GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Speaking only about veto overrides and the budget that hasn’t been passed, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) on Thursday delayed until Aug. 15 when his chamber would act on basically any matters.
“We will push back the veto override votes for a week,” Moore said in a perfunctory meeting apparently attended by only one member of the House. The votes had been scheduled for Aug. 7, but after conferring about the calendar, he said it would be “Aug. 15.”
His issue with having votes on veto overrides is simple math: Three-fifths of those in attendance in the session would have to approve a motion to override. Moore simply is taking a roll call and knowing when he can convene enough members to make that happen.
He did say that the delay should not be “taken as a negative to the budget process. That’s moving right along.”
He said his Appropriations chairs would return next week to facilitate those discussions.
“The Senate has some attendance issues in August,” he said about completing the process of approving the budget that was supposed to take effect on July 1. “We had our own attendance issues in the past couple of weeks.”
One of those senior chairs of the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) – Reps. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) and Dean Arp (R-Union) are the others – said last week that he expected “we need two weeks to finish up.”
That would coincide with Moore’s prediction Thursday that there “could be a vote on the budget later in August.”
The House had passed its version of the budget around Easter. The Senate followed with its plan in mid-May, which the House rejected on May 24. The two budgets do vary greatly, including the amount of raises for teachers and state employees, but Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) have said most of the issues have been worked out.
But Cooper and Democratic leaders have complained that the delay also has postponed the expansion of Medicaid coverage to more than 600,000 residents, a link that was approved in the law passed earlier this year.
They also complain that schools are scheduled to open on Aug. 28 without school districts knowing what they will have to spend on salaries.
Into the middle of all of this has been a debate about what the income tax rate should be and the suggestion that the state should allow casinos to be built outside of tribal lands, including in Rockingham County, where residents aren’t keen on the idea. That plan could be tied to the budget bill.
Berger didn’t mention any of this in a very brief convening of the Senate on Thursday. That session lasted roughly 2 minutes and included essentially just a prayer. Both chambers are scheduled to reconvene on Monday afternoon, and Berger did say that would be “no votes.”
The override votes
The Senate has its own override of one of Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto to consider. That’s Senate Bill 49, the much-discussed “Parents Bill of Rights.” Then Senators might have to take votes on overrides after the House has acted.
Early in July, 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.”
They joined two other bills that Cooper vetoed in late June – the controversial “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” and “Gender Transition/Minors” bill.
Veto overrides have happened about 10 times this session, including a record six in one day, since Republicans gained the supermajority in March. All the votes have been along party lines.
That’s when Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County flipped from a Democrat to a Republican and wiped out the 1-vote margin against a supermajority that Democrats had when the session began. The GOP had 30 of the 50 votes in the Senate.
Guilford County school board
The delays in votes also would mean that the Guilford County Board of Education would remain status quo for another month. Its next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 15.
Senators must vote to accept House changes on Senate Bill 9, which had been adapted to clarify how the school board would fill vacancies and also to install former teacher Michael Logan, who had been nominated by Republicans to fill out a term in District 3 but subsequently rejected by the Democrat-controlled board because members didn’t like Logan’s prior comments about the board.
SB 9 was a bill about the Apex Town Council that is titled “Local Omnibus Bill,” but it was amended by Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) to require the Guilford County BOE to remove Republican Bill Goebel from the seat he has held since April.