This week the North Carolina Republican Senate released their budget proposal and a few hundred pages in, among corporate tax cuts and an offensive 1.5 percent raise for teachers, is something else just as disturbing — a set of three power grabs against Governor Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein, and the State Board of Elections.
- While Governor Cooper listened to the science and successfully led North Carolina through an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, Republicans remained hell bent on undermining his leadership and limiting the power of the Governor during states of emergency. They have already tried and failed twice to limit the Governor’s emergency powers. Now, instead of negotiating in good faith on a budget that could transform and strengthen our state, they are trying once again to weaken the powers of our state’s Governor.
- But that’s not the only partisan power grab in their proposal, Republicans are also attempting to prevent Attorney General Stein’s ability to settle legal disputes regarding our state constitution or statutes. This is yet another grudge that is taking priority over hard working North Carolinians. Republicans are still frustrated that Attorney General Stein was able to protect thousands of legally cast ballots during the 2020 election when the State Board of Elections was sued for extending the mail-in ballot deadline during a global pandemic. And while the Republicans in the Senate have passed a bill that would give the General Assembly leadership power to block the Attorney General from settling such types of lawsuits, this bill also failed.
- Finally there is a provision in their power grab proposal that would limit the State Board of Elections’ (BOE) emergency powers. Their proposal would prevent North Carolinians from accessing federal funds for election security, remove funding needed for two of the three cybersecurity experts employed by the BOE, and limit the Boards’ ability to investigate violations of election laws.
“Republicans are wasting their time and the time of hardworking North Carolinians when they attempt to bully through partisan power grabs instead of negotiating in good faith on a budget that would benefit our state,” said NCDP Chair Bobbie Richardson. “Prioritizing policies that make our elections less secure and provide massive tax giveaways to big corporations over expanding health care and investing in our public schools tells you everything you need to know about the NC GOP.”