I am simply stunned by this. This is a total injustice and a total disregard for the will of the electorate. The voters in North Carolina voted to change things, they voted for a democrat instead of the current republicain. Yet after that the republican state controlled legislative bodies voted, in a sneaky session they had already planned, to gut all power from the incoming democratic governor. They did the reverse when they took power from a democrat, when the republican governor took office they increased his powers tremendously. The very powers they are trying to restrict now. I wonder why? It is clear that republicans are only interested in retaining as much power as possible. They don’t care about the people, the people’s wishes. They care only about their party. This is true in state government, in school boards, in judge positions and courts, and also in the federal congress. The party comes before all else. Before the people, before justice, before honor. Please help stop this takeover of our country before it is too late. Hugs
That session did, indeed, result in a disaster relief bill. However, as it drew to a close on Wednesday, Republican leaders called another special session—with the explicit aim of curbing the authority of both Cooper and the court. They promptly put forth a series of dramatic alterations to the government’s structure, including proposals to:
- Overhaul county election boards to prevent Democratic control. Current law states that each county election board must be made up of three members, two of which should come from the governor’s party. The new proposal would give each election board four members—two Democrats and two Republicans—to prevent Democrats from taking control of the boards.
- Overhaul the State Board of Elections by merging it with the State Ethics Commission and increasing its size. Right now, the law states that the election board must have five members, with three from the governor’s party. The new law would give it eight members—four Democrats and four Republicans—to forestall a Democratic advantage when Cooper takes office.
- Allow a Democrat to chair the State Board of Elections in odd-numbered years—when there are typically no elections—and allow a Republican to chair the board in even-numbered years—when state and federal elections are normally held.
- Make Supreme Court elections partisan and introduce party primaries. Republicans believe they lost the 2016 Supreme Court election because the candidates lacked a partisan identification.
- Completely change the appeals process in order to limit the state Supreme Court’s authority. When Republicans took power, they provided citizens with the right to appeal constitutional challenges from superior court directly to the state Supreme Court. The new measure would remove this right, requiring constitutional challenges to be heard by all 15 judges of the court of appeals—which is dominated by Republicans—before reaching the state Supreme Court.
- Allow McCrory to pick the Industrial Commission chairman, who will serve for the next four years. Under current law, Cooper should have the opportunity to fill this position.
- Reduce the number of state employees who serve at the pleasure of the governor. When McCrory took office, Republicans increased this number from 500 to 1,500. They now propose reducing it to 300.
- Remove Cooper’s ability to appoint trustees to run campuses in the University of North Carolina system—and transfer that power to the state legislature.
- Require Senate confirmation of Cooper’s Cabinet appointments. McCrory’s appointments did not require Senate approval.
- Confirm McCrory’s closest ally, state budget director Andrew Heath, to a superior court judgeship.
- Abolish car-emissions testing in many counties; eliminate some state environmental reports; and remove scientists from certain state boards tasked with protecting public health, replacing them with industry representatives.
These proposals are not merely designed to negate the will of the voters in this election. They are also intended to maintain Republican-sponsored voter suppression, thereby preventing Democrats from ever regaining control of the North Carolina government.