The North Carolina Senate passed House Bill 39 Thursday, which would shrink the membership of the UNC-system Board of Governors from 32 to 24 if signed into law.
The state House of Representatives passed the draft of the bill last Wednesday — with only four votes against it.
The N.C. Senate will read the bill once more before it goes to Gov. Roy Cooper to be signed.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett. Greg Gebhardt, Lewis' policy advisor, said the downsizing of the BOG is structural — and many people, including UNC-system president Margaret Spellings, voiced concerns of its size affecting its efficiency.
“We had heard from some members of the board that it became challenging at times to get the work done,” Gebhardt said.
Rep. John Autry, D-Mecklenburg, was one of the four representatives who voted against the bill. He said he was concerned that some UNC-system schools would not get enough representation on a smaller version of the Board of Governors.
“My concern is North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T, Fayetteville State, (UNC-)Pembroke, those schools, there is no assurance that they will be represented on the future board,” he said.
Autry said an amendment proposed by Rep. Henry Michaux Jr., D-Durham, would have required that the board’s representation reflect all of the Universities within the systems.
“That amendment failed, and so I voted against the bill,” he said.