Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 3:05 PM

Read Directions Before Using

It sounds like a girl thing but it pays to read the directions first, in this case the North Carolina Constitution.

Our state went red on election day. But don't be confused by the leaderships' team colors; the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Executive Branch are distinct players when it comes to making state policy. The Governor has different responsibilities and privileges than the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. And the tensions between the branches of government, and chambers of the legislature are designed to provide the checks and balances that protect our democracy.

The powers of the Governor are prescribed by our Constitution: "The Governor shall from time to time give the General Assembly information of the affairs of the State and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall deem expedient." And, "The Governor shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed."

As are the legislative powers:  "Each house shall be the judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members, shall sit upon its own adjournment from day to day, and shall prepare bills to be enacted into laws."

To sum up, the Governor proposes, the House and Senate enact, the Governor implements. And, the Legislature is the boss of its own self -- or selves.

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