North Carolina lottery commissioners could be stripped of their appointments for just cause under a bill recommended Tuesday by a House committee.
The change comes after Kevin Geddings resigned from the commission last November as it was revealed he had worked for Scientific Games Corp., a company that tried unsuccessfully to win North Carolina's lottery business.
House Speaker Jim Black appointed Geddings, but said later he wouldn't have had he known about Geddings' work with Scientific Games. Under the lottery law approved last August, Black, Senate leader Marc Basnight and Gov. Mike Easley were given no authority to remove their appointees.
Geddings could have chosen to remain at his post until his term expired in August 2008, barring any state ethics violations.
Basnight's office initially proposed allowing commissioners to serve at the pleasure of whoever appointed them, but the language was later removed.
"I think it's a good idea that there be some procedures for removing them for cause," House Majority Leader Joe Hackney, D-Orange, said after the proposal cleared his House judiciary committee.
The measure is part of an annual bill that makes more than 50 minor changes to existing law or bills that may be approved or signed into law in the coming weeks.
Unlike previous years, this session's "technical corrections" bill appears to contain few substantive changes and mostly corrects typographical and grammatical errors. It now goes to the full House.
"It's a very clean bill as regards to (having) no surprises," Hackney said.
There are some nontechnical changes. One provision would allow company police officers authorized by the state to make arrests to carry concealed weapons without receiving a permit. There is no opposition to the change, Hackney said.
The bill — the passage of which is considered one of the final obstacles to the Legislature's adjournment — also would:
- clarify that a ban on video poker machines approved this year wouldn't apply to arcade-type games that don't produce receipts or tokens that could be redeemed for cash or merchandise.
- ensure that private drinking water wells expected to be regulated by counties in a bill awaiting Easley's signature would be chlorinated to kill contaminants.
- clarify the definition of "antique firearm." Convicted felons are allowed to purchase or collect those weapons without being charged with buying or possessing a gun.