State legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper are likely headed for another veto fight, this time over a measure that would reconfigure the state’s oversight of elections, ethics and lobbying. Lawmakers sent the bill to Cooper’s desk Tuesday. In December 2016 during a special session, state lawmakers approved a proposal to do away with the existing State Board of Elections and replace it with the state’s ethics board, half appointed by the governor and the other half appointed by state lawmakers. That law also gave Republicans control of all local elections boards in each election year. Cooper sued to block the law, saying it violated the separation of powers in the state constitution, and a three-judge panel agreed last month. Senate Bill 68 is an attempt to revive some of that enjoined law, crafted to avoid the constitutional pitfalls that plagued the first version.
It would still put what’s now the State Ethics Commission in charge of elections, campaign finance and lobbying regulation. The governor would appoint all eight members of the new board – four from each party – although he or she would be limited to nominations submitted by the parties. He or she would also have the authority to remove any board member who misses more than two consecutive meetings.
“We believe that combining these functions under one board is the better way to go forward in trying to administer elections, campaign finance, lobbying and ethics,” said House sponsor Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett.
Senate Bill 68, like the earlier law, increases the size of county boards of elections from three to four members, two from each party, which critics warn will be a recipe for “deadlock and dysfunction.” But supporters of the measure say tied votes can be resolved by the state board with a simple majority vote of five members.
Full Article: Veto fight ahead over elections board rewrite :: WRAL.com.