Senate GOP seeks to sweep oversight boards

Posted February 5, 2013

Senate Republican leaders are moving quickly on a proposal to fire all current members of key oversight and advisory boards.

Introduced in Senate Rules Committee Tuesday morning, Senate Bill 10 would effectively fire all members of the Utilities Commission, Environmental Management Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Lottery Commission and Wildlife Resources Commission.  

Gov. Pat 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. 

The bill would also abolish several other boards and commissions, including the Charter School Advisory Committee, the Lottery Oversight Commission, the Turnpike Authority and the Board of Correction. 

Another provision would have added two justices to the North Carolina Supreme Court, appointed by McCrory, which would essentially allow the governor to stack the court without an election. That provision was dropped from the bill in committee after it reportedly failed to gain support in the House GOP caucus meeting Monday.

Sen. Tom Apodaca, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, promised the concept would be revisited later this session.

Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick Sponsor: Sweeping boards not partisan move

Sen. Josh Stein Dem senator: Sweep of boards a 'breathtaking power grab'

Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, is the bill's sponsor. He says it's all about downsizing and efficiency, and he says it's not unprecedented. Former administrations have sometimes reconfigured or expanded boards to give their party a political edge, he said.

Sen. Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt said the current membership of those boards have accumulated experience. "There's something to be said for having some continuity," he protested. 

Rabon said current members can always reapply.

Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, said the Utilities Commission has done a good job with difficult issues. "What have they done to deserve being fired?" he asked.

Rabon said the Utilities Commission is perceived by some as a rubber stamp that doesn't reflect the values of the current administration.

After just 15 minutes of discussion, the bill passed easily along party lines. 

After the meeting, Stein called the proposal a "power grab" that's "breathtaking in its scope," noting that many of the boards in the bill's cross-hairs were created to protect consumers, injured workers and the environment. 

"They're going after everything so they can put their stamp on it," Stein said. "Commissions are supposed to be independent; they're not supposed to be ideological. And I fear they're trying to politicize state government in a way that will hurt North Carolinians."

Rabon called that characterization "unfair." 

"We're cleaning up some things that have been left behind," he said. "We're trying to become more efficient, save the state money, and as I said, give the administration a chance to do what the people have requested." 

Senate Bill 10 could be on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday.


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  • bc0001 Feb 6, 2013

    After listening to Rabon's explanation, it strikes me this is a sure fire way to assure that good qualified candidates for these posts and positions WON'T apply (unless of course their political affiliation is in alignment with the legislature). Not a great future for these folks. Just more partisan politics, at a time when that isn't what NC needs.

  • bc0001 Feb 6, 2013

    This seems like a sure fire way to end up with a Democratic landslide next election cycle. I'm tired of both parties playing heavy handed politics - instead of doing what is right for the public. Less than 6 months into office, and it looks to me like a giant FAIL. Nationally the GOP is trying to rebrand it self for greater acceptance. Statewise - it looks like we're moving closer to SC politics: good ole boy favoritism....

  • djofraleigh Feb 6, 2013

    You mean the GOP is going to do what the Democrats have done for over a hundred years?

  • Grand Union Feb 6, 2013

    "So no, taxes here aren't high. They're significantly below average."

    and before the crash NC was consistently listed as one of the best places to do business....and it was, until the Neanderthals took over in 2010....now its just a laughingstock waiting to be raped by big business.

  • Grand Union Feb 6, 2013

    "Do your own research on this; this is a bogus list (As are numerous media "lists" and "facts")."

    Yeah the media are all conspiring against you.......and only Faux news and rush tell you the truth (ie what you want to hear)

  • sixnitepkg Feb 6, 2013

    I'm not sure NC is the 5th highest as far as state income taxes, but we are higher than Connecticut and New York. With a taxable income of $60,000 as an example for the calculation- NC inc. taxes for single filers- $4,072.50; CT- $2,870.00; NY- $3,236.00. So the previous post you were disputing is much more accurate than what you are posting. I don't think this is going to stop you from posting false and inaccurate numbers, but hopefully people won't beleive it."

    funny, but you are forgetting a couple of very important factors (or are you skewing the facts to justify your lie?): 1)state property taxes, and 2)in CT and NY they have city, county AND borough taxes none of which we have here. I'm pretty sure that CT and NY more than make up for a couple of grand for a 60k/yr salary in what they rake in with property taxes

  • Adventurer007 Feb 6, 2013

    Now, if you'd like to have an HONEST discussion on most taxed states, including ALL taxes, I refer you here:



    So you think using CNN is a good source for tax calculations- whether they are income, property, or sales? I'm sorry, but I am not using CNN as an accurate source for tax calculations. That would be like seeing your physician for legal advice- not a good idea. I very much doubt NC is #35 out of 50 states. Even when someone presents you with clear and concrete calculations you somehow disagree; but you don't have any calculations to support your so called honesty. So your telling me that CNN calculated property taxes, sales taxes, etc. and came up with this list? I just don't beleive it. What property value did they use? How did they calculate how much a household spends and related sales taxes? Do your own research on this; this is a bogus list (As are numerous media "lists" and "facts").

  • Rebelyell55 Feb 6, 2013

    I'm betting the replacements will be making more money than the ones let go. Not buying the "save the state money" arguement. Will have to wait and see.

  • junkmail5 Feb 6, 2013

    Now, if you'd like to have an HONEST discussion on most taxed states, including ALL taxes, I refer you here:


    North Carolina is #35.

    Which is quite a distance from the top 5.

    This includes not just personal income tax but property taxes and sales and excise taxes.

    So no, taxes here aren't high. They're significantly below average.

  • Grand Union Feb 6, 2013

    "considering the diaster this state is in-- i'll take "extreme" right here and right now-- and i'm not a repub either. this state is in an economic meltdown, morally the citizens of nc have the backbone of an earth worm, and politically --the CHICAGO MOB HAS NOTHING ON NC IN TERMS OF CORRUPTION, now after 120 yrs of rule by democrats-- YOU TELL ME WHO PUT US THERE?"

    yeah and what about those flying pigs! and its the same mindset that is now in power that ruled for most of that 120 years.....the republicans are just the Dixiecrats under a new name.