When the Republican Party takes control of the Governor’s Mansion in addition to both chambers of the legislature after inauguration this month, a fresh run at the previously attempted “Voter ID” law should no longer face the political roadblocks of past sessions.
In fact, according to Oak Island Republican Rep. Frank Iler, it will be the first thing on the menu for lawmakers when they reconvene on January 30.
“The new session will focus on the economy, regulatory reform and the ‘Voter ID’ bill, which will be item number one on the table,” the District 17 representative said. “Governor-elect Pat McCrory has already said he would sign it.”
Iler was a co-sponsor of House Bill 351, officially called “Restore Confidence in Government,” which passed both the Republican-controlled House and the Senate in 2011, but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Bev Purdue last June.
The law would require every person who wishes to vote in the state to present certain forms of identification to local election officials.
Iler said its passing would ensure that voters cast their ballots in the proper districts, as well as eliminate double voting by out-of-state property owners.
While lawmakers will gather in Raleigh next Wednesday, January 9, it will be solely to elect officers, adopt rules and otherwise organize the session.
Iler, a former 7th District party chairman, now chairs two House committees—Transportation and State Role in Immigration, as well as serving as vice-chair of an appropriations subcommittee on transportation.
“Transportation funds have a shrinking resource,” he said. “We need to figure out a way to properly tax hybrids and electric cars, which could be usage-based or mileage-based, while still keeping the incentivizing of new technology, which I am in favor of.”
Iler said he was also in favor of exploring the possibility of tolling highways, especially those frequented by commuters. Raleigh and Charlotte have either added or are in the process of adding toll highways. Interstate 540 in the Raleigh area became a toll road in August 2012 and the N.C. Department of Transportation plans to convert HOV lanes on I-77 in northern Mecklenburg County to toll lanes.
Locally, Iler said he would continue to fight for beach nourishment and other coastal issues that affect tourism, and would continue to vote in favor of film incentives, all of which could be big issues in the coming session. He recently attended a bipartisan meeting in Atlantic Beach of representatives from 18 counties impacted by coastal issues. He said he was looking forward to working with Gov. McCrory.
“We have a governor coming in who is focused on long-term strategic planning, with an economic vision for the next 25 years, long after he leaves office,” Iler said.