Republican bill would take away appointment power from Gov. Roy Cooper

Republican bill would take away appointment power from Gov. Roy Cooper

North Carolina Republican lawmakers are 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 have a supermajority in both chambers.

The legislation impacts nine boards and commissions:

  • 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

Under SB 512, the governor would only retain some appointments to each board. In many cases, the General Assembly would have the authority to appoint around half of the members to those nine boards and commissions.

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.”

It’s possible Republicans in the legislature won’t even pass SB 512 and will instead insert it into the state budget. If they do that, Cooper and Democrats would then face the choice of accepting the changes or risk losing Medicaid expansion, which, despite the governor’s signature on the bill, will only take effect once a new state budget passes.

The bill passed the Senate on April 6 and has been sent to the House.

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Patrick Zarcone

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