Perdue urges lawmakers to 'do more for the children'

Posted June 26, 2012

— The North Carolina General Assembly is playing a waiting game with Gov. Beverly Perdue and her responses to three significant bills on her desk as they prepare to leave town, possibly for the rest of the year.

Legislative leaders want to adjourn next Monday or earlier, once issues related to the three bills are resolved. Perdue has until midnight Sunday to sign the bills into law, veto them or let them become law without her signature.

The bills include the $20.2 billion budget, changes to the Racial Justice Act and the development of a natural gas exploration and production industry that would include a controversial drilling method. The Republican-led General Assembly would try to override any Perdue vetoes.

Perdue addressed the budget in a hastily called news conference Tuesday afternoon but gave no indication whether she would sign or veto it. Instead, she urged lawmakers to "do more for the children of North Carolina" and increase education funding in the spending plan.

"Everyone wants more for their kids than we had for ourselves," she said. "They need to keep working. They need to reach down deep and do more for the children of this state (and) invest more in our children's future."

The governor said she met last week with House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger to make her feelings known and try to work with them. But they sent her a letter Tuesday morning, she said, that indicated they wouldn't change the budget that both the House and Senate passed last week.

"We sincerely appreciate the time you spent with us last Thursday and the spirit in which you recommended changes to our budget," the letter read. "There is not a consensus in support of your changes in the legislature. We hope you will give the budget before you careful consideration. It advances many of North Carolina's priorities and we hope you will sign it."

Gov. Beverly Perdue Web only: Perdue asks lawmakers to reconsider budget

Tillis and Berger issued a joint statement after Perdue's news conference, noting that the budget provides an extra $255 million to public schools, gives teachers and other state workers a raise, resolves funding issues in the state Medicaid program and addresses other state needs.

“If Gov. Perdue truly cares about the best interests of North Carolina, she will sign this budget," Tillis and Berger said. "From students attending public schools to drivers filling up their tanks to Medicaid patients recovering in our hospitals, every North Carolinian benefits from this budget. A veto would show that Gov. Perdue is more interested in playing politics than in budgeting responsibly.”

Regarding the other pending bills, Perdue last year vetoed an attempt to repeal the landmark Racial Justice Act, which allows death row inmates to use statistical evidence to challenge their sentences. One inmate already has had his death sentence commuted to life in prison by showing racial bias played a role in jury selection. The state has appealed the ruling.

The House and Senate passed the latest effort to overhaul the 3-year-old law by veto-proof majorities.

Perdue has said that she believes gas drilling can be done safely in North Carolina if the proper regulations are in place, and Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, said last week that the Senate delayed its final vote on the drilling bill to make sure the governor was on board with its provisions.

Still, environmentalists have been flooding the Governor's Office with calls and emails in recent days, urging her to veto the bill and push for a slower approach that would allow more study of hydraulic fracturing, the drilling process that some believe could contaminate area water supplies.

Several other meaty or controversial pieces of legislation likely won't be heard before the legislature adjourns.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • roaddog3 Jun 27, 2012

    You can give the schools 100 billion and thats not going to solve the problem. Have legislation to stop all the frivilous lawsuits and redtape and take back our schools. If you don't want to learn then sit in jail with your parents.

  • sunshineonmyshoulder Jun 27, 2012

    I'm inclined to agree with "btammybullard2", "gopack54" and as usual "Wiser_now"...I think most teachers would rather have a classroom full of engaged parents who do their part (and yes, parents have a part in their OWN child's education) than a mear $40.00 more a month in their paycheck. Oh, and by the way, I don't agree that every child needs a computer to learn, especially younger children. I'm 40, but has ABC's and 123's really changed that much for elementary aged children?

  • North Carolina Home Jun 27, 2012

    "Despite your feigned outrage, its the truth. The more academically gifted tend to go on to other things, like college." Plenty Coups

    There is nothing feigned about my reaction. That you consider the military nothing more than a collection of academic dropouts is disgraceful.

    In the event of a terrorist attack, please call a public school administrator. I'm sure they will negotiate a peaceful surrender by the terrorist with all the academic prowess they possess.

  • Wiser_now Jun 27, 2012

    gopack54 - I taught in the classroom for a few years and you are so right. The teachers are ridden so hard by the rules, administrators and unreasonable parents that they can barely teach. They have a thankless job and I admire those who continue to trudge on in their jobs and sympathize with those who finally had to say "enough" and move on to another career.

  • gopack54 Jun 27, 2012

    We've been doing "more" for the children ever since Hunt was in office and where has it gotten us? Is it not obvious to anyone that money is not the issue? My wife and daughter are both teachers, my mother was a teacher . . and they will all tell you that the problem is not the money. It's the beaurecracy of the school systems and lack of support from parents both within the school and at home. So yeah, Bev, keep throwing money at it! You might as well be setting fire to it.

  • Deb1003 Jun 27, 2012

    Bev calling "wolf" again. If she was that! concerned w/ the children she wouldn't have raided the NC lottery fund to pay for the highway fund.

  • Pirate01 Jun 27, 2012

    We are now, for the first time, doing more for the children. We have replaced the legislature with Republicans and will being doing to same for the Govenors seats soon. Dems love to talk about "helping kids" but their actions never equal their rhetoric. Dems have "helped" education by turning the US into the #20 education system in the world from the #1 in the late 70's.

  • Plenty Coups Jun 27, 2012

    North Carolina Home-"That is one of the most disgusting comments I have ever heard."

    I'm still waiting on your proof that NC teachers are overpaid or make enough money. Just a reminder that the year is 2012 and using 2007 data doesn't really work now does it?

  • Plenty Coups Jun 27, 2012

    North Carolina Home-"What? Did you really say that?"

    "You owe an apology to the families of every veteran that gave their lives to protect the freedoms that you enjoy."

    Despite your feigned outrage, its the truth. The more academically gifted tend to go on to other things, like college. I respect veterans and value the military and realize that some join the military to "find themselves", but I'm not going to pretend that MOST average recruits to the military are going to be the brain surgeons in order to score political points. A couple of years ago, the military was accepting high school dropouts as there was a tremendous need for manpower. With the recession, that need has somewhat ended.

    Time had an article on it:

  • too-obvious Jun 27, 2012

    FOR THE CHILDREN. that comment sells! perdue is hopelessly looking for a job after governor. she wants kay hagans job, can't you tell