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Rabon bill would mean sweeping changes to state boards, commissions

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- If a bill in the state Senate becomes law, there will be some big changes on state boards and commissions, including the NC Utilities Commission and the Coastal Resources Commission.

The bill proposes dismissing members of the bodies, and letting the governor and Republican-led legislature appoint new members.

When the Coastal Resources Commission met at UNCW Wednesday, Sen. Bill Rabon's plan to streamline state government was a hot topic.

"One of the primary issues everyone is talking about now is Senate Bill 10, which just went through the Rules Committee yesterday, and that bill would eliminate all the sitting commissioners, so they could be reappointed. It would also reduce the size of the commission from 15 members to 11," NC Division of Coastal Management Spokeswoman Michele Walker said.

That means the CRC would remain, but with new members chosen by the McCrory administration.

The new members could be involved in coastal land management.

Coastal Resource Commission chairman Bob Emory just found about about SB 10.

"I didn't know anything about it till yesterday," Emory said.

In addition to the CRC, an advisory board call the Coastal Resources Advisory Council would be affected.

"What I've seen about it, it's misguided," CRAC member Webb Fuller said. "There are 20 coastal counties, there are a number of coastal cities, and we need good representation "

The council would be reduced from 45 to only 20 seats. People at the coastal resource meeting are concerned about losing experience.

"You're not only losing existing technical background, you're losing folks who have been in these seats for over 10 years, so you're losing a great deal of institutional knowledge," CRAC member Tracy Skrabal said.

We tried to talk with Sen. Rabon today, but he did not return our calls.

The StarNews reported he told a Senate committee the commissions should be run by appointees who "are more like-minded and willing to carry out the philosophy of the new administration."

If approved, the legislation would also dismiss all current members of the state Industrial Commission, Environmental Management Commission and Wildlife Resources Commission. It would eliminate other bodies altogether.

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