Agenda: More debate on constitutional changes

January 26, 2013 

Some legislators are looking to make more changes to the state constitution.

Republicans championed a new amendment last year that bans same-sex marriage and civil unions. This session may bring more efforts to shape the constitution to match GOP tenets on labor, private property and taxes.

The legislative tide seems to be moving toward a “Right to Work” amendment that would prevent labor unions from requiring new employees to join. The state already has as “Right to Work” law, but legislators want to enshrine it in the constitution.

Earlier this month, when legislators convened to elect leaders, House Speaker Thom Tillis opened the House session by promising to keep North Carolina the least unionized state in the country.

The state’s legal ban on collective bargaining on the part of public employees may be a part of that amendment, said Dallas Woodhouse, state director for Americans for Prosperity, North Carolina.

Lawmakers may not stop there.

An amendment limiting the powers of governments to take property under eminent domain also may reappear, Woodhouse said.

A bill that limits the use of eminent domain to instances where the land is for public use passed the House two years ago but died in the Senate.

Woodhouse said legislators also may consider a constitutional amendment on taxes that would require a super-majority in the legislature to raise taxes or, if the legislature eliminates income taxes, to keep them from being resurrected.

Any amendments would have to be approved by voters.

Staff writer Lynn Bonner

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