A new opinion from Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office takes the General Assembly’s side in the debate with the Perdue administration over new state ferry tolls.
“We believe that an Executive Order which directly conflicts with a law enacted by the General Assembly raises substantial concerns under our Constitution,” wrote Grayson Kelley, chief deputy attorney general, in the letter. “It is therefore our opinion that a direct conflict between a law enacted by the General Assembly and an Executive Order issued by the Governor must be resolved through implementation of the law.”
A General Assembly committee had asked for the office’s opinion after Perdue issued an executive order putting a moratorium on higher ferry tolls. The Department of Transportation was prepared to begin charging more on many of the state’s ferry routes as of April 1 at the direction of the Republican-controlled General Assembly. But Perdue’s order caused a delay in the implementation of the higher rates as legal questions were debated.
It was immediately unclear whether the opinion will mean the higher rates will take effect soon. DOT officials have said it would take about a month to begin collecting the new fees once a decision is made to do so.