A bill began moving through the General Assembly on Tuesday that would sweep out the members of several important state boards and commissions so that they could be replaced by appointments by the governor and the GOP-controlled General Assembly.
Sen. Bill Rabon, a Republican from Southport, told the Senate Rules Committee the bill streamlines government by getting rid of unnecessary boards and commissions, and that it allows several key entities to be run by appointees who “are more like-minded and willing to carry out the philosophy of the new administration.
Senate Democrats objected, saying the state would lose years of expertise and carefully balanced membership.
“This is quite breathtaking in scope,” said Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat.
Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt, a Democrat from Asheville, repeatedly asked Rabon what the incumbent members had done wrong. Rabon said it wasn’t about job performance.
The bill affects the Coastal Resources Commission, Coastal Resources Advisory Board, Environmental Management Commission, and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. It also eliminates 12 special superior court judges, changes the makeup of the state Board of Elections, and modifies the composition of the state Lottery Commission.
The bill did propose to expand the state Supreme Court by two justices, but Republicans removed that provision for now. It will likely be taken up again.
The Rules Committee approved the bill, and it now heads to the full Senate for a vote.