The General Assembly on Monday overrode Governor Perdue’s vetoes of three bills. By doing so they gutted the Racial Justice Act, revised the budget for 2012-13, and moved ahead with fracking. The outcome was not in doubt in the Senate. In fact, several Senate Democrats had excused absences and didn’t even show up for the votes. The drama was in the House.
The House took up the Racial Justice Act Monday afternoon and voted 72-48 for the override. With all 120 members present and voting, 72 was the minimum number of votes needed to override the veto. All five Democrats who had supported the RJA last year but had voted to weaken it this year voted for the override. All five votes were needed as one Republican voted to preserve the RJA. To see how your representative voted, click here.
Things were more complicated on the budget. As usual, the General Assembly last year adopted a budget for the biennium, for fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13. This year’s session made adjustments to that already adopted 2012-13 budget. When the Governor vetoed those adjustments, calling for more money primarily for education, legislative leaders had threatened to let the veto stand and just operate on the 2012-13 budget already in place. The House ended up voting on the budget Monday night, and the vote was 74-45 for the override. Six Democrats joined all 68 Republicans in the override, with another Democrat leaving the House chamber prior to the vote. To see how your representative voted, click here.
Then, after 10:00 Monday night, the General Assembly turned to fracking. When the vote was taken at about 11:00 p.m., it came out as 72-47. But one legislator (Becky Carney of Charlotte) immediately reported that she had mis-voted, voting for the override when she meant to vote for the veto. The House leadership pointed out that House rules prohibit a legislator from changing how he/she voted if changing the vote would change the outcome of the vote. So, even though Rep. Carney immediately noted and reported her mistake, she was not allowed to correct her vote, and the veto override was done. Six Democrats (including Rep. Carney) voted for fracking, while two Republicans voted against. To see how your representative voted, click here.
To see how your senator voted on these overrides, click below:
You may want to express your appreciation or your disappointment to your legislators. You may also want to thank Gov. Perdue for vetoing these bills. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a tough day for issues important to members of the Raleigh Report network. Many of you have worked tirelessly on one or more of these bills. None of the issues will go away because of the overrides. Racial injustice in the administration of the death penalty will still be a blight on our state. We will still need more funding for education, services for vulnerable people, environmental protection, etc., and we still need a tax system that fairly raises adequate revenues. And, on fracking, how it takes place, with what regulations and protections, is still to be determined. So the issues will be back, and Raleigh Report members will continue to address them.
A final Raleigh Report will be issued in the coming days.
— George Reed, Executive Director