|Preamble||Article I||Article II||Article III||Article IV|
|Article V||Article VI||Article VII||Article VIII||Article IX|
|Article X||Article XI||Article XII||Article XIII||Article XIV|
Section 1. General Assembly to provide for local government.
The General Assembly shall provide for the organization and government and the fixing of boundaries of counties, cities and towns, and other governmental subdivisions, and, except as otherwise prohibited by this Constitution, may give such powers and duties to counties, cities and towns, and other governmental subdivisions as it may deem advisable.
The General Assembly shall not incorporate as a city or town, nor shall it
authorize to be incorporated as a city or town, any territory lying within one
mile of the corporate limits of any other city or town having a population of
5,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of population taken
by order of Congress, or lying within three miles of the corporate limits of any
other city or town having a population of 10,000 or more according to the most
recent decennial census of population taken by order of Congress, or lying
within four miles of the corporate limits of any other city or town having a
population of 25,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of
population taken by order of Congress, or lying within five miles of the
corporate limits of any other city or town having a population of 50,000 or more
according to the most recent decennial census of population taken by order of
Congress. Notwithstanding the foregoing limitations, the General Assembly may
incorporate a city or town by an act adopted by vote of three-fifths of all the
members of each house.
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 government 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.
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 reformatory purposes that are to be and remain under the patronage and
control of the State; but the General Assembly shall provide by general laws for
the chartering, organization, and powers of all corporations, and for the
amending, extending, 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. Corporations 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 corporations not possessed by individuals or partnerships. All
corporations shall have the right to sue and shall be subject to be sued in all
courts, in like cases as natural persons.
Section 1. Education encouraged.
Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the
happiness of mankind, schools, libraries, and the means of education shall
forever be encouraged.
Sec. 2. Uniform system of schools.
(1) General and uniform 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 support of the free public
schools as it may deem appropriate. The governing boards of units of local
government with financial responsibility for public education may use local
revenues to add to or supplement any public school or post-secondary school
Sec. 3. School attendance.
The General Assembly shall provide that every child of appropriate age and of
sufficient mental and physical ability shall attend the public schools, unless
educated by other means.
Sec. 4. State Board of Education.
(1) Board. The State Board of Education shall consist of the Lieutenant Governor, the Treasurer, and eleven members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly in joint session. The General Assembly shall divide the State into eight educational districts. Of the appointive members of the Board, one shall be appointed from each of the eight educational districts and three shall be appointed from the State at large. Appointments shall be for overlapping terms of eight years. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be made by the Governor for the unexpired terms and shall not be subject to confirmation.
(2) Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Superintendent of Public
Instruction shall be the secretary and chief administrative officer of the State
Board of Education.
Sec. 5. Powers and duties of Board.
The State Board of Education shall supervise and administer the free public
school system and the educational funds provided for its support, except the
funds mentioned in Section 7 of this Article, and shall make all needed rules
and regulations in relation thereto, subject to laws enacted by the General
Sec. 6. State school fund.
The proceeds of all lands that have been or hereafter may be granted by the
United States to this State, and not otherwise appropriated by this State or the
United States; all moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property belonging to the
State for purposes of public education; the net proceeds of all sales of the
swamp lands belonging to the State; and all other grants, gifts, and devises
that have been or hereafter may be made to the State, and not otherwise
appropriated by the State or by the terms of the grant, gift, or devise, shall
be paid into the State Treasury and, together with so much of the revenue of the
State as may be set apart for that purpose, shall be faithfully appropriated and
used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free
Sec. 7. County school fund.
All moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property belonging to a county school
fund, and the clear proceeds of all penalties and forfeitures and of all fines
collected in the several counties for any breach of the penal laws of the State,
shall belong to and remain in the several counties, and shall be faithfully
appropriated and used exclusively for maintaining free public schools.
Sec. 8. Higher education.
The General Assembly shall maintain a public system of higher education,
comprising The University of North Carolina and such other institutions of
higher education as the General Assembly may deem wise. The General Assembly
shall provide for the selection of trustees of The University of North Carolina
and of the other institutions of higher education, in whom shall be vested all
the privileges, rights, franchises, and endowments heretofore granted to or
conferred upon the trustees of these institutions. The General Assembly may
enact laws necessary and expedient for the maintenance and management of The
University of North Carolina and the other public institutions of higher
Sec. 9. Benefits of public institutions of higher education.
The General Assembly shall provide that the benefits of The University of
North Carolina and other public institutions of higher education, as far as
practicable, be extended to the people of the State free of expense.
Sec. 10. Escheats.
(1) Escheats prior to July 1, 1971. All property that prior to July 1, 1971, accrued to the State from escheats, unclaimed dividends, or distributive shares of the estates of deceased persons shall be appropriated to the use of The University of North Carolina.
(2) Escheats after June 30, 1971. All property that, after June 30, 1971,
shall accrue to the State from escheats, unclaimed dividends, or distributive
shares of the estates of deceased persons shall be used to aid worthy and needy
students who are residents of this State and are enrolled in public institutions
of higher education in this State. The method, amount, and type of distribution
shall be prescribed by law.
Section 1. Personal property exemptions.
The personal property of any resident of this State, to a value fixed by the
General Assembly but not less than $500, to be selected by the resident, is
exempted from sale under execution or other final process of any court, issued
for the collection of any debt.
Sec. 2. Homestead exemptions.
(1) Exemption from sale; exceptions. Every homestead and the dwellings and buildings used therewith, to a value fixed by the General Assembly but not less than $1,000, to be selected by the owner thereof, or in lieu thereof, at the option of the owner, any lot in a city or town with the dwellings and buildings used thereon, and to the same value, owned and occupied by a resident of the State, shall be exempt from sale under execution or other final process obtained on any debt. But no property shall be exempt from sale for taxes, or for payment of obligations contracted for its purchase.
(2) Exemption for benefit of children. The homestead, after the death of the owner thereof, shall be exempt from the payment of any debt during the minority of the owner's children, or any of them.
(3) Exemption for benefit of surviving spouse. If the owner of a homestead dies, leaving a surviving spouse but no minor children, the homestead shall be exempt from the debts of the owner, and the rents and profits thereof shall inure to the benefit of the surviving spouse until he or she remarries, unless the surviving spouse is the owner of a separate homestead.
(4) Conveyance of homestead. Nothing contained in this Article shall operate
to prevent the owner of a homestead from disposing of it by deed, but no deed
made by a married owner of a homestead shall be valid without the signature and
acknowledgement of his or her spouse.
Sec. 3. Mechanics' and laborers' liens.
The General Assembly shall provide by proper legislation for giving to
mechanics and laborers an adequate lien on the subject-matter of their labor.
The provisions of Sections 1 and 2 of this Article shall not be so construed as
to prevent a laborer's lien for work done and performed for the person claiming
the exemption or a mechanic's lien for work done on the premises.
Sec. 4. Property of married women secured to them.
The real and personal property of any female in this State acquired before
marriage, and all property, real and personal, to which she may, after marriage,
become in any manner entitled, shall be and remain the sole and separate estate
and property of such female, and shall not be liable for any debts, obligations,
or engagements of her husband, and may be devised and bequeathed and conveyed by
her, subject to such regulations and limitations as the General Assembly may
prescribe. Every married woman may exercise powers of attorney conferred upon
her by her husband, including the power to execute and acknowledge deeds to
property owned by herself and her husband or by her husband.
Sec. 5. Insurance.
A person may insure his or her own life for the sole use and benefit of his
or her spouse or children or both, and upon his or her death the proceeds from
the insurance shall be paid to or for the benefit of the spouse or children or
both, or to a guardian, free from all claims of the representatives or creditors
of the insured or his or her estate. Any insurance policy which insures the life
of a person for the sole use and benefit of that person's spouse or children or
both shall not be subject to the claims of creditors of the insured during his
or her lifetime, whether or not the policy reserves to the insured during his or
her lifetime any or all rights provided for by the policy and whether or not the
policy proceeds are payable to the estate of the insured in the event the
beneficiary or beneficiaries predecease the insured.
Section 1. Punishments.
The following punishments only shall be known to the laws of this State:
death, imprisonment, fines, suspension of a jail or prison term with or without
conditions, restitution, community service, restraints on liberty, work
programs, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office
of honor, trust, or profit under this State. (1995, c. 429, s. 2.)
Sec. 2. Death punishment.
The object of punishments being not only to satisfy justice, but also to
reform the offender and thus prevent crime, murder, arson, burglary, and rape,
and these only, may be punishable with death, if the General Assembly shall so
Sec. 3. Charitable and correctional institutions and agencies.
Such charitable, benevolent, penal, and correctional institutions and
agencies as the needs of humanity and the public good may require shall be
established and operated by the State under such organization and in such manner
as the General Assembly may prescribe.
Sec. 4. Welfare policy; board of public welfare.
Beneficent provision for the poor, the unfortunate, and the orphan is one of
the first duties of a civilized and a Christian state. Therefore the General
Assembly shall provide for and define the duties of a board of public
Section 1. Governor is Commander in Chief.
The Governor shall be Commander in Chief of the military forces of the State
and may call out those forces to execute the law, suppress riots and
insurrections, and repel invasion.
Section 1. Convention of the People.
No Convention of the People of this State shall ever be called unless by the
concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of each house of the General
Assembly, and unless the proposition "Convention or No Convention" is first
submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the time and in the manner
prescribed by the General Assembly. If a majority of the votes cast upon the
proposition are in favor of a Convention, it shall assemble on the day
prescribed by the General Assembly. The General Assembly shall, in the act
submitting the convention proposition, propose limitations upon the authority of
the Convention; and if a majority of the votes cast upon the proposition are in
favor of a Convention, those limitations shall become binding upon the
Convention. Delegates to the Convention shall be elected by the qualified voters
at the time and in the manner prescribed in the act of submission. The
Convention shall consist of a number of delegates equal to the membership of the
House of Representatives of the General Assembly that submits the convention
proposition and the delegates shall be apportioned as is the House of
Representatives. A Convention shall adopt no ordinance not necessary to the
purpose for which the Convention has been called.
Sec. 2. Power to revise or amend Constitution reserved to people.
The people of this State reserve the power to amend this Constitution and to
adopt a new or revised Constitution. This power may be exercised by either of
the methods set out hereinafter in this Article, but in no other way.
Sec. 3. Revision or amendment by Convention of the People.
A Convention of the People of this State may be called pursuant to Section 1
of this Article to propose a new or revised Constitution or to propose
amendments to this Constitution. Every new or revised Constitution and every
constitutional amendment adopted by a Convention shall be submitted to the
qualified voters of the State at the time and in the manner prescribed by the
Convention. If a majority of the votes cast thereon are in favor of ratification
of the new or revised Constitution or the constitutional amendment or
amendments, it or they shall become effective January first next after
ratification by the qualified voters unless a different effective date is
prescribed by the Convention.
Sec. 4. Revision or amendment by legislative initiation.
A proposal of a new or revised Constitution or an amendment or amendments to
this Constitution may be initiated by the General Assembly, but only if
three-fifths of all the members of each house shall adopt an act submitting the
proposal to the qualified voters of the State for their ratification or
rejection. The proposal shall be submitted at the time and in the manner
prescribed by the General Assembly. If a majority of the votes cast thereon are
in favor of the proposed new or revised Constitution or constitutional amendment
or amendments, it or they shall become effective January first next after
ratification by the voters unless a different effective date is prescribed in
the act submitting the proposal or proposals to the qualified voters.
Section 1. Seat of government.
The permanent seat of government of this State shall be at the City of
Sec. 2. State boundaries.
The limits and boundaries of the State shall be and remain as they now
Sec. 3. General laws defined.
Whenever the General Assembly is directed or authorized by this Constitution
to enact general laws, or general laws uniformly applicable throughout the
State, or general laws uniformly applicable in every county, city and town, and
other unit of local government, or in every local court district, no special or
local act shall be enacted concerning the subject matter directed or authorized
to be accomplished by general or uniformly applicable laws, and every amendment
or repeal of any law relating to such subject matter shall also be general and
uniform in its effect throughout the State. General laws may be enacted for
classes defined by population or other criteria. General laws uniformly
applicable throughout the State shall be made applicable without classification
or exception in every unit of local government of like kind, such as every
county, or every city and town, but need not be made applicable in every unit of
local government in the State. General laws uniformly applicable in every
county, city and town, and other unit of local government, or in every local
court district, shall be made applicable without classification or exception in
every unit of local government, or in every local court district, as the case
may be. The General Assembly may at any time repeal any special, local, or
Sec. 4. Continuity of laws; protection of office holders.
The laws of North Carolina not in conflict with this Constitution shall
continue in force until lawfully altered. Except as otherwise specifically
provided, the adoption of this Constitution shall not have the effect of
vacating any office or term of office now filled or held by virtue of any
election or appointment made under the prior Constitution of North Carolina and
the laws of the State enacted pursuant thereto.
Sec. 5. Conservation of natural resources.
It shall be the policy of this State to conserve and protect its lands and waters for the benefit of all its citizenry, and to this end it shall be a proper function of the State of North Carolina and its political subdivisions to acquire and preserve park, recreational, and scenic areas, to control and limit the pollution of our air and water, to control excessive noise, and in every other appropriate way to preserve as a part of the common heritage of this State its forests, wetlands, estuaries, beaches, historical sites, openlands, and places of beauty.
To accomplish the aforementioned public purposes, the State and its counties,
cities and towns, and other units of local government may acquire by purchase or
gift properties or interests in properties which shall, upon their special
dedication to and acceptance by resolution adopted by a vote of three-fifths of
the members of each house of the General Assembly for those public purposes,
constitute part of the "State Nature and Historic Preserve," and which shall not
be used for other purposes except as authorized by law enacted by a vote of
three-fifths of the members of each house of the General Assembly. The General
Assembly shall prescribe by general law the conditions and procedures under
which such properties or interests therein shall be dedicated for the
aforementioned public purposes.