After a month-long break for some, state lawmakers are getting back to work this week. Here is a preview of a few things North Carolinians might see in Raleigh this week:
- Veto overrides
Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed 14 bills so far this year, six of which are currently in the hands of the General Assembly. Both House and Senate chambers will likely hold override votes on all six bills on Wednesday, depending on how many Republicans and Democrats show up, respectively, since multiple override votes may fall along partisan lines.
Here are the bills the legislature is poised to override this week:
- House Bill 219: Charter School Omnibus
- House Bill 488: Code Council Reorganization and Various Code Amendments
- House Bill 574: Fairness in Women’s Sports Act
- House Bill 618: Charter School Review Board
- House Bill 808: Gender Transition for Minors
- Senate Bill 49: Parents Bill of Rights
In the House, all 72 Republican votes will be needed to meet the three-fifths threshold to override Cooper’s veto on each bill, if all 120 members are in attendance. Here is the math for how many votes are needed to override a veto based on member attendance:
- If 120 members are present, 72 votes are needed.
- If 119 members are present, 72 votes are needed.
- If 118 members are present, 71 votes are needed.
- If 117 members are present, 71 votes are needed.
- If 116 members are present, 70 votes are needed.
- If 115 members are present, 69 votes are needed.
- If 114 members are present, 69 votes are needed.
- If 113 members are present, 68 votes are needed.
- If 112 members are present, 68 votes are needed.
- If 111 members are present, 67 votes are needed.
Rev. William Barber
Rev. William Barber, a left-wing minister and social justice activist, was seen meeting with Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, D-Wake, on Monday morning. Barber is known for organizing large protests, some of which have been considered threatening to staffers.
In May earlier this year, Barber led a protest where activists intimidated Republican legislative staffers, banged on their doors, and chanted they were not an “insurrection” but a “resurrection.”
In one instance, Barber’s activists pounded on a locked door of an office where only one female staffer was inside, according to a source.
Another staffer said they felt terrorized, and several others said it felt like Barber’s group was trying to intimidate them.
2. Changes to Election Law
On Friday evening, Rep. Grey Mills, R-Iredell, sent out a notice that the House Committee on Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform would be meeting on Tuesday. Members of the committee will be voting on changes to Senate Bill 747, which previously laid a framework for major election law changes.
Amongst a number of changes, the bill makes early voting a unique method rather than a subset of absentee voting to bring North Carolina in line with how other states handle the process.
Dr. Andy Jackson of the John Locke Foundation’s Center for Election Integrity says the proposal is “a solid bill.”
“The original bill already took several important steps toward making our elections more secure,” said Jackson. “The amended version takes even more steps. In addition, the recodifying in the bill will make the law more clear for election officials, observers, and the public. The PCS is a big improvement on an already good bill.”
There are other changes to the bill, including the following:
- The revised measure has 66 mentions of “one-stop” or “one-stop absentee” that are stricken from and replaced with “early voting.” It also bans the use of ballot drop boxes.
- The PCS also incorporates House Bill 772, reforms clarifying what election observers may and may not do at election sites, into S747 and makes changes to same-day registration to remove ballots if the registration is not confirmed by a county election board’s verification mailing.
- The bill would also require election officials to keep a log of the names and addresses of any adult who enters a voting place except for voters, election officials, observers, and runners.
Bill writers have included a severability clause in the PCS, meaning that if one part of the bill is struck down in a lawsuit, the rest of the bill remains in effect.
3. Budget negotiations continue
State budget negotiations are stalled as House and Senate lawmakers are too far apart to reach a deal. Reportedly, there will not be a final budget agreement until September, following what had initially been a June 30 deadline.
The Senate is prioritizing accelerated personal income tax cuts for North Carolinians, building and legalizing multiple new casinos around the state, funding $1.425 billion toward a private endowment project called NCInnovation, plus a 4.5% pay raise for teachers (5% for other state employees) over the next two years.
The House wants to install revenue triggers onto the tax cuts as a means of ensuring sufficient state revenue, funding NCInnovation at a lower level annually instead of a one-time endowment, and 10% raises for teachers over the next two years while raising pay for state employees by 7.5%.
The House and Senate are both set to convene for votes on Wednesday.