Courts & the Law, News

Court of Appeals overturns lower court order that halted Elections, Ethics Commission merge

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has said that the General Assembly’s bill overhauling the State Board of Elections can move forward, overturning the lower court’s preliminary injunction.

The first part of Senate Bill 4 would eradicate the current State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission and merge their powers and duties into one new Board. Cooper is challenging the law in court and a three-judge panel had ruled that the board would be prevented from merging until the conclusion of the case.

In light of the Court of Appeals decision overturning that order, Cooper’s attorneys filed an emergency motion with the state Supreme Court.

State Ethics Commission Chairman John Branch said Friday morning that the agency’s 9 a.m. meeting was recessed until 11 a.m. “due to the unsettled nature of what’s going on.”

It’s unknown if the Commission is supposed to continue business or move into the newly created bipartisan Elections and Ethics Commission, under the guidance of Senate Bill 4.

Branch said if the Supreme Court steps in, the Ethics Commission will proceed as if nothing happened, but if the court hasn’t reached a decision by 11 a.m., the agency will call an emergency meeting to meet with attorneys.

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