North Carolina Republicans accused of ‘power grab’

Demonstrators crowd the rotunda outside the House and Senate galleries during a special session at the North Carolina Legislature in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.Image copyright
AP

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Demonstrators gathered outside a special session and chanted

Amid protests and threats of lawsuits, North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature took extraordinary steps on Friday to reduce the power of the new Democratic governor.

Democrat Roy Cooper last month defeated incumbent governor Republican Pat McCrory by just over 10,000 votes.

At a special session, Republicans voted for reforms to limit Mr Cooper.

At least 16 people were arrested after protesters gathered at the legislature, chanting “shame” and refusing to leave.

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AP

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Republicans have been accused of a “power grab”

The package of reforms include limiting the number of people Mr Cooper can bring into his team, requiring he seek approval to appoint top administrators at state agencies, and preventing him from shaping election boards.

Caren Parker, who protested at the legislature, said: “We voted for a new governor and they’re choosing to come and… take away the power.”

After losing, Mr McCrory quickly signed into law a bill that merges North Carolina’s State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission into one board composed equally of Democrats and Republicans.

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AP

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Governor Pat McCrory, who lost in North Carolina, visited Donald Trump last week

Opposition leaders said losing Republicans were making an unconstitutional power grab before they left office.

“This ain’t right, you can’t make it right,” said House Minority Leader Larry Hall. “The people of North Carolina aren’t being treated right.”

The previous state elections board law would have allowed Cooper to put a majority of Democrats on the panel.

Mr Cooper said in a statement: “Once more, the courts will have to clean up the mess the legislature made, but it won’t stop us from moving North Carolina forward.”

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Reuters

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Governor-elect Roy Cooper beat Pat McCrory by 10,0000 votes

Mr McCrory has not commented on the reforms. He hit the headlines earlier this year as the face of controversial legislation which limited protections offered to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and another bill which prevented local governments from raising minimum wage requirements.

Republicans say they are taking reasonable actions to rein in the power of the executive branch.

“It is proper for the legislative branch to adjust that so that the legislative branch has more checks and balances,” House Speaker Tim Moore said Friday.

“The more that can be reviewed by the legislative branch, I would submit, the better.”

North Carolina Republicans accused of ‘power grab’

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