Today@NCCapitol (March 21): Confirmations continue as legal clouds part

Posted March 21

This is a picture of the North Carolina flag, although it's a bit tattered.

— Machelle Sanders will be the first member of Gov. Roy Cooper's administration to face a confirmation hearing since a three-judge panel ruled Friday that lawmakers do have the right to approve or reject cabinet appointments. She is Cooper's choice to head the Department of Administration.

Cooper's first three nominees have sailed through the confirmation process and generally have received high-praise from lawmakers, and there's no reason to believe that Sanders' nomination will run into problems.

The dispute between Cooper, a Democrat, and Republicans who control the General Assembly has so far been a debate about the prerogatives of the legislative and the executive branch, rather than a practical fight over any one individual. That could change later this month when Cooper's nominees for the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health and Human Services visit the Senate.

In the mean time, Cooper has argued in court that confirmation hearings could keep him from placing those he wants in top state jobs. GOP lawmakers point to provisions in the constitution they say gives them the right to sign off on the appointees.

Cooper's staff says the governor will appeal Friday's loss in court, but senators plan to continue with their in-person examinations.

Sanders goes before the Senate's State and Local Government Committee at 2 p.m. Tuesday. WRAL.com plans to carry the hearing live online.

Veto override vote: House Speaker Tim Moore has scheduled a Wednesday vote to override Cooper's veto of a bill making Superior Court and District Court elections partisan.

NAACP: The NAACP will be bringing members from across the state to the Legislative Building on Tuesday. Events are scheduled for 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., with members of the group using the time in between to "instruct" their lawmakers. A news release sent Monday night expressed disapproval of the cabinet confirmation law and other measures recently pursued by lawmakers, accusing Republicans of "secretly rushing through dozens of bills that amount to a political coup d'etat."

Eyes: Rep. Greg Murphy, R-Pitt, a doctor by profession, is scheduled to hold a news conference opposing a bill that would give optometrists the right to perform certain eye surgeries.

Governor: Cooper will visit the western part of the state, stopping in Marion for an economic development announcement and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in Arden to tout his plan for free community college tuition that was part of his budget.

House: The state House meets at 1 p.m. There are no bills on the calendar as of Tuesday morning, but Moore said it was possible some non-controversial measures could be added.

Senate: The Senate will gavel in at 9:30 a.m. but is not expected to meet for votes until the afternoon. A handful of bills left from last week are on the calendar.

Committees: The General Assembly publishes a full legislative committee calendar daily. Among the meetings we're keeping an eye on is House Judiciary II, where lawmakers will be debating bills to prohibit drone use over jails, revise gang laws and a bill that would give judges discretion as to whether a person convicted of sexual battery should be placed on the sex offender registry.


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