Two of the most powerful officials in the state are pointing fingers at each other in a dispute over who has the authority to stop the production of Confederate license plates. Governor Pat McCrory and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger claim to lack the authority to mandate that the DMV to no longer issue the controversial plates.
"If I did, I'd do it right today. But it's my understanding that there is a clear statute that does not give me that authority. I was actually wanting to have that executive authority, but we understand clearly that the statute is written and would need to be clarified by the legislature," said McCrory at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Berger was unmoved by the claim this issue has anything to do with statute. On the floor of the Senate he said this issue falls under McCrory's purview.
"Our position is that if there is something on a plate, whether it's this one or another plate, that the executive branch determines is offensive, inappropriate, that they should be able to administratively deal with that," Berger explained.
With these lawmakers deflecting the issue back and forth, it's unclear what steps could come next. Following the tragedy in Charleston last week there have been renewed calls to remove the Confederate flag at the Capitol in Columbia, South Carolina.
The North Carolina Confederate flag flies over the Capitol twice a year. The DMV has issued more than two thousand license plates with confederate flags.