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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Council of State

by John V. Orth, 2006

The Council of State comprises North Carolina's executive branch of government. Under the North Carolina Constitution, it is composed of ten elected officers: the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, attorney general, and commissioners of agriculture, labor, and insurance. The locus of considerable power in the antebellum period, the modern Council of State is assigned little power directly by the state constitution. It is given an important role by statute in certain decisions, particularly in the purchase of property by the state.

Additional information from NCpedia editors at the State Library of North Carolina: : 

Article III of North Carolina's State Constitution enumerates the composition and powers of the state's Executive Branch, as well as the function and powers of the Council of State.  To learn more, visit Article III online: https://www.ncleg.gov/Laws/Constitution/Article3

Additional Resources:

Website for the Office of the Governor of North Carolina: http://governor.nc.gov/

Website for the Executive Branch of the State of North Carolina: http://www.nc.gov/government/nc-government (includes listing of Council of State)

State of North Carolina. Constitution of 1971: Article III. https://www.ncleg.gov/Laws/Constitution/Article3

Authors: 

Comments

Comment: 

Do you know the term length for council members?

Comment: 

Hello,

There are no term limits specifically for the Council of State. The Council is made up of elected officials and as long as they are elected, they will be the members of the Council of State: 

  •  NC Governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Secretary of State
  • State Auditor
  • Treasurer
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Attorney General
  • Commissioner of Agriculture
  • Commissioner of Labor
  • Commissioner of Insurance

Regarding term limits, you need to look at each position.

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

Was the council of state formed to reduce the power of the governor by taking away his cabinet?

Comment: 

Was the council of state established to take the governor's cabinet away to reduce his power by a majority vote of an opposing party?

Comment: 

Is NC unique in having a somewhat functioning Council?

Comment: 

Hello, 

I did some research to see if other states have a Council of State. It does seem to be the only one with that name, but there also seems to be what is called a Council of Government. I have not been able to find out if they interact in the same way as a Council of State. 

Hope that helps; 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

Is the governor required by law to convene the Council of State before he can sign any executive order?

Comment: 

Hello,

Since this seems to be a popular topic, I am updating my original post to share the answer.

On the Governor's office website, about half-way down, it says that the Governor's duties are mandated by the State Constitution and the General Statutes of the state (https://www.nc.gov/agency/governor-office). Article III of the state constitution (https://www.ncleg.gov/Laws/Constitution/Article3) lays out the duties of the Governor. There is no mention that I could find that requires him to convene the Council of State in relation to an executive order. For the General Statutes, the only thing I can find that mentions the Council of State is in reference to when the Governor declares a State of Emergency (https://www.ncleg.gov/enactedlegislation/statutes/pdf/bysection/chapter_...). However, I see nothing about a requirement to convene the Council of State regarding an executive order. 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

Could you send me the answer to the above person's question please?

Comment: 

How does the Council of State function? Does it as a body manage anything? Who convenes it? Who or how are its topics selected? If the body decides issue, to whom is the decision directed?

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