There’s a special kind of turf war going on in North Carolina these days. Just ten days ago, incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory conceded the gubernatorial election to Democrat Roy Cooper—four weeks after the election, after requesting a recount and alleging fraud. The NC legislature is filled with unhappy campers.
Surprise Special Session of NC Legislature
The Washington Post reports that the legislature held a special session to consider disaster relief for people affected by Hurricane Matthew. As that session closed, however, the Republican-controlled legislature announced another special session without stating its purpose. Finally, the bills to be considered were released, and—surprise!—they set new limits on the power of the incoming Democratic governor.
According to the Post, the legislation would:
- require the governor’s cabinet appointments to be approved by the state senate;
- effectively give control of the Boards of Elections to Republicans during election years;
- make elections for state judges partisan, which would likely diminish Democratic influence; and
- remove the governor’s power to appoint members of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina.
The News Observer reported that the current law gives control of the Board of Elections to the governor’s party.
More Proposals On Deck
The legislature did not get to all the bills that were filed for this second special session on Thursday. Additional proposals are pending that would stir the pot even more. One would cut the number of state employees that serve at the pleasure of the governor from 1,500 to 300. This would take back an increase that was passed when McCrory was elected. Another bill would merge the state Ethics Commission and the state Board of Elections.
Protesters Packed The Chamber
The Charlotte Observer reported that the Republicans’ petition to hold the second special session was dated Monday, but the Democrats weren’t told until Wednesday at noon. The session was set to begin at 2:00 p.m. Naturally, the Democrats were upset, and some called the move unconstitutional. On the afternoon of Thursday, December 15, 2016, with the encouragement of the Democrats, hundreds of people packed the capitol in Raleigh.
North Carolina Rump Rpblcn Session Strips Incoming Dem Governor of Powers. https://t.co/WQYXT2eOZ6 / CharlotteObserver
— Neil (@NPSusa) December 16, 2016
Later in the day, however, there were reports on Twitter that the legislature had ordered the chamber cleared.
North Carolina’s legislature has closed the observation gallery as it conducts a special session. https://t.co/eEW4N1FQaY
— Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind) December 15, 2016
The last time the legislature held a special session, they passed HB2, the transgender bathroom bill. A national Democratic backlash helped Roy Cooper squeak past McCrory by 10,000 votes out of 4 million cast.
Featured image via You