Agency committed to the ongoing work of elections administration, ethics enforcement

RALEIGH, N.C. — Members of the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement met for the first time Friday after the N.C. Court of Appeals on Thursday afternoon temporarily reinstated legislation merging the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission.

The State Ethics Commission had scheduled a regular meeting for Friday, but after the court issued its order, the newly created board met instead. The law designates that the Ethics Commissioners serve as members of the new State Board through June 30.

“We remain committed to the ongoing work of elections administration and ethics enforcement as the case moves through the courts,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, acting executive director of the State Board.

The General Assembly in December enacted Session Law 2016-125, creating the new State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, reassigning duties previously performed by the State Board of Elections, the State Ethics Commission and designated staff at the Office of the Secretary of State. A panel of three Superior Court judges paused the merger in January to consider a challenge brought by Gov. Roy Cooper.

The Court of Appeals temporarily reinstated the law Thursday, while it considers the General Assembly’s request to allow the merger to proceed while the trial court hears the case. Governor Cooper has asked the N.C. Supreme Court to again pause the merger.

At the time of this release, the Supreme Court has not issued a response.

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