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Constitution of North Carolina

ARTICLE II Legislative

Sec. 22. Action on bills.

(1) Bills subject to veto by Governor; override of veto. Except as provided by subsections (2) through (6) of this section, all bills shall be read three times in each house and shall be signed by the presiding officer of each house before being presented to the Governor. If the Governor approves, the Governor shall sign it and it shall become a law; but if not, the Governor shall return it with objections, together with a veto message stating the reasons for such objections, to that house in which it shall have originated, which shall enter the objections and veto message at large on its journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration three-fifths of the members of that house present and voting shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections and veto message, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered; and if approved by three-fifths of the members of that house present and voting, it shall become a law notwithstanding the objections of the Governor. In all such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively.

(2) Amendments to Constitution of North Carolina. Every bill proposing a new or revised Constitution or an amendment or amendments to this Constitution or calling a convention of the people of this State, and containing no other matter, shall be submitted to the qualified voters of this State after it shall have been read three times in each house and signed by the presiding officers of both houses.

(3) Amendments to Constitution of the United States. Every bill approving an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or applying for a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution of the United States, and containing no other matter, shall be read three times in each house before it becomes law, and shall be signed by the presiding officers of both houses.

(4) Joint resolutions. Every joint resolution shall be read three times in each house before it becomes effective and shall be signed by the presiding officers of both houses.

(5) Other exceptions. Every bill:

(a) In which the General Assembly makes an appointment or appointments to public office and which contains no other matter;

(b) Revising the senate districts and the apportionment of Senators among those districts and containing no other matter;

(c) Revising the representative districts and the apportionment of Representatives among those districts and containing no other matter; or

(d) Revising the districts for the election of members of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States and the apportionment of Representatives among those districts and containing no other matter,

shall be read three times in each house before it becomes law and shall be signed by the presiding officers of both houses.

(6) Local bills. Every bill that applies in fewer than 15 counties shall be read three times in each house before it becomes law and shall be signed by the presiding officers of both houses. The exemption from veto by the Governor provided in this subsection does not apply if the bill, at the time it is signed by the presiding officers:

(a) Would extend the application of a law signed by the presiding officers during that two year term of the General Assembly so that the law would apply in more than half the counties in the State, or

(b) Would enact a law identical in effect to another law or laws signed by the presiding officers during that two year term of the General Assembly that the result of those laws taken together would be a law applying in more than half the counties in the State.

Notwithstanding any other language in this subsection, the exemption from veto provided by this subsection does not apply to any bill to enact a general law classified by population or other criteria, or to any bill that contains an appropriation from the State treasury.

(7) Time for action by Governor; reconvening of session. If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within 10 days after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly shall have adjourned:

(a) For more than 30 days jointly as provided under Section 20 of Article II of this Constitution; or

(b) Sine die

in which case it shall become a law unless, within 30 days after such adjournment, it is returned by the Governor with objections and veto message to that house in which it shall have originated. When the General Assembly has adjourned sine die or for more than 30 days jointly as provided under Section 20 of Article II of this Constitution, the Governor shall reconvene that session as provided by Section 5(11) of Article III of this Constitution for reconsideration of the bill, and if the Governor does not reconvene the session, the bill shall become law on the fortieth day after such adjournment. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, if the Governor prior to reconvening the session receives written requests dated no earlier than 30 days after such adjournment, signed by a majority of the members of each house that a reconvened session to reconsider vetoed legislation is unnecessary, the Governor shall not reconvene the session for that purpose and any legislation vetoed in accordance with this section after adjournment shall not become law.

(8) Return of bills after adjournment. For purposes of return of bills not approved by the Governor, each house shall designate an officer to receive returned bills during its adjournment.

(1995, c. 5, s. 1.)

History Note. - The provisions of this section are similar to those of Art. II, § 23, Const. 1868.

Editor's Note. - The amendments to this section by Session Laws 1995, c. 5, s. 1, were submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the general election held in November 1996, and approved by the voters at that election. Session Laws 1995, c. 5, s. 4, made this section effective January 1, 1997 upon certification; certification was made on November 26, 1996.

Legal Periodicals. - For article, "Ripening on the Vine: North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard Should Be Left Unchanged Ahead of 2012 Compliance Deadline," see 34 N.C. Cent. L. Rev. 111 (2012).

CASE NOTES

Editor's Note. - The cases cited below were decided under former Art. II, § 23, Const. 1868.

The judicial power cannot be exercised in aid of an unfinished and inoperative act, so left upon the final adjournment, any more than in obstructing legislative action. State ex rel. Scarborough v. Robinson, 81 N.C. 409 (1879).

Necessity for Signatures of Presiding Officers. - The signatures of the presiding officers, by the Constitution, must be affixed to an act of legislation during the session of the General Assembly, and such signatures are necessary to its completeness and efficacy. State ex rel. Scarborough v. Robinson, 81 N.C. 409 (1879).

Where an office was created by an act which was not signed by the presiding officers until three days later, an election in the interim to fill such office was void. State ex rel. Cook v. Meares, 116 N.C. 582, 21 S.E. 973 (1895).

Absent the signature, journals are not competent to prove compliance with this section. Frazier v. Board of Comm'rs, 194 N.C. 49, 138 S.E. 433 (1927).

Ratification Certificates Are Conclusive as to Compliance. - When an act is certified to by the speakers as having been ratified, it is conclusive of the fact that it was read three several times in each house and ratified. Union Bank v. Commissioners of Oxford, 119 N.C. 214, 25 S.E. 966 (1896).

The ratification certificates signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House are conclusive of the fact that the bill was read three times and was passed three times in each house of the General Assembly. State ex rel. Dyer v. City of Leaksville, 275 N.C. 41, 165 S.E.2d 201 (1969).

The signature is conclusive of passage according to this section. Frazier v. Board of Comm'rs, 194 N.C. 49, 138 S.E. 433 (1927).

Journals of the House and Senate are not competent to contradict the certificates of the presiding officers that a bill was duly read in each house three times and passed on each legislative reading. State ex rel. Dyer v. City of Leaksville, 275 N.C. 41, 165 S.E.2d 201 (1969).

The journals are not admissible to contradict such signature. Frazier v. Board of Comm'rs, 194 N.C. 49, 138 S.E. 433 (1927).

Proof of Compliance with N.C. Const., Art. II, § 23. - The usual certificate of ratification is conclusive only of the fact of ratification, but not of a compliance with N.C. Const., Art. II, § 23. Smathers v. Commissioners of Madison County, 125 N.C. 480, 34 S.E. 554 (1899); Commissioners of New Hanover County v. DeRosset, 129 N.C. 275, 40 S.E. 43 (1901).

The certificate is not sufficient to show that the bill was passed in compliance with N.C. Const., Art. II, § 23. Frazier v. Board of Comm'rs, 194 N.C. 49, 138 S.E. 433 (1927).

The additional steps necessary to show the passage of revenue acts are not within the conclusive presumption arising from the certificates of the presiding officers. The journals are made the exclusive sources of such proof. State ex rel. Dyer v. City of Leaksville, 275 N.C. 41, 165 S.E.2d 201 (1969).

With respect to the requirements in N.C. Const., Art. II, § 23, the House and Senate journals, and not the certificates of ratification signed by the presiding officers, are the sources of proof as to whether the bill was read on three several days in each house of the General Assembly and passed three several readings on three different days and that the yeas and nays on the second and third readings were entered on the journals. State ex rel. Dyer v. City of Leaksville, 275 N.C. 41, 165 S.E.2d 201 (1969).

Cited in Goldston v. State, 199 N.C. App. 618, 683 S.E.2d 237 (2009), review denied 363 N.C. 802, 690 S.E.2d 536 (2010).

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