A little more than two weeks after a three-judge panel threw out a new state law combining oversight of state elections and ethics enforcement, leading Republican House members are pushing a revised version of the plan. The House Elections and Finance committees on Tuesday approved a committee substitute for Senate Bill 68 less than 18 hours after Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, stripped out the bill’s original half-page of language calling for student attendance recognition programs in local school districts and replaced it with 15 pages of policies and procedures for the proposed Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. Lewis, the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, beat back an effort by Democratic members of the committee to delay voting on the new bill, saying the House needed to take a floor vote on it before lawmakers take time off for Easter late next week.
The General Assembly passed legislation in a special December session that merged the five-member State Board of Elections and the eight-member State Ethics Commission. Gov. Roy Cooper went to court to block the merger, saying the move stripped him of authority by giving lawmakers the power to appoint half of the new board – the governor has traditionally appointed all elections board members and put his or her party in the majority – and by requiring a super-majority of six votes to take any action.
The three-judge panel agreed with Cooper, ruling on March 17 that the governor would have a hard time ensuring elections are carried out fairly under the rules lawmakers set up.
Full Article: Lawmakers revive plan for combined state elections, ethics board :: WRAL.com.