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  • Press Release

Governor Cooper Asks Court to Overturn "Unconstitutional Legislative Power Grab"

Governor Cooper filed a lawsuit against Republican legislative leaders in Wake County Superior Court, challenging provisions in Senate Bill 512 that clearly violate the separation of powers established in the North Carolina Constitution. Governor Cooper also requested a temporary restraining order to prevent many of the provisions in Senate Bill 512 from going into effect immediately until their constitutionality is resolved.

Governor Cooper previously vetoed Senate Bill 512, which takes away the Governor’s majority of appointees on important boards and commissions, including the Board of Transportation, the Commission for Public Health, and the Environmental Management Commission among others.

“This law is a blatantly unconstitutional legislative power grab,” said Governor Cooper. “Over the years, the North Carolina Supreme Court has repeatedly held in bipartisan decisions that the legislature cannot seize executive power like this no matter what political parties control which offices. The efforts of Republican legislators to destroy the checks and balances in our constitution are bad for people and bad for our democracy.”

The lawsuit also brings a separation of powers challenge to a provision House Bill 488, which establishes the Residential Code Council.

The Governor’s lawsuit explains that the NC Supreme Court’s precedents make clear that “in order to fulfill the Governor’s constitutional duties and conform with separation-of-powers principles, the Governor must have sufficient control over administrative bodies that have final executive authority, such as the authority to enforce laws and promulgate rules and regulations, to ensure the laws are faithfully executed.” The challenged provisions in Senate Bill 512 and House Bill 488 prevent the Governor from exercising sufficient control over executive boards and commissions that are charged with enforcing laws, promulgating rules, and taking other executive action in a variety of important policy areas.

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