North Carolina Legislature Votes to Limit Power of Incoming Democratic Governor

In 2009, then North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper prepares to speak to Pope Airmen to kickoff Military Saves Week. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Mindy Bloem)

In anticipation of a new governor ascending to power in North Carolina, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed several bills severely limiting the power of the governor. The laws were signed by the outgoing, GOP Governor Pat McCrory, who lost to Democrat Roy Cooper in the November election.

The bills were passed in special sessions held last week and outlined the governor’s new power limits. Those include limiting the number of jobs the governor can hire or fire employees, down to 300 from 1,500. The governor’s power to control the state board of elections was reduced; the legislature must now approve gubernatorial cabinet choices; and the power to appoint trustees to the University of North Carolina was moved to the state legislature.

Cooper won the election by over 10,000 votes. McCrory made an attempt to challenge the election results, claiming voter fraud, but the allegations were dismissed by the Republican-controlled county boards of elections.

Cooper reacted to the new legislation by calling the move a “power grab” by the legislature, saying he will fight the new laws in court. Legal experts are not optimistic that he will be able to reverse the laws. All the representatives in the General Assembly are to be voted on this coming year in newly apportioned districts after a ruling by a judge that the current district maps drawn by the legislature were illegally gerrymandered.

Gail Nussbaum

Gail Nussbaum has been involved in politics and diplomacy for over 15 years. Her interest in foreign relations, economics and budget policy has led her to her position as fiscal policy writer at Left Justified. Gail can be contacted at gailnussbaum(at)

View all posts by Gail Nussbaum →