Since 2016, North Carolina Republicans have continued efforts to change the rules in their favor and undermine gubernatorial authority, with the latest state budget adding to the list.
According to WRAL, under current law, the governor appoints 10 members of the state board of community colleges. Six of them are required to represent diverse geographic regions, while the legislature appoints eight members.
The recently passed state budget – which became law without Gov. Cooper’s signature – takes away the governor’s power and gives those ten appointments to state lawmakers for a total of nine each for the House and Senate, with no requirement for geographically diverse representation.
In addition, the state budget takes away the governor’s and local school boards’ appointments, giving them to state lawmakers instead. The budget also makes the student representative seat optional, WRAL reports.
For years, the state Supreme Court has stopped efforts in the interest of the separation of powers. However, the current state Supreme Court leans heavily conservative, with Republicans having a 5-2 majority.
Last month, Governor Roy Cooper stated he’s likely to take Republican lawmakers to court due to the controversial measure that would strip him of his appointments, WRAL reports.
“We are obviously planning a lawsuit in that,” Gov. Cooper told WRAL. “I think, clearly, what they’ve done not only is unconstitutional, but I think it will hurt the economy of North Carolina and the operation of its government.”
State Republicans have already weakened the governor’s powers through other efforts, including a new law that took effect this year taking away further power during states of emergency.
Read more at WRAL.