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REALTORS URGED TO USE CAUTION IN VOTING
TO CHANGE THE STATE CONSTITUTION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2004
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
CONTACT: JAN COPELAND
(919) 872-398
The Asheville Board of Realtors were told Wednesday at their annual meeting to proceed cautiously in considering whether to support proposed changes to the N.C. Constitution. Retired N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr, the new Executive Director of the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, urged the audience to pay close attention to Amendment 1 on the November election ballot. That proposed amendment would grant N.C. local governments authority to issue bonds to pay for public improvements associated with private development projects. Similar proposed constitutional amendments were previously rejected twice by the voters.

“The Constitution of N.C. is a limitation of the powers of the General Assembly” Orr said, “and this amendment removes a part of those limits.” Amendment 1 would allow local governments to issue bonds thus incurring debt, without a referendum by the voters which is now required under the N.C. Constitution. “Since 1868, our Constitution has given the voters the final approval of deciding whether debts for projects such as the ones proposed should be incurred. If the amendment passes, then elected officials will be able to issue bonds benefiting private development projects, without seeking the approval of the voters in the affected area.” Orr said.

Orr noted that it was not the NCICL’s role to advocate for or against the Amendment, but instead to generate awareness about the question and the impact of amending the state constitution. “It concerns me”, Orr noted, “that neither the proposed Amendment nor the abbreviated summary of it on the November ballot, clearly states that the current constitutional requirement of a vote by the people will be changed. Our concern is that the potential change will not be clearly understood by the voters.”



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