Two Democratic state senators this week called on House Speaker Jim Black to step down from his leadership post, saying his legal troubles are a distraction and could damage the public's view of the General Assembly.
"Because of what he's done, he has lost the trust of the people of North Carolina," Sen. Julia Boseman, D-New Hanover, said in calling for his resignation from the post.
The State Board of Elections is examining whether criminal charges should be filed against Black, D-Mecklenburg, or his campaign for accepting incomplete contribution checks from eye doctors and forwarding them to a close ally.
Sen. John Snow, D-Cherokee, said in a letter to the editor in a weekly newspaper that it was the House's decision whether to remove him from the position.
"For the good of the General Assembly as an institution, I personally think Speaker Black should step aside until these questions are resolved so that the Legislature can focus on doing the people's business," he wrote to The Cherokee Scout.
Three House Democrats also have asked Black to resign of step down temporarily. House Democrats will meet early next week and are likely to discuss the future of the four-term speaker.
Black has said he has no plans to resign. The speaker believes he has the support of most of the other 62 House Democrats, a spokeswoman said.
Black's office also has provided thousands of pages of documents to a federal grand jury examining about 28 people or organizations, including many linked to the video poker and lottery industries. His former political director, Meredith Norris, is also being investigated by the state for possibly lobbying law violations while working with the speaker.