GOP lawmakers proposing major changes to environmental, consumer boards
Some mighty big changes popped up Tuesday in a Senate Rules committee concerning environmental and consumer boards, after a Republican senator led a successful charge to give Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-led legislature the ability to reappoint the entire membership of several major boards and commissions.
The initial bill, Senate Bill 10, was supposed to do away with “obsolete” boards and commissions, but mark-ups in committee would send the current members (many appointed or nominated by Democratic governors) packing with their seats filled by the new governor or state legislature, according to reporting from WRAL and the News & Observer. The proposed changes would affect the Utilities Commission, which regulates rate changes and utilities in the state, the Environmental Management Commission, and the N.C. Turnpike Authority, among others.
Republican Sen. Bill Rabon, a Southport veterinarian serving his second term in the legislature, proposed the changes.
“This administration should begin to wield its power,” Rabon said, according to the News & Observer’s Craig Jarvis.
The bill, which was voted out of committee and will next go to the Senate floor for approval, which could happen this afternoon or tomorrow, according to WRAL’s Laura Leslie.
From Leslie’s report about this morning’s committee hearing:
Introduced in Senate Rules committee this 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.
Governor 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.
A proposal to add two state Supreme Court justices, which would be appointed by McCrory and give Republicans a louder voice on the judicial body, was nixed during committee discussions with the possibility that the dramatic proposal could resurface later.
Here’s the marked-up version of the bill, available through the N.C. General Assembly’s website.