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Another N.C. constitutional amendment passed in the House

Yesterday, the N.C. House passed another constitutional amendment, House Bill 913, changing how appointments are made to the state boards and commissions. HB 913 would shift constitutional authority of board and commission appointments in general from the governor to the General Assembly. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Carolina Journal reports

The governor currently appoints four Republicans, four Democrats, and a politically unaffiliated member to the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The majority and minority leaders of each legislative chamber would nominate two members apiece under the proposed system.

Rep. Robert Reives, D-Lee, called the amendment a “very, very, very serious” change to the constitution. He also said that it would be difficult to reverse.

Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe, said the amendment went against traditional governance.

“This is, some would say, legislative supremacy,” Fisher said. “I for one, would like to keep the spirit of adherence to the constitution intact, and keep that balance going.”

Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, said the state constitution did not give equal power to the three branches of government.

“Actually, nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “Our state constitution as it was originally set up, was set up … in such a way that the legislature was the dominant branch of government.”

Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, read a Tweet from John Locke Foundation Senior Vice President Becki Gray on the House floor. Gray asked Republicans to consider if they would support the proposal if Democrats were in control of the legislature.

McGrady said he was comfortable with changes to the elections board, but not the general appointment powers. He said it was a reversal of the Berger v. McCrory case, which ensured certain appointment powers to the governor.

The General Assembly is considering five constitutional amendments for the November ballot.

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