The Republican led North Carolina legislature passed the $24 billion state budget and the Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper promptly vetoed it which means even though the new fiscal year started July 1 the state has no budget.
The good news is that unlike the federal government where the government shuts down, the state continues to operate under the old budget. It means that the raises for state employees, including teachers, don’t take effect and the numerous allocations won’t be made, until a budget is passed.
One thing both Cooper and the legislative leaders agree on is that there were no meaningful negotiations between them before the veto. Cooper says the Republicans would not negotiate in good faith with him and the Republicans say that Cooper refused to come to the meetings with a list of items that he wanted to negotiate.
Cooper had said he would veto a budget that didn’t include Medicaid expansion for the state. The Republican leaders Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore countered with an offer to hold a special legislative session to consider Medicaid expansion. That offer didn’t fly with Cooper.
It appears, Berger and Moore think they can override the veto and Cooper thinks they can’t. If the Republicans can’t override the veto, then Cooper has a much stronger hand in the budget negotiations that will follow, of course if the Republicans do override the veto then there is no negotiation at all.
The state Senate passed the budget with more than enough votes to override the veto, so it is a matter of hanging on to those votes in the Senate. But in the House the Republicans came up four votes short of what would be needed to override a veto. In the House, if all members are present and voting the Republicans need the support of seven Democrats to override the veto. The word is that the House is over half way to the total and they don’t necessarily have to have seven votes. The law is that to override a veto both the House and the Senate have to pass the measure with three fifths of the members present and voting. So in the House if Republicans can convince a few more Democrats to stay home, they could override the veto with fewer than seven Democrats voting for it. It is a legislative technique that often works. The legislators who stay home don’t have a record of voting against a bill that their party opposed, and often other than the insiders in Raleigh, few people understand what happened.
Cooper vetoed the born alive bill and while the state Senate voted to override the veto, the override vote failed in the House.
In this case the legislative districts where Democrats have voted for the budget received a much higher percentage of funding in the budget than those where the Democrats voted against the budget.