, angered by last year’s settlement of a lawsuit that changed deadlines for mailed ballots, who asserted they should have had the chance to review, reject or agree to the new rules. Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham) disagreed, pointing out that the attorney general acted within the authority granted to him by the state constitution. Gov. Cooper has 10 days to sign, veto or allow the bill to become law without his signature.
In a 2-1 decision issued Friday, a panel of three NC Superior Court judges permanently enjoined North Carolina’s 2018 voter ID law, finding that it was passed with discriminatory intent and is therefore unconstitutional. The majority opinion cited analysis showing that “among active voters in the 2016 and 2018 election, African American voters were over twice as likely to lack qualifying ID than white voters. Therefore, the burden of obtaining qualifying ID, including free ID, would fall more heavily on Black voters, who more often lack a form of qualifying ID required under SB 824 and encounter more barriers to obtaining such IDs compared to white voters.” The decision is likely to be appealed. There are two other NC voter ID lawsuits still in litigation. The timeline of and updates of these cases can be found here.
A federal district court judge struck down an anti-union provision in the NC Farm Act of 2017, saying it violates various rights guaranteed by the US constitution and cannot be enforced. The provision had invalidated lawsuit settlements in which defendants and plaintiffs agree to recognize union representation of farmworkers as part of the settlement.. After reviewing the findings in a 2017 lawsuit precipitated by the statute, Federal District Court Judge Loretta Biggs issued a permanent injunction against the provision, part of SB 615, the 2017 omnibus bill signed into law by Governor Cooper.