Category Archives: NC Legislature oversteps

Our State: North Carolina GOP to strip some of Democratic Governor’s power

Durham Herald Dec 17, 2016

Repubicans Undermine Eletion Results

RALEIGH — North Carolina Republicans stripped the incoming Democratic governor of some of his authority on Friday and they were on the cusp of an even greater power grab, an extraordinary move that critics said flies in the face of voters.

Just last week, it appeared Republicans were ready to finally accept Democrats’ narrow win in a contentious governor’s race. As it turns out, they weren’t done fighting. In a surprise special session in the dying days of the old administration, some say the Republican-dominated legislature has thrown the government into total disarray, approving two bills aimed at emasculating incoming Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration. One of them was signed into law by the current governor.

Cooper, the current attorney general, has threatened to sue. And many in the state are accusing Republicans of letting sour grapes over losing the governor’s mansion turn into a legislative coup.

“This was a pure power grab,” said retired school librarian Carolyn White, 62, a long-time demonstrator who was arrested as part of the “Moral Monday” protests against GOP-led legislative policies. “I got arrested two years ago. Did it make any difference? No. But just like the civil rights movement, it’s forward together. You just have to keep going forward.”

The protesters were so loud that Senate and House cleared the galleries — a highly unusual move. More than 50 people were arrested this week, and as demonstrators were led away from the Legislative Building, some chanted “all political power comes from the people.” Those that remained behind could only watch the debate through glass windows or listen to it online.

Hundreds stomped their feet and yelled outside the gallery, causing several Republican lawmakers to note they were having trouble hearing during the debate. Democrats repeatedly stated their objections.

“The kindergartners are getting rowdy,” said Republican Rep. Dana Bumgardner.

He said Democrats were “creating out of thin air a talking point for the next election.”

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who lost to Cooper by about 10,000 votes, quickly signed into law a bill that merges the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission into one board comprised equally of Democrats and Republicans. The previous state elections board law would have allowed Cooper to put a majority of Democrats on the elections panel.

The law would also make elections for appellate court judgeships officially partisan again.

Another bill that received final legislative approval would force Cooper’s Cabinet choices to be subject to Senate confirmation. Before adjourning, lawmakers confirmed a salaried appointment to the state Industrial Commission for the wife of McCrory’s chief of staff. McCrory nominated her.

McCrory must decide whether to sign the second law passed by the General Assembly, a body that has repeatedly tugged him to the right even though he campaigned as a moderate in 2012 as Charlotte’s former mayor.

Republicans insist the legislation is simply adjusting the constitutional powers already granted to the General Assembly. Many provisions had been debated for years but had either gotten blocked or the Democratic viewpoint previously won out.

Read more here.

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UNC-Chapel Hill Professors Blast LGBT Discrimination Law

News and Observer, Chapel Hill, March 29

A group of 50 faculty members from UNC-Chapel Hill issued a statement Monday opposing the state’s new law on LGBT discrimination.

The professors stressed that they weren’t speaking on behalf of the university, which has not taken a formal position on the law. The statement called on legislators to repeal the law, which was approved in response to a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

“The recently passed House Bill 2 makes it impossible for UNC-Chapel Hill and its surrounding communities to protect valued faculty, staff, and students from discrimination simply because of who they are,” the statement said. “We are gravely concerned that House Bill 2, and the disturbing message it sends, will make it difficult for Carolina to find and retain the best faculty, staff and students.”

Among the notable names who signed the statement: UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Dean Barbara Rimer, Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Douglas Shackelford, Department of Religious Studies Chair Randall Styers, religious studies professor Carl Ernst and former School of Law dean Jack Boger. Read more here

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