Changes to oversite committee approved in state budget are raising some concerns

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The North Carolina State Budget approved by state lawmakers has changes that are raising some questions in some Democrats.

One change Republicans pushed is a state oversight committee that will now have more power to investigate state and local government.

The committee stemmed from Hurricane Florence and is looking into why families are still displaced nearly 5 years later.

Pitt County Democratic Representative Gloristine Brown says there can be some good in this, but concerns still remain.

“I do understand their thoughts and the process of where they’re coming from as to people who are still needing help, but I just have an issue with why it’s taken so long because it was in 2018. My thought process is, this is something that should not have been inside of the budget and could have just stood alone,” Brown told WITN.

The committee would not only be able to investigate state and local government but would also be able to look into private companies and charities that are receiving funding from the government.

People who the committee feels haven’t been fully cooperative could also be charged with a crime.

Anyone under investigation would face strict confidentiality rules such as being unable to talk to their coworkers, media, or anyone else about the legislature’s actions.

Committee members would also be able to demand access to buildings and even people’s private homes.

The committee’s investigators could also subpoena people and documents from private companies as well as charities that receive government funding.

“To me, I think that’s a little bit too far out there because I really believe in my heart that if we could’ve gotten a committee together and looked into some of these… I think you can be aggressive but not as aggressive as this– but I mean, really put your foot down and say we need this information, I think that would’ve solved the problem,” said Brown.

WITN reached out to over a dozen Republican Representatives in North Carolina, however, we did not hear back or were told no comment.