It was a press conference that could have been covered in a tweet.
State Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), president pro tem of the state Senate, and Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), co-chair of the Senate education committee, held a press conference on Tuesday, March 9, to say they were negotiating a school reopening agreement with Gov. Roy Cooper.
Both the state House and Senate with bipartisan majorities passed Senate Bill 37, which would have required all school districts in the state to offer in-person classes to all students.
Cooper waited nine of the 10 days he is allowed, and then vetoed the bill. The Senate attempt to override the veto failed by one vote. However, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Sen. Ben Clark (D-Cumberland), was absent. The Senate then voted to reconsider the bill, according to Berger, to give Clark an opportunity to vote on the bill he co-sponsored.
The House reportedly has the votes to override Cooper’s veto.
However, Berger said that if the compromise with Cooper was reached that it would make Senate Bill 37 moot.
At the press conference, Berger said that since the negotiations were still underway, he would not discuss the specifics of those negotiations.
Berger said, “We have made substantial progress.”
He also said, “My hope is that we will have something by today. A lot of that depends on whether we’ll be able to nail down a few more things.”
He said that if an agreement were reached, it would be a joint announcement.
He said, “My hope is that it will be later in the day and it will be a joint announcement.”
Reporters at the press conference were obviously frustrated that Berger wouldn’t provide more information about what the terms of the negotiations were and questioned why he had called the press conference.
Berger said that the press conference had been scheduled for Monday and postponed to Tuesday in hopes that there would be an announcement.
He said he didn’t want to cancel another press conference without explanation, so he decided to hold the press conference and report what he could, which wasn’t much.
No announcement was made Tuesday, so it would seem negotiations about opening schools in North Carolina are still underway.