Cooper wins big victory in failed veto override

Published June 6, 2019

Wednesday’s failed vote to override Governor Cooper’s veto of the “born alive abortion” bill was a significant victory for the governor for several reasons. Most obviously because it fell five votes short of attaining the three-fifths majority needed to overturn the veto, but also because it sent a signal to legislative leaders that they now must include the Governor in negotiations of the budget, something they haven’t had to do previously.

The Senate had voted days before, counting on Democrat Don Davis’ break with his party to pass the override by one vote. House Speaker Tim Moore had kept it in the “veto garage” for some days, hoping for Democratic absences that might allow an override in his chamber, but finally Moore determined to hold the vote and hope for the best. After more than an hour of impassioned speeches the vote revealed what Republican leadership had feared….that they didn’t have the votes to overturn this veto. 

This vote had to be an encouragement to Democrats, who have been largely ignored in legislation in recent years. They now know that if they stick together they can sustain a Cooper veto. 

Wednesday’s vote may signal we are in for a long, hot summer. Senate and House versions of spending priorities in their respective budgets are significant and are likely to take some time to iron out, but now these talks must include the Cooper administration if they have any hope of setting a budget in time to begin the state’s new fiscal year that begins July 1. 

Whether a new budget is finalized or not there is no likelihood of a government shutdown like we’ve seen on the federal level. Without a new budget the state will continue to operate with spending levels established in the current budget. 

We strongly suspect it will be late this fall before a new budget is passed.