General Assembly adjourns special session after passing bills to limit Cooper's powers

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina legislature has adjourned its special session in what Democrats and hundreds of protesters says is an unconstitutional power grab by GOP legislators unhappy with the incoming Democratic governor.

Republicans call it a lawful effort to rebalance the branches of government before a new administration takes office. Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper takes office in two weeks.

The Republican-controlled legislature passed two bills - one has already been signed by outgoing Gov. Pat McCrory. It merges the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission into one panel and prevents Cooper from putting a Democratic majority on the state elections board in 2017.

The other bill presented to McCrory would force Cooper's Cabinet choices to face Senate confirmation.

Before adjourning, lawmakers confirmed a state commission appointment for the wife of McCrory's chief of staff.

More than 50 protesters were arrested Thursday and Friday for disturbing House and Senate floor sessions. According to the General Assembly Police Department, 17 people were arrested during protests Thursday and 43 were arrested Friday. At least one reported was among those arrested.

Shortly after the session adjourned, Cooper released the following statement:

"Once more, the courts will have to clean up the mess the legislature made, but it won't stop us from moving North Carolina forward."

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