The North Carolina state Senate plans to vote Monday, March 1 to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the school reopening bill.
The legislation, Senate Bill 37, passed both the state House and state Senate with bipartisan support and more than enough votes to override Cooper’s veto.
In 2019, the state budget bill originally passed both the House and Senate with enough votes to override Cooper’s veto, but the Senate couldn’t come up with the one Democratic vote needed to override the budget veto and, as a result, the state never passed a budget in 2019 and continues to work from the base budget passed in 2017 as amended in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
This term, Republicans control 28 seats in the state Senate and 30 votes are needed to override Cooper’s veto, so the question is, will two Democratic senators vote against Cooper.
Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), who is the House majority whip, which means he is in charge of keeping up with the vote count in the House, said that he felt confident they had the three Democratic votes in the House to override the veto. He said the school reopening bill passed with seven Democratic representatives voting in favor.
Hardister said, “This is the first test to determine the climate as to whether or not there is a willingness on the other side to work with the majority.”
According to a press release from President Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), “A poll conducted last week shows 73% of voters support requiring schools to reopen while 22% oppose.”
Berger said, “Three Democratic Senators – Sens. Kirk DeViere, Paul Lowe and Ben Clark – prioritized children’s interests when the bill passed the first time. If they stick to their convictions and side again with the overwhelming majority of parents, this bill will almost certainly become law.”
The school reopening plans offers schools flexibility but does required that they offer in-person classroom instruction.