Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Republican-led North Carolina legislature trying to change local governments, even in rural areas

Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly have introduced bills that "would reconfigure a number of local government bodies around the state, prompting allegations that Republicans are gerrymandering and changing election rules at the city council and county commission levels," Richard Fausset reports for The New York Times. Republicans say the bills would improve government and increase representation in some areas. Democrats claim the Republicans-led House and Senate are trying to change the rules to dictate future elections.

"Some of the bills under consideration would redraw districts and change the number of board members, while others would convert all of the state’s nonpartisan school board races to partisan ones," Fausset writes.

Bills even affect small rural areas such as Trinity, a nonpartisan town with a population around 6,600, where lawmakers want to shrink the City Council from nine members to six, Fausset writes. While Republicans say the current board is too large and results in too much in-fighting, critics say the move is an attempt to make the board Republican-controlled by getting rid of Democratics.

Even Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has spoken out against the Republican push, Fausset writes. He told reporters last month, “If someone wants to change the form of government in one of your cities, then go run for city council, for mayor.” (Read more)

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