The General Assembly in North Carolina has voted to strip some of the appointing powers of the next governor, Democrat Roy Cooper. Protesters and the NAACP have spoken out against what has been seen as a “power grab” by the Republican legislature and outgoing governor Pat McCrory.
These developments are especially disturbing in light of recent accusations of voter suppression of African Americans and Democrats by Republicans in the state, and appears to further dampen the voice of the people.
In what was billed as an emergency session for disaster relief for Hurricane Matthew, the assembly reconvened over a holiday break and proposed three measures that would limit Governor-Elect Cooper’s power. First, with the approval of McCrory, the legislature combined the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission, making the new Board equally partisan between Republicans and Democrats, instead of allowing the incoming governor to appoint majority Democrats to the elections Board.
Second, Republican legislators with McCrory have decided to make appellate court judges run for election, which could, in the red state, work in favor of Republican judges. Third (and this bill is yet to be passed) Republicans are attempting to make Cooper’s cabinet picks subject to state senate approval, as well as only allowing Cooper 425 cabinet picks, while McCrory had 1500.
Republicans in North Carolina will continue to have majority power in the legislature into next year. Subjecting Cooper’s cabinet picks to approval by the state legislature seriously jeopardizes his power to select like-minded cabinet members.
These acts by North Carolina Republicans are additionally distressing since the state has sought to curtail the vote through voter ID and redistricting. This power grab is blatant and flies in the face of democracy and the decisions of the people of North Carolina. The state received lots of negative press this year after Governor McCrory signed the “bathroom bill” attempting to prevent transgender people from using the bathrooms of their choice.
McCrory lost the governorship by a very slim margin, around 10,000 votes, and for a while, refused to concede as the state conducted a recount and investigated voter fraud in around 50 counties, according to NBC News. No evidence of tampering or fraud was found, however. Clearly, this issue was created by McCrory and the Republicans to prevent Democratic power in the state and preserve the power of the legislature and the Republican Party over everything else.
As Republicans attempt to maintain their power in North Carolina at the expense of the voters’ decisions and the civil rights of African Americans, we must remain vigilant and support and advocate against voter suppression, LGTBQ discrimination, and access to abortion care. Thankfully, Governor-Elect Cooper has announced that the bathroom bill is to be repealed on Tuesday. McCrory and the Republicans have worked to curb the rights of the people in the state for far too long.
Photo Credits: Carolina Public Press