NC Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill passed by large bipartisan majorities in the state legislature requiring public schools to offer in-person classes.
The legislature passed Senate Bill 37 with enough votes to override Cooper’s veto on Feb. 17. Cooper had 10 days to sign or veto the bill before it became law without his signature. The deadline was Saturday, Feb. 27.
Legislators this week had been asking that Cooper just make a decision so that they could move on, and the legislative leaders have already announced their intention to attempt a veto override, which requires 60 percent majorities in both the House and the Senate.
All the state’s COVID-19 numbers are trending down, with the positive test rate below 5 percent, the metric that Secretary of the North Carolina Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen has repeatedly said was a key to reopen the state.
According to a press release from the North Carolina Senate Republicans, despite the fact that parents “have signaled their overwhelming support for the measure,” the reason that Cooper vetoed it is obvious.
The press release states, “But the far-left N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) opposes the bill, mirroring a nationwide trend: Health and education experts say schools should be reopened immediately, but teachers’ unions are flexing their political muscle to withhold or minimize in-person education.”
Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), co-chair of the Senate Education Committee, noted that Cooper had moved teachers ahead of cancer patients for vaccinations.
Ballard stated, “With teacher vaccinations in full swing, there is no legitimate excuse for Gov. Cooper and the far-left NCAE to oppose the broad reopening flexibility this bill grants to school districts. The far-left NCAE owns the Governor’s mansion.”
Speaker of the NC state House Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) in a press release said, “With this veto the Governor ignored the desperate parents, policy experts, and students who are suffering from his refusal to let them return to the classroom.”
Moore added, “The legislature has worked hard to find common ground with the Governor, but we have a constitutional duty to provide education access to our students and will pursue a veto override on behalf of North Carolina families.”