Green Tie Awards are today May 24th. Tickets are closed. Thank you!

Cooper Vetoes Appointments-Stripping Bill

Senate Bill 512 is another GOP power grab designed to undermine Governor Cooper.

Governor Roy Cooper has vetoed legislation which would strip him of the ability to appoint majorities of several environmentally critical regulatory commissions. 

Senate Bill 512 would remove from the governor, and transfer to a combination of the legislature and Republican-held Council of State officers, the power to appoint majorities of the Environmental Management Commission, the Coastal Resources Commission, the Wildlife Resources Commission, the Board of Transportation, the Utilities Commission, and the Commission on Public Health, among other named boards and commissions. The changes are primarily set to go into effect as soon as the bill becomes law. 

Previous attempts by the legislature to take majority appointment of administrative commissions away from the governor have largely been struck down by the state courts as violations of the separation of powers provisions in the North Carolina state constitution. The decision by the legislature’s majority to adopt this bill despite those judicial precedents appears to be based on an expectation that the new State Supreme Court majority will continue to void previous court decisions limiting the powers of the legislature. 

SB 512 was approved completely along partisan lines, with all Republicans present voting yes, and all Democrats present voting no. Given the stark policy contrasts between the current legislative leadership and the current governor, SB 512’s shift of appointment powers away from the governor is likely to produce dramatic and immediate declines in regulatory protections for clean water and air, public health, and wildlife conservation if the bill becomes law.

In his veto message, Governor Cooper said, “This legislation will hurt the effective and efficient use of taxpayer money by impairing the Governor’s constitutionally required duty to execute the laws passed by the legislature. The bill interrupts the critical work of boards and commissions to protect public health, provide clean air and water, recruit new jobs, lower electric bills and more. Fundamentally it violates the separation of powers enshrined in the state Constitution. The courts have consistently rejected these legislative power grabs in McCrory v. Berger and other cases. Legislative efforts to seize executive power are unconstitutional and damage vital state work.” 

The legislature could take up consideration of a veto override at any time it is in session this month.

environmental justice

Join the Fight

Help us fight for fair maps, free elections, clean air, clean water, and clean energy for every North Carolinian!

legislative battlegrounds on climate

Stay Informed

Keep up to date on the latest environmental and political news. Become an email insider.