Local News

Easley Asks General Assembly To Reconvene About Vetoed Bill

Posted November 11, 2002 1:46 a.m. EST

— A special session of the state Legislature was announced Monday by Gov. Mike Easley to reconsider a bill he vetoed 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

that contained appointments to boards, but the governor said the bill was filled with problems.

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

  • Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight appointed Stephanie Simpson, a lobbyist for the state Realtors association, to the North Carolina Appraisal Board. State law bars the appointment of anyone involved in real estate.
  • Basnight appointed Lanny Wilson of New Hanover County to the newly created state Turnpike Authority. Wilson already serves on the state transportation board and real estate commission. He is prohibited by law from serving on more than two boards.
  • Senate Democrats appointed Lumberton auctioneer Mickey Meekins to the Auctioneer Licensing Board, which had fined him $250 in May after a dispute between a buyer and seller.
  • House Speaker Jim Black's appointments to the state appraisal board included David Hoyle Jr., who said he did not seek the position 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 by the Governor," he wrote.

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

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

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

    "Senator Basnight doesn't see a problem with increasing North Carolinians' role in their government," said Amy Fulk, Basnight's communications director.

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

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

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

    "That was a bit of a surprise," said Mel Black, executive director of the appraisal board, which grew by two seats, one appointed by Black and the other by Basnight.