Under the Dome

Attorney general would avoid losing half his legal staff, under new bill

Attorney General Roy Cooper has dodged a big bullet: the governor’s proposal to transfer half of his legal staff out from under his control.

In a technical corrections bill to the new budget, unveiled late Thursday in a Senate committee, only 19 positions would be transferred.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget would have moved 210 attorneys and support staff from the state Department of Justice to 14 different state agencies where they already specialize. The move would put them under the budgetary control and supervision of those agencies.

The General Assembly’s recently approved budget didn’t include the transfers. Justice department staff has been working with the governor’s office on the issue.

Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper Jr. opposed the move, which he said would hamper their ability to perform their jobs. Republican governor McCrory’s budget director had said the attorneys would handle routine legal work.

The transfers in the new bill involve the departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, Transportation, N.C.Banking Commission and the state treasurer.

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