Last week at the North Carolina General Assembly we had another fast and furious week with historic veto overrides, massive amounts of bills being amended in committees, and concurrence votes on bills from the opposite chamber. There was extensive debate, as well as some unanimous votes.
On Tuesday’s House calendar we had six bills the Governor had vetoed that were up for our override votes. As all six were successfully overridden, this was the most in one day in North Carolina history.
Five were Senate bills and had already been overridden by that chamber. One was a House Bill, HB 750 – Address Environmental, Social, and Governance Factors. It says that state government agencies cannot use ESG factors or scores in determining which contracts to award or which investments to make, such as investments for state pension plans. It passed by the required three-fifths vote of 72 – 46 and was sent to the Senate, where it was also overridden and became law.
The five Senate Bills with vetoes that were overridden were:
Senate Bill 364 – Nondiscrimination and Dignity in State Work passed 72 – 47. Senate Bill 299 – Reimburse Late Audit Costs with Sales Tax Revenue passed 75 – 44. Senate Bill 329 – Retail Installment Sales Act Amendments passed 76 – 43. Senate Bill 331 – Consumer Finance Act Amendments passed 76 – 43. Senate Bill 582 – North Carolina Farm Act of 2023 passed 78 – 40. As the Republicans voting numbered 72, it was obvious that several Democrat members joined in the overrides on several votes, particularly on the Farm Act. All six bills became law as soon as the votes were announced. All these votes were recorded, so you can see how your representatives voted.
A very important and controversial bill dealing with education, Senate Bill 49 – Parents’ Bill of Rights, was amended by two different committees in the House. It came to the House floor last week and passed 66 – 47. The Senate then concurred with the House committee substitute, and it will go to the Governor this week for his signature or veto. This bill gives the parents more awareness of what is happening to their children at school and what they are being taught.
House Bill 808 – Gender Transition/Minors was another controversial bill back in the House for a concurrence vote. It prevents minors, children under 18 from being given puberty-blocking drugs or undergoing sex change surgical procedures. It passed 67 – 46 and was sent to the Governor.
House 605 – School Threat Assessment Teams requires more security for our public schools and expands these measures from traditional public schools to all public schools. The concurrence vote was almost unanimous at 115 – 4, and it went to the Governor.
Many other non-controversial bills were passed. This week of July 4th will be a week off from Raleigh for us, so this will likely be the last article for two weeks.
When we go back, we expect to see the biennial budget finalized, as well as more vetoes to override. As the fiscal year began July 1st, the budget should be the highest priority for our leaders who are negotiating the final issues. Many local governments, state schools, and state agencies need to know what spending they can count on the next two years. Fortunately, several years ago we passed a law that spending can continue at last year’s level until the new budget becomes law.