RALEIGH — The N.C. General Assemblyl briefly met on Jan. 14, with the N.C. Senate failing to take up a state budget veto override, then adjourning until late April.
The 2019-20 state budget, House Bill 966, has been in limbo since June when Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed it. Defending their lack of a vote, state Republican leaders said on Jan. 14 that they didn’t have the votes for the 60 percent needed for a veto override. Republicans control the state Senate 29-21, one vote short of a supermajority.
In other legislative action, the state Senate failed to override Cooper’s vetoes of two other bills. The first was a regulatory reform act and second was a mini-budget bill that would enact teacher and school employee pay raises. Cooper claims the bill would shortchange school workers and falls short of what he feels pay raises should be.
“It’s disappointing that Democrats decided to support the governor’s gridlock instead of North Carolina’s teachers who deserve the higher take-home pay repeatedly approved by the General Assembly,” Speaker of the N.C. House Tim Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican, said in a Jan. 14 statement regarding the veto override failure of the mini-budget bill.
Two bills passed the state General Assembly on Jan. 14, a bill aligning state tax law with federal tax law on itemizing medical expenses and an act for scholarships of wartime veterans, the latter of which was signed into law by Cooper on Jan. 16.
After passing the bills, the state legislature adjourned until April 28. Rep. Ray Russell, a Boone Democrat, said he voted “no” on the adjournment resolution because he feels like their work is far from finished.
“We should have been working on compromise solutions for teacher, faculty and staff pay, funding for universities and community colleges, funding for school and infrastructure construction, and making health care more available and affordable,” Russell said in a Jan. 15 statement. “Instead legislative leadership held a press conference, refused to work with Gov. (Roy) Cooper on a compromise, and proverbially ‘took their ball and went home.’”