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Legislative Session

RALEIGH – Leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly last night called a surprise special session to introduce legislation that would make sweeping changes to the state’s Board of Elections, Court of Appeals, judicial elections, executive branch appointments and more. Lawmakers had earlier reconvened to allocate funding for victims of Hurricane Matthew and other natural disasters but gave no advance notice of the second special session and additional legislation.

“These shameful partisan tricks undermine the will of North Carolina voters, waste precious taxpayer dollars, and will further erode the public’s trust in our state government,” said Karen Anderson, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “As we saw earlier this year with the surprise introduction and passage of the discriminatory, anti-LGBT House Bill 2, extreme legislation that is forced through without proper vetting and debate can have disastrous consequences for North Carolina. Such significant changes to our state’s elections and judicial systems should never be planned in secret and sprung on the public without advance notice. It’s particularly disgraceful that lawmakers have exploited the victims of Hurricane Matthew for partisan gain. These latest proposals could undercut the civil liberties of all North Carolinians.”

Earlier this year, North Carolina lawmakers convened a $42,000 one-day special session to introduce and pass House Bill 2, one of the nation’s most extreme laws targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people for discrimination, which prohibits local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people and bans many transgender people from public restrooms and other facilities that match their gender. The measure was introduced, passed, and signed into law in 12 hours. HB2 is being challenged in court by LGBT North Carolinians represented by the ACLU and Lambda Legal and has cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business.

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RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) today released its 2013 legislative report card, which rates members of the North Carolina General Assembly based on their votes on various pieces of legislation the ACLU-NC supported or opposed in the most recent session.

This year’s report card rates legislators based on how they voted on legislation in five issue areas: voting rights, reproductive rights, racial justice, privacy rights, and religious liberty. While the ACLU-NC supported several bills this year that would have improved protections of or expanded civil liberties, many with bipartisan support, none of the bills were given a final vote in the House and Senate. As a result, the report card rates legislators exclusively on how they voted on legislation the ACLU-NC opposed.

In the House, 15 members, or 12.5% of the body, had a 100% voting record in line with ACLU-NC positions, while 57 House members, or 47.5% of the body, had a 0% voting record.

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RALEIGH – After the North Carolina House of Representatives today passed H.B. 589, a bill that would make it harder for potentially hundreds of thousands of eligible North Carolina voters to cast a ballot by requiring a photo ID to vote, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) released the following statement: 

“We all agree that it’s important to protect the integrity of our voting system, but putting up barriers that will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of eligible North Carolinians to vote is not the answer,” said ACLU-NC Policy Director Sarah Preston. “We urge the Senate to reject this proposal and instead take steps to ensure that all eligible voters in our state are able to exercise their fundamental right to vote without having to face any additional obstacles.” 

According to a recent Survey USA poll, 91 percent of voters say voting should be “free, fair, and accessible” to all North Carolina citizens. The same poll found strong majority support for allowing voters to sign a sworn statement affirming their identity rather than having to show a photo ID.  

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