Gov. Perdue's Vetoes

Posted July 2, 2012 5:42 p.m. EDT
Updated July 3, 2012 2:31 a.m. EDT

— Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, has vetoed 19 bills sent to her over the past two years by the General Assembly, where Republicans have controlled both chambers since January of 2011. 

Republicans have been able to override 11 of those vetoes, with varying levels of help from House Democrats. 

The GOP holds a veto-proof 31-19 majority in the state Senate. But Republicans hold only 68 of 120 seats in the House, four short of the number needed to override a veto without help from Democrats. And in fact five Democrats have at various points helped Republican lawmakers pass a bill notwithstanding the governor's objections. 

Here are the 19 bills Perdue has vetoed and where they stand: 

H2 Protect Health Care Freedom. Vetoed 3/5/2011. SUSTAINED.

This would have been the state's entry into the fight over the Affordable Care Act. Among other provisions, it said that it would be illegal in North Carolina to force someone to contract for health insurance. It also would have allowed the state's Attorney General to intervene in cases where North Carolina citizens were fighting aspects of the health care law.

Republicans were never able to muster the votes the override. 

H7 Comm. Colleges/Opt Out of Fed'l Loan Program. Vetoed 4/13/2011. OVERRIDDEN.

This bill (now law) allows the state's community colleges to opt out of the Ford Federal Direct Loan program. Community College presidents worried that that high default rates in the Ford program would have hurt their students' access to other forms of financial aid. 

Perdue first vetoed the measure in April of 2011. Republicans in the House didn't have the votes to override the governor's objections last year. Instead, lawmakers used a series of local bills -- measures that just affect one or a handful of local areas -- to exempt specific community colleges. Governors don't have veto power over local bills. 

House Republicans finally mustered the votes for an override on June 18. The measure is not state law.  

H200 Appropriations Act of 2011. Vetoed 6/12/2011. OVERRIDDEN. 

This was the 2011 budget bill. Perdue vetoed it saying that it did not contain enough money for education and other critical programs. Five conservative House Democrats -- William Brisson of Bladen, Jim Crawford of Granville, Dewey Hill of Columbus, Bill Owens of Pasquotank, and Tim Spear of Washington -- voted with Republicans in favor of the override. 

H351 Restore Confidence in Government. Vetoed 6/23/2011. SUSTAINED. 

This bill was better known as the voter ID law. It would have required most voters to show a photo ID before voting in North Carolina. Proponents have said that it would  Democrats have opposed the measure, saying it would disenfranchise poor and elderly residents as well as college students. 

Republicans were never able to muster the votes for an override. An attempt to craft a compromise measure  also ran out of time. 

H383 Extend UI Benefits/Continuing Resolution. Vetoed 4/16/2011. SUSTAINED.

The measure was originally meant to extend unemployment benefits for North Carolina workers who had lost their jobs. However, the legislature tacked a budget provision designed to box Perdue into a corner over last year's budget debate. Specifically, it would have continued state spending at 87 percent of the 2010-11 level. 

House Democrats stuck with the governor in advance of last year's budget debate. 

H482 Water Supply Lines/Water Violation Waivers. Vetoed 6/27/2011. SUSTAINED.

Perdue vetoed this bill because she said it was unconstitutional. The measures would have directed that fines for water quality violations in certain poor counties be redirected back to those counties. The state constitution says such fines must go to a central fund to benefit education. 

The House never attempted a veto override. 

H854 Abortion-Woman's Right to Know Act. Vetoed 6/27/2011. OVERRIDDEN.

The “Women’s Right to Know” Act was hailed by supporters as a way to make sure women are fully informed about their options before they undergo an abortion. North Carolina already has an informed consent law for all medical procedures, including abortion.

The measure quickly became a political flashpoint. The measure made no exceptions for abortions sought due to rape, incest, or medical necessity. Critics of the bill said it would be “inhumane” to put those women through waiting, counseling, and an ultrasound.

Democratic lawmakers called the measure insulting to women, noting that lawmakers have not sought to write counseling materials for other medical procedures. Opponents also criticized the bill as government intrusion into the doctor/patient relationship.

Brisson, Crawford, Hill, and Spear voted with Republicans to override Perdue's veto.

H950 Modify 2011 Appropriations Act. Vetoed 6/29/2012.  OVERRIDDEN. 

This was the second budget that Perdue vetoed. The House voted 74-45 to override her veto, with a new mix of Democrats siding against the governor. Groups representing state employees and teachers asked lawmakers to override the veto.

Technically, this bill adjusted the second year of a two-year budget put in place during the 2011 session. Senate leaders had said they would leave without putting a budget adjustment in place if the House did not override the veto. Democrats who voted for the override said they were unwilling to risk letting that second year of the 2011 budget take effect. 

S9 No Discriminatory Purpose in Death Penalty. Vetoed 12/14/2011. SUSTAINED.

This was the first attempt to roll back 2009's Racial Justice Act. The measure would have by and large deleted the measure, which allows defendants to use statistics to help overturn their death sentences.

This bill was the subject of a January veto override session. Republicans were not able to muster the votes to override Perdue on this bill but on July 2 would pass a similar measure over her objections.  

S13 Balanced Budget Act of 2011. Vetoed 2/22/2011. SUSTAINED.

This was the first budget showdown between Perdue and legislative Republicans. The measure would have allowed Perdue to find roughly $400 million in budget cuts to offset a growing deficit in 2011. However, it would have required that Perdue tap the Gold LEAF fund and other economic development money to bridge that gap. 

While the Senate voted to override, the House never voted on an override. 

S33 Medical Liability Reforms. Vetoed 6/24/2011. OVERRIDDEN.

This bill expands the legal protection for health-care providers treating an “emergency medical condition.” It also splits the liability and damages phases of suits where damage claims exceed $150,000. Most controversially, it caps non-economic damages -- not counting outside of loss of future earnings -- at $500,000, even for death, paralysis, brain damage, or disfigurement, unless the patient can prove “reckless disregard,” “gross negligence,” or intention or malice. Those standards are extremely difficult to meet. 

Ten House Democrats sided with Republicans on the veto override. 

S265 State Health Plan/Appropriations and Transfer. Vetoed 4/13/2011. SUSTAINED.

The state health plan, which serves about 663,000 state workers, teachers, retirees and their dependents, has had chronic fiscal problems. This was the Republican-lead General Assembly's first attempt to fix those problems. It cut benefits, raised co-pays and deductibles and charged workers a monthly premium for their own coverage for the first time in the plan's history.

Perdue said the mandatory premium amounted to a tax on teachers who are already ranked 45th for pay nationally and who haven’t had a raise in years.

The House never attempted to override the veto.

S416 Amend Death Penalty Procedures.Vetoed 6/29/2012. OVERRIDDEN. 

This was the Republican General Assembly's second attempt to roll back the 2009 Racial Justice Act. Rather than removing provisions from the state law, the measure adjusted how statistical measures could be used. 

Those sentenced to death can still challenge their sentences, but could not rely on statistics alone to prove racism in their sentencing. 

This bill has become law. 

S496 Medicaid and Health Choice Provider Req. Vetoed 6/30/2011. OVERRIDDEN.

This bill gave the final say over some disputes involving Medicaid to the Office of Administrative Hearings, rather than the Department of Health and Human Services. Perdue said she believed this law ran afoul of the state constitution and federal Medicaid law. Democrats and Republicans sided against her in the House and Senate, overriding her veto 47-1 in the Senate. The vote was 74-41 in the House. 

S532 ESC/Jobs Reform. Vetoed 6/30/2011. OVERRIDDEN.

This was another case where Perdue raised concern that the state law would run afoul of federal law. In this case, she said it may have run afoul of U.S. Department of Labor regulations. 

S709 Energy Jobs Act. Vetoed 6/30/2011. SUSTAINED. 

This measure is involved in the fight over fracking and energy policy. It would have made little change with regard to drilling, but would have adjusted how certain state boards and commissions are run. 

Vetoed in 2011, it has largely been made obsolete by bills that passed in 2012. 

S727 No Dues Checkoff for School Employees. Vetoed 6/18/2011. OVERRIDDEN.

This was the veto overridden during the House's infamous midnight veto session. The measure revoked the ability of public school teachers to have their union dues taken directly from their paychecks. The manner in which the veto override was done, as well as the fact that the bill appears to target one particular teacher's group, is now the subject of litigation. 

S781 Regulatory Reform Act of 2011. Vetoed 6/30/2011. OVERRIDDEN.

Senate Bill 781 is designed to limit how and when state agencies can issue rules. The bill, now a law, forbids the state from enacting any environmental regulations that are stricter than federal regulations. It would also require DENR to add steps to its rule-making process – a fiscal note, an economic impact study, and the drafting and consideration of at least two alternative rules. The proposal was drafted by the Joint Regulatory Reform Committee after a series of public hearings around the state. Environmentalists say it goes too far.

Environmental advocates say it makes it harder to adjust standing rules and respond to new environmental problems. Backers of the measure say it cuts back on regulations that inhibit the growth of businesses.  

S820 Clean Energy and Economic Security Act. Vetoed 7/1/2012. OVERRIDDEN.

The measure lays out a path to make "fracking" legal in North Carolina. The process of using horizontal drilling and controlled explosions to tap natural gas has been controversial in other states. 

Environmental advocates and Perdue said there were not enough protections for drinking water supplies. Backers of the bill say the protections were adequate and opening the state to drilling would lead to economic expansion. 

The bill passed the house when Rep. Becky Carney, D-Mecklenburg, mistakenly voted for the veto override and was unable to change her vote. The same vote involved Rep. Susie Hamilton, D-New Hanover, voting for the override days after signing a letter asking Perdue to veto the bill.