Senate Vows 'Consequences' If Hall Doesn't Show For Third Time

Feb 22, 2017

Larry Hall (left) and Governor Roy Cooper (right) during the press conference announcing Hall was Cooper's pick to lead the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Credit NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

For the second time, a North Carolina Senate committee has attempted to hold a confirmation hearing for a member of Governor Roy Cooper's cabinet. And, for the second time, that attempt has failed.

It seems our Democratic governor and GOP-controlled state Senate are playing a game of chicken, with each betting the other side will flinch on the confirmation process.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Senate Commerce and Industry committee again held a hearing to confirm Larry Hall as secretary of North Carolina's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Hall did not show up. But as committee Chairman Wesley Meredith pointed out, Hall has been active in his new role.

"He attended a meeting of the North Carolina Military and Veterans Affairs commission as its secretary. And the department's website lists him as its secretary."

Senate leaders say a clause in the state constitution gives them the right to advise and consent on who gets to be in the governor's cabinet. And Meredith warned that Hall better show up for Thursday's hearing, or else.

"He should bear in mind that there are consequences when state officials refuse to follow the law. This meeting is adjourned."

Just what those consequences could be was not discussed. The General Assembly could issue a subpoena to compel Hall to show up. Or members could simply vote against his confirmation.

But that would open up a whole new can of legal worms.

Governor Cooper has sued the general assembly saying this confirmation process harms his ability to run the state's executive branch. A state court recently said the hearings could take place, but told Cooper's lawyer the governor could come back to the court if one of his cabinet picks is not confirmed.

The overall issue is due to be argued in court next month.