House overrides NCAE bill veto in unplanned late-night session

Posted January 5, 2012 1:57 a.m. EST
Updated January 5, 2012 7:18 a.m. EST

— In an unprecedented move early Thursday, the North Carolina General Assembly voted to hold a special legislative session after midnight for veto overrides, prompting a sharp rebuke from Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.

Perdue said the Republican-controlled legislature's actions were unconstitutional.

The House voted 69-45 to override the governor's veto of Senate Bill 727, which stops the North Carolina Association of Educators from collecting dues from teachers' paychecks via payroll deduction.

The Senate has already overridden the NCAE bill veto, so it now becomes law. NCAE Spokesman Brian Lewis, however, said the group plans to challenge the law in court.

The session was scheduled for 12:45 a.m., seemingly to bypass constitutional limits barring lawmakers from taking up anything other than Senate Bill 9 in Wednesday's legislative session.

In a statement, Perdue blasted Republican lawmakers, saying they violated the North Carolina Constitution by considering matters other than her veto of Senate Bill 9, which would have gutted key sections of the Racial Justice Act.

"The Republicans in the General Assembly didn't have the votes to get what they wanted legally. So, in the dark of the night, they engaged in an unprecedented, unconstitutional power grab," Perdue wrote. "I am saddened for the people of North Carolina that the Republicans abused their power and chose this destructive path."

The Senate voted Wednesday to override the Senate Bill 9 veto, but the House sent the measure to a judiciary committee after failing to muster enough Democratic votes.