Members of the North Carolina General Assembly are back in Raleigh Tuesday to vote on overriding another round of vetoes from Governor Roy Cooper. During this legislative session alone Cooper has vetoed nineteen bills from the Republican-led state legislature and fourteen have been overridden. On Tuesday, the remaining five are on the calendar.
Bills up for a veto override first go to the chamber where they originated, so the House has one scheduled, House Bill 600, the Regulatory Reform Act of 2023 vetoed by Cooper last week.
In the Senate, lawmakers will weigh overriding S.B. 749, No Partisan Advantage in Elections, which passed both chambers on Sept. 22 with no Democrats voting in favor of it. The bill would restructure the state Board of Elections by splitting appointments between the majority and minority party leaders in the state legislature. NCSBE appointment are currently made by the governor on recommendations by the two biggest state parties, with a tie-breaking seat also appointed by the governor. Unlike under current law, unaffiliated voters would be able to serve on the board. under S.B. 749.
The vetoed Senate Bill 747 will also be reconsidered by lawmakers. It drew national attention after Cooper accused lawmakers of “racism” after its passage because it requires, among other measures, that election day be the deadline for absentee votes. It also bans private groups from covering some elections’ administrative costs, and clarifies the rights and duties of election observers. Cooper released a video on social media opposing the bill.
“If you are black or brown, Republicans really don’t want you to vote,” Cooper said in the August video.
S.B. 747 contains no provisions concerning race. Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, responded, saying Cooper was “mischaracterizing a bill that simply strengthens election integrity in North Carolina.”
Lawmakers will also reconsider the Clean Energy Act (SB 678) which is designed to help pave the way for more investment in nuclear energy in North Carolina. It had all Senate Republicans and one Democrat voting in favor. In the House, it passed 66 to 36 with support from nine Democrats and all Republicans but one.
The measure would relabel “renewable energy resources” as “clean energy resources” in the State’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and add nuclear fission and fusion into the definition of clean energy. It would make nuclear energy a viable option for replacing coal-fired power plants with new, cleaner sources, and extends closure deadlines for certain coal-fired plants.
The fourth override on Wednesday’s Senate calendar is Senate Bill 512, which shifts appointment powers at nine key boards and commissions, including the N.C. Utility Commission, which regulates Duke Energy and other utilities; the Board of Transportation, which makes road funding decisions; and the Environmental Management Commission, responsible for regulations involving air and water quality.
The Senate gavels in at 9:30 Tuesday morning with the House scheduled to convene at noon.