North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory Friday signed a bill that will limit the powers of Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper.
There are several ways the bill takes away powers from Cooper. The bill signed by McCrory brings together the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission into one group that includes an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Had McCrory not signed the bill, Cooper would be allowed to appoint a majority of Democrats instead, reports NBC.
The bill also requires that appellate court judgeship candidates be identified by party on future ballots.
The bill was introduced during a special session Wednesday. After the Republican-controlled legislature closed a special session by approving a relief package for victims of Hurricane Matthew, it immediately convened another special session to consider this and other legislation designed to limit the incoming governor's powers.
Lawmakers have also passed a bill that would require the governor's cabinet appointees to be confirmed by the state Senate and take away his power to select trustees for the schools in the University of North Carolina system, The Charlotte Observer reports. It "would also drastically reduce the number of state employees the governor can directly hire and fire from 1,500 to 425," notes The Washington Post. McCrory has not indicated whether he will sign this bill, which could result in sanctions by the universities' accrediting body and violate the standards of several higher education groups, according to the Observer.
Cooper was elected governor in a close race that was affected by McCrory's support for the notorious anti-LGBT House Bill 2, which he signed into law the same day it was passed by the legislature in a special session last March. HB 2 nullifies all LGBT-inclusive municipal nondiscrimination ordinances and prevents cities and counties from enacting new ones, and it bars transgender people, when in public schools and other government buildings, from using restrooms and locker rooms that not correspond with their gender identity. Cooper, as the state's attorney general, refused to defend HB 2 in court and called it an embarrassment.
Because of the closeness of the vote in the governor's race, McCrory did not concede to Cooper until December 5. Cooper, in an interview with MSNBC, called the efforts of state Republicans to limit his authority a "partisan power grab that goes far beyond political power." Hundreds of people have jammed the state legislative building since Thursday to protest the lawmakers' actions, and at least 20 have been arrested, reports The News & Observer of Raleigh.