The budget proposed by the North Carolina state Senate includes more than just numbers.
The budget includes taking away some of the emergency power from the governor, something that Gov. Roy Cooper has steadfastly opposed.
Cooper has vetoed every budget passed by the legislature since he took office in 2017, and he has also vetoed every bill the legislature has passed to take away some of the power of the governor to act in an emergency.
The provision in the proposed Senate budget bill would require the Council of State to agree with an executive order within 10 days of it being issued. If the Council of State and governor agree on an executive order, it still would expire after 45 days if the General Assembly did not vote to extend it.
The Council of State is made up of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, superintendent of public instruction, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of labor and commissioner of insurance. The Republicans currently have a six-to-four majority on the Council of State.
The proposed budget still has to pass the state Senate and the House. Then the House and Senate have to reach an agreement on the budget and pass that before the budget goes to Cooper.
Whether the power grab stays in the budget through the legislative process is unknown. But if it does, even if Cooper didn’t disagree with the spending in the budget, and he has already said that he does, it is almost a certainty that the budget would get vetoed because Cooper, as one might imagine, doesn’t want to give up power.
The question being asked by some legislators in Raleigh is why the Senate would put a provision in the budget that makes a veto almost a certainty.
The last time the state of North Carolina passed a budget was in 2017 and that was over Cooper’s veto.
In 2019, the Republican-led legislature passed a budget that was vetoed by Cooper and the Republicans in the Senate could never override the veto.
So currently the budget being considered by the Senate has veto written all over it, and the process is really just getting started.