State leaders released a joint statement criticizing Gov. Roy Cooper for continuing to try and use the court system to block efforts to install a bipartisan elections and ethics board following the latest legal action from Cooper.
House Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) released a joint statement responding to Cooper’s latest legal action against the legislature installing a bipartisan board over elections and ethics enforcement in the state, the third from Cooper in a little more than a year. The new suit comes as the state Supreme Court shot down efforts to have the entire law installing the bipartisan nine-member board which includes four Republicans, four Democrats, and one member from neither party.
The Supreme Court ruling upheld the lower court decision ruling the eight-member board unconstitutional but did not throw out the entire law.
“Just days after a lower court ruled against the governor, the North Carolina Supreme Court rejected his latest attempt to prevent bipartisan elections and ethics enforcement – and yet he’s going to court again,” Hise and Lewis said in a joint statement. “Today’s lawsuit – filed against a bill the governor pledged he would allow to become law – tries to stop not only the bipartisan elections enforcement that 80 percent of North Carolinians want, but potentially also jeopardizes class size funding and more than $57 million in additional funds for school children in Eastern North Carolina.”
Cooper has won victories in the courtroom in having the language of the first version of the law limiting his ability to remove members of the board and creating possible dead-lock votes changed but with his latest lawsuit he is reaching for more.
The new lawsuit again seeks to realize Cooper’s goal of returning to a system where the party of the governor of the state holds the majority of positions on the board allowing for that party to dominate all voting decisions.
Lewis released an additional statement referencing his offer to meet with Cooper face-to-face to hash out differences during the ACC basketball tournament in Brooklyn, NYC, which Cooper declined to participate in.
“Just last week, I offered to meet with Gov. Cooper to reach a consensus on the bipartisan board through dialogue and discussion, but sadly he demonstrated that he’d rather sue than govern,” Lewis said. “I invite the governor to finally engage in discussion rather than litigation. All North Carolinians deserve a government that operates outside a courtroom.”
Cooper has ben criticized for dealing with the legislative body of government through legal action and not through discussion.
Cooper is also seeking a hearing to block the latest tweaks to the legislation, set to become law Friday without Cooper’s signature, from taking effect.
Lewis and Hise also said that striking down the bill, set to become law Friday, also would threaten other provisions in the bill related to public school funding and phasing in class-size reductions.
The bill pushed off class-size reductions and re-appropriated the nearly $58 million fund provided under the governor’s control, from energy companies involved in the
construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, to local school districts in the path of the pipeline.