News: Quick Takes

Senate overrides Cooper veto on partisan judicial elections; H.B. 100 becomes law

Updated, 2:19 p.m.

Another day, another veto override vote went against Gov. Roy Cooper.

On Thursday, after minimal debate the state Senate voted 32-15 to override Cooper’s veto of House Bill 100, a measure restoring partisan designations on the ballot for Superior and District court elections. With Wednesday’s 74-44 override from the House, the  measure becomes law.

Unlike the House floor discussions, which included impassioned debate about the nature of partisanship and a Democratic allegation that judges who won election under a partisan affiliations could not uphold their constitutional oath of office, the Senate took about two minutes to dispatch Cooper’s veto.

Senate Majority Whip Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, briefly urged support of the override.

Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, D-Wake, citing statements made by federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, who’s in the confirmation process for an open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, said judges were not supposed to be Democrats or Republicans while serving on the bench.

Two Republican senators sided with Cooper, John Alexander of Wake County and Danny Earl Britt of Robeson County. All Democrats voted to sustain the veto, but Republicans needed only 30 votes to override.

“For years, Gov. Cooper and his allies have stoked fears of voter disenfranchisement — yet when he had the opportunity to actually increase voter involvement, he rejected a measure that the data suggests would do just that,” Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said in a statement after the vote. “I’m pleased the General Assembly corrected the governor’s misstep and this bill is now law.”

Update: Cooper’s press secretary Ford Porter issued the following statement after the Senate vote:

“Injecting partisan politics into our courts is wrong and harmful to our state. Once again, as with H.B. 2, legislative Republicans have created a solution in search of a problem to advance a divisive political agenda that won’t create good jobs, improve our schools, or put more money in the pockets of middle class families. Governor Cooper will continue to fight for better priorities.”