Friday, December 16, 2016

NC Gov-Elect Cooper Threatens to Sue as Legislature Try to Secure More Power

North Carolina Gov.-Elect Roy Cooper declined to say if he thought the session itself was Unconstitutional, as some Democratic Legislators had said, but he said lawyers are looking over every bill that was introduced. And he promised to challenge any law that appears Unconstitutional.

“They will see me in court,” he said. “And they don’t have a very good track record there.”

Press Millen is a Raleigh Lawyer who has studied the State Constitution and has used it to argue against some of the Election law changes adopted by the General Assembly in 2013. He says opponents of the Legislature’s moves could have a strong case in Court.

“The state Constitution is a little-read and less understood document,” Millen said Thursday. “In my view, it contains a lot of landmines for a Legislature that seems bent on reconfiguring 250 years of North Carolina governance kind of by personal pique.

“It’s going to have ramifications beyond what they’re considering. Typically, when you see laws being made, they’re deliberated more extensively, then tweaked and deliberated again.”

The Legislature is holding hastily called Special Session to restructure many aspects of State Government after Cooper, the State’s Attorney General and a Democrat, defeated Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in November. Thursday’s action featured Party-line votes, hundreds of protesters and about 20 arrests.

“Most people might think that this is a partisan power grab. But this is more ominous,” Gov.-Elect Roy Cooper told reporters.

Republican lawmakers who control the General Assembly introduced measures to to require State Senate approval of the new Governor’s Cabinet members and to strip his power to appoint University of North Carolina trustees. Republicans also proposed to substantially cut the number of State employees who serve at the Governor’s pleasure, giving Civil Service protections to hundreds of managers in State Agencies who have executed the priorities of Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican.

Gov.-Elect Cooper also wants to focus on higher teacher pay, better wages for working North Carolinians and repealing H.B. 2, the North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” that nullified protections for gay and transgender residents.

Final votes on the most controversial Bills are scheduled today, when the Legislature could adjourn for the year. Then the bills would go to Current Gov. McCrory, who hasn’t said if he’ll sign or veto them before he leaves office at the end of the month.

Current North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) has signed one of two bills that would drastically reduce the powers of his successor, incoming Democratic Governor-Elect Roy Cooper. House Bill 17 and Senate Bill 4 were introduced by Republican lawmakers in the State Legislature on Wednesday. Both bills passed in their respective chambers the following day by large margins. McCrory promptly signed SB 4 on Friday.

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