Source: The Associated Press
North Carolina Republican legislative leaders are working on a plan to take away even more power from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper – and future governors – after the House approved a bill in May that would change who has appointment power over key state commissions, The Associated Press reported.
Now, Senate and House Republicans will likely meet to negotiate the details of their power grab that would see the legislature take control of appointing the majority of seats on multiple panels that Cooper currently has control over.
According to the AP, the House proposal and a version passed by the Senate in April would let legislators and Council of State members make most of the picks instead of the governor.
Cooper and other Democrats have called the NCGOP’s proposal an unconstitutional power grab. They have cited court rulings on the separation of powers between the governor and the North Carolina General Assembly that go back 40 years.
If Republicans get their way, the legislature would have control of appointments to commissions such as those that approve road-building projects, environmental regulations, and setting electricity rates, among other commissions and panels.
Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in the legislature, but those pushing the legislation have acknowledged that they will likely end up facing off against Cooper in court because of the bill, according to the AP.
The Senate and House bills don’t match up on all changes and if the two chambers can’t come to an agreement then no bill will be sent to Cooper for his likely veto.
Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of former North Carolina governors joined together to speak out against the legislature’s plan to strip powers from the governor.
Former Govs. Jim Hunt (D), Jim Martin (R), Mike Easley (D), Bev Perdue (D) and Pat McCrory (R) sent a letter to Republican leadership expressing their concern.
“We fear that it would inflict real chaos and harm upon the people of our state,” they wrote. “The Governor is charged under the state Constitution with carrying out the laws you pass and it is much more difficult to do this effectively with boards that have less than a clear majority of appointees from the Governor.”