Raleigh, N.C. — The fourth time was the charm for a Senate confirmation hearing of former state Rep. Larry Hall, Gov. Roy Cooper's pick to lead the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Hall had stood up the Senate committee three times amid legal wrangling over the constitutionality of a new state law setting up the confirmation requirement for cabinet secretaries. But when the Senate subpoenaed Hall and the courts refused to step in, he showed up Thursday to answer questions and was unanimously approved.
In another legal spat between Cooper and Republican lawmakers, the state Court of Appeals issued an unsigned order in Cooper's challenge to a new state law that combines the State Ethics Commission and the State Board of Elections. What exactly the order means depends on whom you talk to, however.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger says it means North Carolina now lacks boards for ethics and elections oversight, while representatives of those agencies and the Governor's Office say it merely maintains the status quo before that law was set to take effect Jan. 1.
A panel of three Superior Court judges is scheduled to start hearing evidence next Tuesday on Cooper's lawsuit over the new laws.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Josh Stein and lawmakers banded together to introduce bills to crack down on opioid addiction in North Carolina. The proposals would increase restrictions on prescribing painkillers and expand treatment options.