The North Carolina state House passed the 2019-2020 budget on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 11, overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto with a little more than half the representatives in the chamber.
The budget has been on the state House calendar when the House has been in session since Cooper vetoed the budget, which passed both chambers with bipartisan support in June.
The Republican leadership in the House has repeatedly said that they were within a few votes of having the required 60 percent to override Cooper’s veto. It was hard to get an exact count, but it appeared the Republicans had four of the seven Democratic votes needed.
But the rules of the legislature are that to override a veto, a vote of 60 percent of those present and voting is required. Which means the Republicans didn’t necessarily have to pick up three more Democratic votes if they could get some Democrats not to show up, and Wednesday morning, when the vote was called, most of the Democratic representatives were not in the chamber.
Off the record, legislators said that leadership was keeping a constant count of those present to see if Republicans could get the 60 percent necessary. Democrats complained publicly about having to attend every session so the Republicans wouldn’t be able to slip the override through.
But Wednesday morning, the Democrats said they understood that no action would be taken. State House Speaker Tim Moore said that announcement was never made.
So the vote to override Cooper’s veto in the House on Wednesday was 55 to 9, well over the 60 percent needed, which was 38 votes of those present and voting. The state House cannot conduct business with less than a quorum, which is 61 representatives.
At this point it appears the Republicans in the state House followed the rules and Cooper’s veto has been overridden.
In the state Senate, the Republicans reportedly have long had the votes necessary to override the veto. If that turns out to be the case, then, once the Senate votes, North Carolina will have a budget, which will be a huge relief to North Carolina A&T State University, UNCG, Guilford County, High Point and all the other entities that had large appropriations in this budget.