Raleigh, N.C. – A proposed state constitutional amendment establishing a Bipartisan State Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement passed the North Carolina House of Representatives on Tuesday.
House Bill 913 Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement is modeled after the Federal Elections Commission to permanently remove partisanship from the oversight of elections, ethics and lobbying law in North Carolina. If passed by the state General Assembly, it would go before voters for approval in the November 2018 election.
Both majority and minority leaders of the state House and Senate would recommend appointments to the independent board, which could not consist of a majority of members from any one party, under the proposal.
“This board would be extremely insulated from political interference in its day-to-day affairs, as the Governor has attempted to do recently,” said Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), chairman of the House Elections Committee.
Unaffiliated citizens would also be eligible for any position on the board. Control of the General Assembly would not directly influence the ultimate balance of the board.
“Elections and ethics are too important to be subject to partisan interference, and this board is protected in the strongest possible language,” Lewis continued. “It would enshrine a fair board with a appointments divided between the majority and minority leaders of the two chambers.”
The proposal also prohibits state legislators from serving on boards and commissions and clarifies that the governor may not alter the powers and responsibilities of boards and commissions as established by the General Assembly.
The bipartisan board would be the public watchdog for campaign finance and lobbying investigations to strengthen public confidence in the administration of ethics and elections laws in North Carolina.
“Public confidence in the administration of our state’s ethics, elections, and lobbying laws is paramount,” said state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland). “This amendment preserves a bipartisan approach, an independent board, and impartial oversight of campaign finance, state ethics and lobbying laws.”