North Carolina. Secretary of State.

North Carolina manual [serial] (Volume 1971) online

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Courts and Magistrates.

(5) Waiver. The General Assembly may by general law pro-
vide that the jurisdictional limits may be waived in civil cases.

(6) Appeals. The General Assembly shall by general law pro-
vide a proper system of appeals. Appeals from Magistrates shall
be heard de novo, with the right of trial by jury as defined in this
Constitution and the laws of this State.

Sec. 13. Forms of actioiL; rules of procedure.

(1) Forms of Action. There shall be in this State but one form
of action for the enforcement or protection of private rights or
the redress of private wrongs, which shall be denominated a civil
action, and in which there shall be a right to have issues of fact
tried before a jury. Every action prosecuted by the people of the
State as a party against a person charged with a public offense, for
the punishment thereof, shall be termed a criminal action.

(2) Rules of procedure. The Supreme Court shall have exclusive
authority to make rules of procedure and practice for the Appellate
Division. The General Assembly may make rules of procedure and



68 North ('arolina Manual

practice for the Superior Court and District Court Divisions, and
the General Assembly may dele^-ate this authority to the Supreme
Court. No rule of procedure or practice shall abridge substantive
rights or abrogate or limit the right of trial by jury. If the Gen-
eral Assembly should delegate to the Supreme Court the rule-
making power, the General Assembly may, nevertheless, alter,
amend, or repeal any rule of procedure or practice adopted by the
Supreme Court for the Superior Court or District Court Divisions.

Sec. 14. Waive}' of junj tyial. In all issues of fact joined in any
court, the parties in any civil case may waive the right to have the
issues determined by a jury, in which case the finding of the judge
upon the facts shall have the force and effect of a verdict by a jury.

Sec. 15. Ad)ni)ustratio)i. The General Assembly shall provide for
an administrative office of the courts to carry out the provisions of
this Article.

Sec. 16. Terms of office and election of Justices of the Supretne
Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, and Judges of the Superior
Court. Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Ap-
peals, and regular Judges of the Superior Court shall be elected by
the qualified voters and shall hold office for terms of eight years
and until their successors are elected and qualified. Justices of the
Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals shall be elected
by the qualified voters of the State. Regular Judges of the Su-
perior Court may be elected by the qualified voters of the State or
by the voters of their respective districts, as the General Assembly
may prescribe.

Sec. 17. Removal of judicial officers.

(1) Justices of Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals,
and Judges of Superior Court. Any Justice of the Supreme Court,
Judge of the Court of Appeals, or Judge of the Superior Court may
be removed from office for mental or physical incapacity by
joint resolution of two-thirds of all the members of each house of
the General Assembly. Any Justice or Judge against whom the
General Assembly may be about to proceed shall receive notice
thereof, accompanied by a copy of the causes alleged for his re-
moval, at least twenty days before the day on which either house



Constitution 69

of the General Assembly shall act thereon. Removal from office for
any other cause shall be by impeachment.

(2) District Judges and Magistrates. The General Assembly
shall provide by general law for the removal of District Judges and
Magistrates for misconduct or mental or physical incapacity.

(3) Clerks. Any Clerk of the Superior Court may be removed
from office for misconduct or mental or physical incapacity by the
senior regular resident Superior Court Judge serving the county.
Any Clerk against whom proceedings are instituted shall receive
written notice of the charges against him at least ten days before
the hearing upon the chargesi Any Clerk so removed from office
shall be entitled to an appeal as provided by law.

Sec. 18. Solicitors and solicitorial districts.

(1) Solicitors. The General Assembly shall, from time to time,
divide the State into a convenient number of solicitorial districts,
for each of which a Solicitor shall be chosen for a term of four
years by the qualified voters thereof, at the same time and places as
members of the General Assembly are elected. The Solicitor shall
advise the officers of justice in his district, be responsible for the
prosecution on behalf of the State of all criminal actions in the
Superior Courts of his district, perform such duties related to ap-
peals therefrom as the Attorney General may require, and per-
form such other duties as the General Assembly may pi-escribe.

(2) Prosecution in District Court Division. Criminal actions in
the District Court Division shall be prosecuted in such manner
as the General Assembly may prescribe by general law uniformly
applicable in every local court district of the State.

Sec. 19. Vacancies. Unless otherwise provided in this Article, all
vacancies occurring in the offices provided for by this Article shall
be filled by appointment of the Governor, and the appointees shall
hold their places until the next election for members of the General
Assembly that is held more than 30 days after the vacancy occurs,
when elections shall be held to fill the offices. When the unexpired
term of any of the offices named in this Article of the Constitution
in which a vacancy has occurred, and in which it is herein provided
that the Governor shall fill the vacancy, expires on the first day of
January succeeding the next election for members of the General



70 North Carolina Manual

Assembly, the Governor shall appoint to fill that vacancy for the
unexpired term of the office. If any person elected or appointed to
any of these offices shall fail to qualify, the office shall be appointed
to, held, and filled as provided in case of vacancies occurring there-
in. All incumbents of these offices shall hold until their successors
are qualified.

Sec. 20. Revoiues unci expe)ise^ of the judicial department. The
General Assembly shall provide for the establishment of a schedule
of court fees and costs which shall be uniform throuprhout the State
within each division of the General Court of Justice. The operat-
ing expenses of the judicial department, other than compensation to
process servers and other locally paid non-judicial officers, shall be
paid from State funds.

Sec. 21. Fees, salaries, and emoluments. The General Assembly
shall prescribe and regulate the fees, salaries, and emoluments of
all officers provided for in this Article, but the salaries of Judges
shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. In no
case shall the compensation of any Judge or Magistrate be depend-
ent upon his decision or upon the collection of costs.

ARTICLE V

FINANCE

Section 1. Capitation tax.

(1) Capitation tax limited. The General Assembly may levy a
capitation tax on every male inhabitant of the State over 21 and
under 50 years of age, not in excess of two dollars, and cities and
towns may levy a capitation tax on persons subject to the State tax
not in excess of one dollar. No other capitation tax shall be levied.
The governing boards of the several counties and of the cities and
towns may exempt from the capitation tax any special cases on
account of poverty or infirmity.

(2) Proceeds. The proceeds of the State and county capitation
tax shall be applied to the purposes of education and the support
of the poor, but in no fiscal year shall more than 25 per cent thereof
be appropriated to the latter purpose.

Sec. 2. State and local taxation.



Constitution 71

(1) Power of taxation. The power of taxation shall be exercised
in a just and equitable manner, for public purposes only, and shall
never be surrendered, suspended, or contracted away.

(2) Classification. Only the General Assembly shall have the
power to classify property for taxation, which power shall be ex-
ercised only on a State-wide basis. No class shall be taxed except
by a uniform rule, and every classification shall be made by general
law uniformly applicable in every county, city and town, and other
local taxing unit of the State. The General Assembly's power to
classify property shall not be delegated.

(3) Exemptions. Property belonging to the State, counties, and
municipal corporations shall be exempt from taxation. The Gen-
eral Assembly may exempt cemeteries and property held for edu-
cational, scientific, literary, cultural, charitable, or religious pur-
poses, and, to a value not exceeding $300, any personal property.
The General Assembly may exempt from taxation not exceeding
$1,000 in value of property held and used as the place of residence
of the owner. Every exemption shall be on a State-wide basis and
shall be made by general law uniformly applicable in every county,
city and town, and other local taxing unit of the State. No taxing
authority other than the General Assembly may grant exemptions,
and the General Assembly shall not delegate the powers accorded
to it by this subsection.

(4) Twenty-cent limitation. The total of the State and county
tax on property shall not exceed 20 cents on the $100 value of
property, except when the property tax is levied for a special pur-
pose and with the special approval of the General Assembly, which
may be done by special or general act. This limitation shall not
apply to taxes levied for the maintenance of the public schools of
the State. The State tax shall not exceed five cents on the $100
value of property.

(5) Necessary expense limitation. No tax shall be levied or col-
lected by the officers of any county, city or town, or other unit of
local government, except for the necessary expenses thereof, unless
approved by a majority of the qualified voters who vote thereon in
any election held for the purpose.

(6) Income tax. The rate of tax on incomes shall not in any case



'72 North Carolina Manual

exceed ten per cent, and there shall be allowed personal exemptions
and deductions so that only net incomes are taxed.

Sec. 3. Liiiiitatio)!!^ upon the iucreune of State debt.

(1) Authorized purposes; two-thirds liiititatiou. The General As-
sembly may contract debts and pledg'e the faith and credit of the
State for the followinji' purposes:

To fund or refund a valid existing debt;

To borrow in anticipation of the collection of taxes due and pay-
able within the fiscal year to an amount not exceeding 50 percent
of such taxes;

To supply a casual deficit;

To suppress riots or insurrections, or to repel invasions.

For any purpose other than these enumerated, the General As-
sembly shall have no power, during any biennium, to contract new
debts on behalf of the State to an amount in excess of two-thirds
of the amount by which the State's outstanding indebtedness shall
have been reduced during the next preceding biennium, unless the
subject is submitted to a vote of the people of the State. In any
election held in the State under the provisions of this Section, the
proposed indebtedness shall be approved by a majority of the
qualified voters who vote thereon.

(2) Gift or loan of credit prohibited. The General Assembly
shall have no power to give or lend the credit of the State in aid of
any person, association, or corporation, except a corporation in
which the State has a controlling interest, unless the subject is
submitted to a direct vote of the people of the State and is approved
by a majority of the qualified voters who vote thereon.

(3) Certain debts barred. The General Assembly shall never
assume or pay any debt or obligation, express or implied, incurred
in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States.
Neither shall the General Assembly assume or pay any debt or
bond incurred or issued by authority of the Convention of 1868,
the special session of the General Assembly of 1868, or the General
Assemblies of 1868-69 or 1869-70, unless the subject is submitted
to the people of the State and is approved by a majority of all the
qualified voters at a referendum held for that sole purpose.



Constitution 73

Sec. 4. Limitations upon the increase of local debt.

(1) Authorized; purposes; two-thirds limitation. The General
Assembly may authorize counties, cities and towns, and other units
of local government to contract debts and pledge their faith and
credit for the following purposes:

To fund or refund a valid existing debt;

To borrow in anticipation of the collection of taxes due and pay-
able within the fiscal year to an amount not exceeding 50 per cent
of such taxes;

To supply a casual deficit;

To suppress riots or insurrections.

For any purpose other than these enumerated, the General As-
sembly shall have no power to authorize counties, cities and towns,
and other units of local government to contract debts, and counties,
cities and towns, and other units of local government shall not con-
tract debts, during any fiscal year, to an amount exceeding two-
thirds of the amount by which the outstanding indebtedness of the
particular county, city or town, or other unit of local government
shall have been reduced during the next preceding fiscal year, un-
less the subject is submitted to a vote of the people of the particular
county, city or town, or other unit of local government and is ap-
proved by a majority of the qualified voters who vote thereon.

(2) Necessary expense limitation. No county, city or town, or
other unit of local government shall contract any debt, pledge its
faith, or lend its credit except for the necessary expenses thereof,
unless approved by a majority of the qualified voters who shall
vote thereon in any election held for that purpose.

(3) Certain debts barred. No county, city or town, or other unit
of local government shall assume or pay, nor shall any tax be levied
or collected for the payment of, any debt, or the interest upon any
debt, contracted directly or indirectly in aid or support of rebellion.

Sec. 5. Acts levying taxes to state objects. Every act of the
General Assembly levying a tax shall state the special object to
which it is to be applied, and it shall be applied to no other purpose.

Sec. 6. Inviolability of sinking funds and retirement funds.
(1) Sinking funds. The General Assembly shall not use or au-



74 North Carolina Manual

thorize to be used any part of the amount of any sinking: fund for
any purpose other tiian tlie retirement of the bonds for which the
sinking fund luis been created.

(2) Retire))ieiit faixlN. Neither the General Assembly nor any
l)ublic officer, employee, or agency shall use or authorize to be used
any part of the funds of the Teachers' and State Employees' Re-
tirement System for any purpose other than retirement system
benefits and i)urposes, administrative expenses, and refunds; except
that retirement system funds may be invested as authorized by
law, subject to the investment limitation that che funds of the
Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System shall not be
applied, diverted, loaned to, or used by the State, any State agency,
State officer, public officer, or public employee.

Sec. 7. Dyaiviiig public )noneij.

(1) State treaHHrt). No money shall be drawn from the State
treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law, and an
accurate account of the i-eceipts and expenditures of State funds
shall be annually published.

(2) Local gover)inieiit treasuries. No money shall be drawn
from the treasury of any county, city or town, or other unit of local
government except by authority of law.

ARTICLE VI

SUFFRAGE AND ELIGIBILITY TO OFFICE

Section 1. Who may vote. Every person born in the United
States and every person who has been naturalized, 21 years of age,
and possessing the qualifications set out in this Article, shall be
entitled to vote at any election by the people of the State, except as
herein otherwise provided.

Sec. 2. Qualifications of voter.

(1) Residence period for State elections. Any person who has
resided in the State of North Carolina for one year and in the pre-
cinct, ward, or other election district for 30 days next preceding an
election, and possesses the other qualifications set out in this
Article, shall be entitled to vote at any election held in this State.
Removal from one precinct, ward, or other election district to



Constitution 75

another in this State shall not operate to deprive any person of the
right to vote in the precinct, ward, or other election district from
which that person has removed until 30 days after the removal.

(2) Residence period for presidential elections. The General As-
sembly may reduce the time of residence for persons voting in pres-
idential elections. A person made eligible by reason of a reduction
in time of residence shall possess the other qualifications set out in
this Article, shall only be entitled to vote for President and Vice
President of the United States or for electors for President and
Vice President, and shall not thereby become eligible to hold office
in this State.

(3) Disqualification of felon. No person adjudged guilty of a
felony against this State or the United States, or adjudged guilty of
a felony in another state that also would be a felony if it had been
committed in this State, shall be permitted to vote unless that per-
son shall be first restored to the rights of citizenship in the man-
ner prescribed by law.

Sec. 3. Registration. Every person off"ering to vote shall be at
the time legally registered as a voter as herein prescribed and in the
manner provided by law. The General Assembly shall enact general
laws governing the registration of voters.

Sec. 4. Qualification for registration. Every person presenting
himself for registration shall be able to read and write any section
of the Constitution in the English language.

Sec. 5. Elections by people and General Assembly. All elections
by the people shall be by ballot, and all elections by the General
Assembly shall be viva voce. A contested election for any office
established by Article III of this constitution shall be determined
by joint ballot of both houses of the General Assembly in the man-
ner prescribed by law.

Sec. 6. Eligibility to elective office. Every qualified voter in
North Carolina, except as in this Constitution disqualified, shall be
eligible for election by the people to office.

Sec. 7. Oath. Before entering upon the duties of an officer, a
person elected or appointed to the office shall take and subscribe the
following oath :



76 North Carolina Manual

"I, , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I

will support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United
States, and the Constitution and laws of North Carolina not in-
consistent therewith, and that 1 will faithfully discharg'e the duties
of my office as , so help me God."

Sec. 8. Disqualific((fioiis for office. The following persons shall
be disqualified for office:

First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

Second, with respect to any office that is filled by election by the
people, any person who is not qualified to vote in an election for
that office.

Third, any person who has been adjudged guilty of treason or
any other felony against this State or the United States, or any
person who has been adjudged guilty of a felony in another state
that also would be a felony if it had been committed in this State,
or any person who has been adjudged guilty of corruption or mal-
practice in any office, or any person who has been removed by im-
peachment from any office, and who has not been restored to the
rights of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law.

Sec. 9. Dual office hokling.

(1) Prohibitions. It is salutary that the responsibilities of self-
government be widely shared among the citizens of the State and
that the potential abuse of authority inherent in the holding of
multiple offices by an individual be avoided. Therefore, no person
who holds any olfice or place of trust or profit under the United
States or any department thereof, or under any other state or gov-
ernment, shall be eligible to hold any office in this State that is
filled by election by the people. No person shall hold concurrently
any two offices in this State that are filled by election of the peopl'^.
No person shall hold concurrently any two or more appointive
offices or places of trust or profit, or any combination of elective and
appointive offices or places of trust or profit, except as the General
Assembly shall provide by general law.

(2) Exceptions. The provisions of this Section shall not prohibit
any officer of the military forces of the State or of the Uniteu
States not on active duty for an extensive period of time, any notary
public, or any delegate to a Convention of the People from holding



Constitution 77

concurrently another office or place of trust or profit under this
State or the United States or any department thereof.

Sec. 10. Continuation in office. In the absence of any contrary
provision, all officers in this State, whether appointed or elected,
shall hold their positions until other appointments are made or, if
the offices are elective, until their successors are chosen and qualified.

ARTICLE VII

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Section 1. General Assembly to provide for local government.
The General Assembly shall provide for the organization and gov-
ernment and the fixing of boundaries of counties, cities and towns,
and other governmental subdivisions, and, except as otherwise pro-
hibited by this Constitution, may give such powers and duties to
counties, cities and towns, and other governmental subdivisions as
it may deem advisable.

Sec. 2. Sheriffs. In each county a Sheriff shall be elected by the
qualified voters thereof at the same time and places as members
of the General Assembly are elected and shall hold his office for a
period of four years, subject to removal for cause as provided by
law.

Sec. 3. Merged or consolidated counties. Any unit of local gov-
ernment formed by the merger or consolidation of a county or
counties and the cities and towns therein shall be deemed both a
county and a city for the purposes of this Constitution, and may
exercise any authority conferred by law on counties, or on cities
and towns, or both, as the General Assembly may provide.

ARTICLE VIII

CORPORATIONS

Section 1. Corporate charters. No corporation shall be created,
nor shall its charter be extended, altered, or amended by special act,
except corporations for charitable, educational, penal, or reforma-
tory purposes that are to be and remain under the patronage and



78 North Carolina Manual

control of the State; but the (Jeneral Assembly shall provide by
general laws for the charterinji-, organization, and powers of all
corporations, and for the amend iiiti', extendinji:, and forfeiture of all
charters, except those above permitted by special act. All such
{general acts may be altered from time to time or repealed. The
General Assembly may at any time by special act repeal the charter
of any corporation.

Sec. 2. Corporatioiif^ defined. The term "corporation" as used in
this Section shall be construed to include all associations and joint-
stock companies having any of the powers and privileges of cor-
porations not possessed by individuals or partnerships. All corpora-
tions shall have the right to sue and shall be subject to be sued in
all courts, in like cases as natural persons.

ARTICLE IX

EDUCATION

Section 1. Education encouraged. Religion, morality, and know-
ledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of
mankind, schools, libraries, and the means of education shall for-
ever be encouraged.

Sec. 2. Unifornn system of schools.

(1) General and unifor)n system; term. The General Assembly
shall provide by taxation and otherwise for a general and uniform
system of free public schools, which shall be maintained at least
nine months in every year, and wherein equal opportunities shall
be provided for all students.

(2) Local responsibility. The General Assembly may assign to
units of local government such responsibility for the financial sup-
port of the free public schools as it may deem appropriate. The
governing boards of units of local government with financial re-
sponsibility for public education may use local revenues to add to
or supplement any public school or post-secondary school program.

Sec. 3. School attendance. The General Assembly shall provide



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