RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – No state budget, no overrides of vetoes, no progress on anything until next month. That’s where the North Carolina House left its business.

In a brief meeting on Thursday morning – when the agenda included override votes on four vetoes from Gov. Roy Cooper – Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) told the few people attending that those votes would be rescheduled for Aug. 7 and that it was unlikely that any other votes would take place until then.


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House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, gavels in a session(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

That includes action on the state’s biennial budget, which was supposed to take effect on July 1.

The House passed a budget in early April, but the Senate made changes, which the House then rejected on May 24. That sent the budget to a conference committee appointed by leadership to generate a compromise. That hasn’t happened yet.

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) had said he expected the compromise could be completed by the end of June. Democrats have bemoaned the impact of that delay on both the expansion of Medicaid (and some losing benefits) and the approaching school year that could begin with districts and state employees not knowing their budgets or salaries.

“I expect a significant number of votes the week of Aug. 7,” Moore said on Thursday morning. “Hopefully, the budget will be on schedule to be discussed that week, too.

“There are a lot of negotiations that have to happen to get to a conference report to be agreed upon by the chambers. There is no need to have members voting on a smattering of bills.”

After a question from Rep. Joe John (D-Wake), Moore said there was a “chance some other bills will get a vote the week of 31st but those will not be overrides.”

The Senate 30 minutes later gaveled into session, heard a prayer, and adjourned, with plans to reconvene on Monday afternoon (as will the House), and Berger said, “No votes will occur.” There are no committee meetings on the calendar this week, either, meaning pending legislation is idled.

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper holds up his veto stamp. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum)

About 10 minutes after Berger seconded a motion to adjourn, Cooper’s office issued another statement that suggests that the delay in a budget after the end of the fiscal year on June 30 costs taxpayers approximately $42,000 a day and that delayed payments for Medicaid expansion cost about $500 million a month.

“Republican leaders have two supermajorities and no one to blame for this impasse but themselves,” Cooper said in the release. “When they are here, they care more about divisive national politics than helping working people. They should return from vacation, get to work, turn the switch to start Medicaid Expansion and pass an education budget that helps middle-class families and stops tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.”

Moore later told reporters that the House and Senate had agreed on pay raises, The News & Observer reported. He wouldn’t reveal the number but said he was “very pleased.”

The Senate’s budget had called for 5% raises for most state employees and 4.5% for teachers, both distributed over the two years. The House had sought 10.2% average raises for teachers and at least 7.5% for state employees.

Veto overrides

Some of those politics are at play in bills that Cooper has vetoed. He gets 10 days to consider whether he will veto a bill, sign it or allow it to become law, lawmakers have until the end of the session – and even a possible special session – to consider override votes.

The timing is based on leadership’s need to ensure there are enough attendees. A three-fifths approval of those present is required to override a veto.


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About two weeks ago, the House received the official messages that Cooper had vetoed two more bills: House Bill 618, the “Charter School Review Board” bill, and House Bill 488, “Code Council Reorg. and Var. Code Amend.” The House also has two bills that Cooper vetoed in late June – the controversial “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” and “Gender Transition/Minors” bill.

Should the House vote to override, then the Senate would reconsider those four bills. Senators also have another controversial override to get to the House: SB 49, the much-discussed “Parents Bill of Rights.”

Veto overrides have happened about 10 times this session, including a record six in one day, since Republicans gained the supermajority in March, when Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County stunningly flipped from a Democrat to a Republican, eradicating the 1-vote edge Democrats had held when the session began. The GOP already had 30 of the 50 votes in the Senate.

Languishing bills

Guilford County Board of Education nominee Michael Logan
Guilford County Board of Education nominee Michael Logan

There also are several pending bills that aren’t being considered. One of those is Senate Bill 9, a bill about the Apex Town Council that is titled “Local Omnibus Bill” that was amended by Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) to require the Guilford County Board of Education to remove Republican Bill Goebel from his seat in District 3 and replace him with the candidate preferred by Guilford County Republican leadership, former teacher Michael Logan.

There also is the controversial Senate Bill 90, which House members gutted and replaced with controversial language involving public schools. That altered bill was scheduled to be considered by the House Education K-12 Committee on July 12 – a surprise move that Democrats decried – and then was pulled right before members gathered.

William J. “Bill” Goebel, the GOP representative for District 3 on the Guilford County Board of Education (WGHP)

SB 90 had been a two-paragraph measure about student searches that unanimously passed the Senate on March 28, but it morphed into significant policy changes for public schools that could allow for parents to have superintendents fired and public librarians to be prosecuted. The proposed bill included language that suggested the standoffs – sometimes orchestrated by the right-wing “extremist” group Moms for Liberty – that have led to some of the more volatile confrontations at school board meetings across the state and nation.

But Moore told reporters that the bill appears dead for this session, WRAL reported, saying, “I don’t know that the votes are there for it.” Moore told reporters Thursday. He said most policy-related committees are shut down for the session.

“I don’t know that that bill is going to move this session,” WRAL quoted Moore as saying. “There needs to be a lot more discussion in our caucus. And we’ll have to see where the caucus comes down right now.”

WRAL reported Moore said there “was some pushback within the caucus about some provisions concerning librarians or books.”

If that bill’s future is unclear, so is the medical marijuana bill passed by the Senate. Dozens of other basic bills have moved from one chamber to the other for consideration, including the potential for expanding casino gambling. Cooper would get a review on most of them.

Budget negotiations

But the biggest concern perhaps is the absence of a budget.

The budgets passed by the House and the Senate do vary greatly. The variations of raises for teachers and state employees have gotten a lot of the headlines.  Cooper has declared a “state of emergency” based on how public education was treated in the budget.

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State Rep. Robert Reives II (D-Randolph), the House minority leader. (WGHP)

Rep. Robert Reives III (D-Randolph), the House minority leader, had said at a press conference on July 12 that he understood budget negotiations were going on at a “very high level,” implying that Berger and Moore were principals and not the appointed conferees.

“We decided to move with speed and to streamline so we would have a budget,” he said. “I can’t believe I stand here on this date in July and we don’t have a budget. We are waiting for school personnel to get raises, for state employees to get raises and for critical funding.”

Cooper’s office issued a separate statement on Wednesday detailing how leaders of 40 school districts – including at least three in the Piedmont Triad – and the chair of the State Board of Education had spoken out against the legislature’s plans in funding public education.