- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on the North Carolina Senate beginning the new process of confirming the governor’s Cabinet appointments (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

The North Carolina Senate Republican leading the process of examining Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s Cabinet secretaries is downplaying the potential for conflict even as Cooper is challenging in court the law creating the confirmation mandate.

Senate nominations committee co-chairman Bill Rabon said Tuesday he should hope all of Cooper’s choices are confirmed by a majority of senators. The committee held its first meeting to lay out a six-week process to formally examine Cooper’s secretaries.

A law setting up the confirmation mandate was approved by the previous edition of the General Assembly in December, just two weeks before Cooper was sworn in. Cooper sued to overturn it.

It’s unclear how Cooper’s department heads will participate in the process. Cooper spokesman Ford Porter says the confirmation law is “clearly unconstitutional” and urged lawmakers to let the court decide its legality first.

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4:40 a.m.

Republicans in the North Carolina state Senate are ready to talk about how the chamber will carry out its new job of formally scrutinizing the governor’s Cabinet.

Leaders of a Senate nominations committee scheduled a meeting Tuesday to lay out the confirmation process.

The General Assembly approved a law last month two weeks before Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper took office directing his 10 department heads to be subject to the “advice and consent” by a majority of senators. Cooper says the law is unconstitutional and has sued to try to block it, but there’s nothing to prevent senators from moving forward.

The eight Cabinet secretaries Cooper has named to date already are sworn in and are able to perform their duties.

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