Under the Dome

Gov. Roy Cooper says he could sue legislators again next week

Roy Cooper speaks during a press conference at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016.
Roy Cooper speaks during a press conference at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. ehyman@newsobserver.com

Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday that he’ll likely challenge more elements of the legislature’s power shift next week.

Cooper has voiced strong opposition to several bills that limit his authority and were approved by the legislature last month and signed by outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. He has already sued over a law that reduces his power over the state’s elections board, and a court hearing in that case was held Thursday.

“There will be court proceedings,” Cooper said during a news conference Thursday. “There was one today, there will be more in the future.”

Cooper declined to say which provisions of the new laws he’ll challenge in a lawsuit, but said he expects the filing will “probably be next week sometime.”

So far, Cooper hasn’t filed formal challenges to new limits on the number of state employees he has the power to hire and fire. McCrory had that power over 1,500 state employees, but the legislature reduced that number to 425. The law also requires his cabinet appointees to be confirmed by the state Senate. And it takes away the governor’s power to appoint several members of each UNC system campus’ Board of Trustees.

“We have attorneys who are looking very carefully at all of the provisions, looking at the constitutionality of them,” Cooper said.

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