Video of the press conference today announcing this lawsuit can be viewed here: http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/video/16651600/
By GARY D. ROBERTSON, Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. — Laws approved by the Republican-dominated legislature that reduced powers of North Carolina's new Democratic governor are getting challenged again — this time on arguments that the December special session in which they were approved was illegal.
Government reform group Common Cause and 10 state residents sued Wednesday in Wake County Superior Court alleging that legislative leaders violated the state Constitution when the session convened Dec. 14 after only two hours' notice that it would occur. Republican lawmakers have said the session was called properly.
Lawmakers had quietly accumulated colleagues' signatures to convene themselves almost immediately after another session ended that had been called by then-GOP Gov. Pat McCrory for that week and in which they approved a Hurricane Matthew relief and recovery package.
By the time the second session had ended Dec. 16, GOP lawmakers had passed laws shifting control over administering elections from incoming Gov. Roy Cooper to themselves and subjecting his Cabinet to Senate confirmation.
Other laws approved under a compressed parliamentary schedule also reduced the number of employees Cooper could hire compared to McCrory, made appeals court elections officially partisan races and moved powers from the State Board of Elections to the state schools superintendent.
Cooper and others already have sued over the laws, with mixed results to date. While the elections administration changes were struck down by a three-judge panel last month, the confirmation mandate was upheld. Wednesday's lawsuit takes a different tact by arguing rights to due process and for the people to "instruct their representatives" within the state Constitution were violated by the swift session.