'Major modifications' expected to state boards overhaul bill
Posted February 12, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday that he expects "major modifications" to legislation that would essentially fire all sitting members of several key regulatory commissions before the bill emerges from the House.
In addition to eliminating several obsolete state boards, Senate Bill 10 would clear out all appointees to the Utilities Commission, Environmental Management Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Lottery Commission and Wildlife Resources Commission.
McCrory and Republican lawmakers would then be able to reappoint board members who agree with their philosophy, essentially clearing out Democrats and other dissenters whose terms haven't yet expired.
"I'm not interested in attaining extra power," McCrory said, "but I am interested in reducing the size of many of these committees because many of them are so large they're not workable or productive and they cost a lot of money."
The purpose of most commissions needs to be re-examined to ensure they have the right "talent" to do their jobs, he said.
House Speaker Thom Tillis was a bit more amenable to the proposal, calling the removal of current appointees a "natural process of transformation."
State boards and commissions are "creatures of the legislature," Tillis told reporters in a news conference, and they need to follow both the letter and spirit of state law when implementing policy.
"Whether or not they follow the spirit (of the law) may have to do with their background and their preferences, which may or may not be consistent with the legislature," he said.
A provision in the bill that would eliminate 12 special Superior Court judgeships might have to be addressed separately, Tillis said.
Some Senators questioned whether the move was constitutional, but Tillis said he was more concerned about the cost of the special judges and how much of a caseload they handled, saying their salaries might be better used elsewhere in the court system.