Watauga County Votes to Support Victims’ Rights
The Watauga County Commission voted unanimously this month in favor of a resolution to support Marsy’s Law in North Carolina – a law that will strengthen language in the state constitution giving crime victims an equal level of protection already given to the accused and convicted.
The legislation is part of a two-step process to strengthen rights for North Carolina’s victims of crime – first by passing both chambers of the General Assembly by a ⅗ margin followed by a statewide vote. It recently passed the state House with overwhelming bipartisan support and is now awaiting a vote in the Senate.
Watauga County, located in Western NC, is the second county in the state to pass a resolution in support of Marsy’s Law and one of more than a dozen local governments including cities and towns speaking up in support of this important law on behalf of North Carolina victims.
More than eight in ten North Carolinians from across the political spectrum support amending the constitution to give victims stronger rights according to a recent survey of North Carolina voters. Nearly nine out of ten voters believe that crime victims should be guaranteed notification of a criminal’s bail, parole, release or escape and that victims, if they choose, have the constitutional right to speak at the bail or sentencing hearing.
Marsy’s Law for NC kicked off a campaign in April during National Crime Victims’ Week to begin the constitutional amendment process. The victims’ rights legislation has North Carolina-specific language that will focus on felonies and violent misdemeanors.