Two laws passed in special session remain on hold due to lawsuits

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

RALEIGH — A three-judge panel on Thursday decided to extend a restraining order against implementation of a law that would combine the N.C.State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission into one bipartisan State Board. The panel made the decision after Gov. Roy Cooper sued the legislature over the law saying the new board unconstitutionally stripped him of his power.The pending law combines the board into one body with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, independent of any branch of government. Under the old system, Cooper would have appointed a majority of the Board of Elections.”I think it’s an aggressive power grab by the governor to push forward his agenda,” said N.C. House Majority Leader John Bell in an interview with the North State Journal. “It’s interesting that he chooses when he becomes governor, instead of the last eight years that he was attorney general, to actually fight issues.”In a different ruling Friday, a three-judge panel decided to leave a temporary restraining order on another law that transfers more control over the public school budget and public charter school system to new Republican DPI head Mark Johnson. In that lawsuit, the N.C. State Board of Education is suing the legislature, claiming the law usurps the constitutional power granted the board. The judges decided to leave a temporary restraining order in place until a full hearing can be rescheduled.