Excerpt From: NC Capitol Connection. Written By: Matt Caulder.
A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) filed in favor of Gov. Roy Cooper Tuesday evening cut off what was to be the first of several confirmation hearings in the Senate to approve Cooper’s cabinet nominees.
A three-judge panel of the Wake County Superior Court handed down the ruling blocking Part III of HB 17, but the ruling does not affect the rest of the law.
The change requiring that the Senate approve Cooper’s picks to head some state agencies came in a 2016 bill, which cited the state Constitution, Article III sec. 5(8): “The governor shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of a majority of the Senators appoint all officers whose appointments are not otherwise provided for.”
Former Rep. Larry Hall (D-Durham), whom Cooper tapped for Secretary of the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, was set to go before the Commerce and Insurance Committee at 11 a.m. Wednesday, but never showed for the meeting, though the TRO likely would have stopped the committee from proceeding even if Hall had appeared.
After waiting 10 minutes, Sen. Wesley Meredith (R-Cumberland), who chairs the committee, made a statement before adjourning the meeting.
“The purpose of today’s meeting was to implement a transparent and fair process to determine whether Gov. Cooper’s proposed cabinet secretaries are capable, qualified, without a conflict of interest and are willing to follow our laws of North Carolina and our nation,” he said. “The process is about good government and the North Carolina constitution clearly provides in black and white for the Senate to undertake these duties. The nearly identical federal process that is taking place in Washington D.C. even as we speak shows the public is paying attention and we ought to do everything we can to give the people confidence that their state leaders will be accountable to them.