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Easley Asks General Assembly To Reconvene About Vetoed Bill

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A special session of the state Legislaturewas announced Monday by Gov. Mike Easley to reconsider a bill hevetoed last week naming people to boards and commission.

The General Assembly will reconvene Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 1:30 p.m. Last week, Easley announced that he vetoed

Senate Bill 1283

thatcontained appointments to boards, but the governor said the billwas filled with problems.

Some of the problems with the appointments -- which areunsalaried but pay travel expenses and daily stipends for meetingsof about $100 to about $200 - include:

  • Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight appointed StephanieSimpson, a lobbyist for the state Realtors association, to theNorth Carolina Appraisal Board. State law bars the appointment ofanyone involved in real estate.
  • Basnight appointed Lanny Wilson of New Hanover County to thenewly created state Turnpike Authority. Wilson already serves onthe state transportation board and real estate commission. He isprohibited by law from serving on more than two boards.
  • Senate Democrats appointed Lumberton auctioneer Mickey Meekinsto the Auctioneer Licensing Board, which had fined him $250 in Mayafter a dispute between a buyer and seller.
  • House Speaker Jim Black's appointments to the state appraisalboard included David Hoyle Jr., who said he did not seek theposition and resigned the appointment shortly after it was made.
  • Easley's veto message pointed out that two appointees are dead;they died after the bill was passed into law. The bill also"mistakenly makes six appointments that are required to be made bythe Governor," he wrote.

    The appointments provide legislative leaders the opportunity toreward supporters and to shape state regulatory policy. Basnightand Black, both Democrats, decided to create 31 new board andcommission positions.

    In his veto message, Easley - also a Democrat - criticized theincrease in state costs during a budget crisis.

    A spokeswoman for Basnight emphasized that about half theappointments are paid for through fees from the industries theyregulate and not tax dollars.

    "Senator Basnight doesn't see a problem with increasing NorthCarolinians' role in their government," said Amy Fulk, Basnight'scommunications director.

    The appointments apparently had little to do with whether theboards themselves thought they needed to grow.

    "No one here had any advance notice," said Terry Wright,deputy director of the Private Protective Services Board, whichwould have gained two new members under the vetoed bill. The boardregulates private security firms.

    Wright and others found out when the board's lawyer saw theappointments bill on the General Assembly Web site.

    "That was a bit of a surprise," said Mel Black, executivedirector of the appraisal board, which grew by two seats, oneappointed by Black and the other by Basnight.

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