North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature is set to do battle over legislation that would allow the state's new Republican governor to make a sweeping overhaul of several of the state's regulatory boards.
Lawmakers are scheduled to consider legislation that would remove Democratic members from a series of powerful boards, including those overseeing public utilities, coastal issues and the state lottery, and would allow Gov. Pat McCrory (R) to appoint his own members in their place, WRAL.com reports. The current board members are serving fixed terms, which prevents McCrory from having any immediate affect on the agencies. The legislation is not going unchallenged, however, as GOP state House committee members are seeking to change the proposal, which originated in the Senate.
The Associated Press reports that the House Commerce Committee has amended the legislation to remove the provision that fires 12 special Superior Court judges -- all named by Democratic governors -- and to delay the replacement of the entire panel of the state's Public Utilities Commission until after the body has decided on proposed rate increases for Progress Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy. The House version also allows several members of the commissions overseeing environmental and coastal issues to stay in place for continuity.
The House committee's action has angered the bill's main sponsor, state Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville), The Raleigh News and Observer reports.
"I feel like the parent that sends a kid to college and they come home at Thanksgiving and you don't recognize them," Apodaca said during the House committee meeting. "My God, what have you done to my child?"
McCrory is North Carolina's first Republican governor in 20 years, and the boards are stocked with appointees of his three Democratic predecessors. Republican supporters of the legislation have said the changes are not about giving McCrory patronage but to allow for new board members with new experience to take office.
A McCrory spokesperson could not be reached for comment on the governor's position on the legislation.