by David N. Bass
Contributor, Carolina Journal
The Senate gave final approval to the marriage amendment in a party line 30-16 vote this afternoon (as Daren has already mentioned below). Following the House vote yesterday, that means the amendment will appear on the ballot in the May primary next year.
Three Democrats — Sens. Eric Mansfield of Cumberland County, Michael Walters of Robeson County, and Stan White of Dare County — had excused absences. On the Republican side, Sen. Fletcher Hartsell of Cabarrus County also had an excused absence.
The amendment garnered bipartisan support on the House side — 10 Democrats — in a 75-42 vote.
In related news, it appears less likely that the legislature will take up a proposed amendment term limiting top leaders in the General Assembly. Earlier this year, the House OK’ed an iteration of the amendment that restricted leaders to no more than two consecutive terms in power.
But rather than vote on that bill, the Senate took another constitutional amendment the House had passed (this one dealing with governance of the state Department of Public Instruction), gutted it, and replaced it with new term-limits language. The revised bill limited leaders to four terms in office rather than two.
Earlier this afternoon, the House voted to reject concurring with the Senate bill and appointed a conference committee to work out differences. Rumor was that a compromise would be three terms. But as Under the Dome reports, it looks less likely that negotiators will come up with anything during the special session.
One aspect of this week’s session I find curious is that the aforementioned DPI governance amendment was named as one of the proposed amendments that would be debated during the session. Considering the Senate gutted the version already passed by the House, however, that looks less likely as well.
In summary, as early as last week we thought that three amendments would be passed: marriage, eminent domain, and term limits. Eminent domain was put off until the “short session” in May and DPI governance was added. In the end, though, it appears that the marriage amendment is the only one that will be passed.
We’ll know for sure tomorrow. The legislature is supposed to adjourn no later than mid-morning so that Democrats can attend President Obama’s speech in Raleigh.
Did you get all that?