Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Amended Primary Legislation Passes North Carolina House

After clearing a committee hurdle late last week, SB 655, made it onto the calendar of the North Carolina House.

When considered on the floor of the chamber this morning, the bill was amended with just one dissenting vote and subsequently passed by a 71-46 margin largely along party lines (with Republicans in favor of the amended bill). That is a far different picture than the contrasting unanimous vote on the original legislation in late April.

But the amendment was not driving the difference across chambers. The change added by the state House was a relatively noncontroversial tweak to the date on which the proposed law would take effect. Rather than launching upon the signature of the governor, the law in the amended bill would not kick in until January 2019. The practical effect of the move is to exempt the 2018 primary elections, keeping that consolidated primary election during the midterms next year in May.

While the focus at FHQ is often on the presidential primaries, this proposal in North Carolina has from the start sought to move the entire set of nominating contests from May to March while adding clarity to the language regarding the timing of the presidential primary.

The bill with the new "effective by" date will now head back to the state Senate for consideration.

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