North Carolina Republican lawmakers are once again trying to take away Gov. Roy Cooper’s powers as governor, this time targeting his ability to appoint people to key state boards and commissions, WRAL reported.
Senate Bill 512 takes appointments held by Cooper, a Democrat, and moves them to the General Assembly where Republicans are in control.
The legislation impacts nine boards, including the N.C. Board of Transportation and the state utilities commission.
Under SB 512, the governor would only retain some appointments to each board.
“These boards and commissions are charged with overseeing areas of state government that have a tremendous impact on our daily lives,” Republican Senate Leader Phil Berger said in a statement announcing the proposal. “By balancing the membership of these unelected boards, we’re increasing the viewpoints on the boards by diversifying the appointing authorities.”
On the surface, that seems like a reasonable viewpoint in the spirit of bipartisanship, but if Berger and legislative Republicans’ history is any indication, what is really meant is “shifting appointment power to the General Assembly will allow us to install more right-wing extremists to important positions that have a tremendous impact on our daily lives.”
Cooper is opposed to these changes.
“This legislation will hurt the state’s efforts for public health, clean water, more commuter rail transportation and lower electric bills,” Cooper spokeswoman Sam Chan said, according to WRAL. “This is another massive, unconstitutional power grab by Republican legislators who have a track record of right-wing partisan appointees who do not reflect the demographic or political diversity in our state and who often become mired in toxic infighting and controversy.”
The nine boards or commissions impacted by SB 512 are as follows:
- N.C. Utilities Commission
- Economic Investment Committee
- Environmental Management Commission
- Commission for Public Health
- Board of Transportation
- Coastal Resources Commission
- Wildlife Resources Commission
- N.C. Railroad Board of Directors
- The UNC Health Care Board of Directors
The bill passed the Senate earlier this month and has been sent to the House.