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Gov. Cooper Vetoes Yet Another GOP Attempt to Undermine Governor Powers

Source: N.C. McClatchy

Last week, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would transfer some of the governor’s powers to the Republican-led legislature, calling it “unconstitutional.”

Senate Bill 512 would take away appointment power for different state governing boards away from the governor and gives it to the state legislature. This comes as Republican-controlled legislatures across the country are passing measures to exert control over state and election offices.

For North Carolina, state Republicans have attempted to strip away the governor’s powers for years – even prior to Gov. Cooper taking office.

Three weeks before Cooper succeeded a Republican as the governor, state Republicans debated a bill that would require Senate confirmation for cabinet appointments; reducing by 1,200 the number of state employees the governor can hire and fire at will, and eliminate the governor’s power to pick University of North Carolina trustees, according to Reuters

 “Most people might think that this is a partisan power grab, but it is really more ominous,” Cooper stated during a news conference weeks before being sworn. “This is about thwarting the governor’s ability to move us forward on education and healthcare and clean air and water.”

The controversial power grab made national headlines, with media calling it North Carolina’s ‘Legislative Coup’.

Since 2016, state Republicans have continued efforts to change the rules in their favor and undermine gubernatorial authority; with Senate Bill 512 marking another attempt.

“We all learn about it in elementary school. We separate powers, because power corrupts, and that is bad for the people of North Carolina going forward,” Attorney General Josh Stein stated last month.

According to The News & Observer, the governor’s powers are weaker compared to other states due to Republican measures, and with a new law that took effect this year taking away further power during states of emergency.

“This legislation will hurt the effective and efficient use of taxpayer money by impairing the Governor’s constitutionally required duty to execute the laws passed by the legislature,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement announcing the veto of Senate Bill 512

“The bill interrupts the critical work of boards and commissions to protect public health, provide clean air and water, recruit new jobs, lower electric bills and more,” Gov. Cooper added. “Fundamentally, it violates the separation of powers enshrined in the state Constitution. The courts have consistently rejected these legislative power grabs in McCrory v. Berger and other cases. Legislative efforts to seize executive power are unconstitutional and damage vital state work.”

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