Cooper veto at record level, redefining political strategy – Carolina Journal


Governor Roy Cooper has has vetoed more laws than any other governor in North Carolinas combined. With the last three vetoes in the past three weeks, Cooper’s total stands at 57 vetoes, and the session is not over.

The closest governor was Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, with 20 vetoes during his term from 2009 to 2013. His predecessor, Mike Easley, vetoed nine bills from 2001 to 2009. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed six bills from 2013 to 2017; Democrat Jim Hunt did not use the veto stamp after voters granted him that power during his second term.

With his veto count pointing to 60, the likelihood of Cooper vetoing any legislation that falls outside his political spectrum has changed the legislation and political strategy of elected officials on both sides of the aisle.

“Thanks to the veto power and the lack of a qualified majority, no policy stands a chance of being passed without strong bipartisan support,” said Chris Cooper, professor of political science at Western Carolina University, and without link with the governor.

“In practice, this means that Republicans must propose and adopt policies acceptable to the governor. Otherwise, they have no chance of becoming law. … Democrats can rest assured that whatever happens on the floor of the [General Assembly], most Republican bills will not become law.

In 1996, North Carolina became the last state to grant a veto to the governor. It was approved by voters as an amendment in the November 1995 ballot. Traditionally, the governor of North Carolina did not have much power, in the interest of a more powerful legislature, including elected members. represent people from across the state. Until 1835, the legislature even elected the governor, not the voters.

Now, with the veto stamp still inked and ready to go, Cooper has exerted a political force that has brought even more national attention to North Carolina and allowed some of the Democratic Party’s national agendas and strategies to take root. .

“Cooper’s frequent use of the veto has made significant policy changes on this side impossible,” said Chris Cooper. “This has not stopped the debate on these issues. Certainly Republicans and Democrats know that if they come up with and debate political issues that piss off their respective bases, they will signal to their main constituents that they are fighting for political positions. This legislative session has seen a decline in partisan laws, but not a decline in partisan rhetoric. “

Legislation that would limit some of the governor’s powers, at least emergency powers, is included in the Senate budget proposal. The basic language comes from the Emergency Powers Accountability Act, which was passed by the House in April. Under the proposed change, the governor has 10 days from the publication of an emergency decree to obtain the approval of the majority of the Council of State, otherwise it would automatically expire. If the Council of State approves a declaration of emergency, it can continue for a maximum of 45 days. Any declaration of emergency extending beyond 45 days would require the approval of majorities in the General Assembly. North Carolina is one of 15 states that do not place a time limit on emergency orders from governors.

The Council of State is made up of 10 executive offices established by the state constitution.

“A year ago, most people didn’t believe the governor had the power to shut down an entire state,” Destin Hall Representative R-Caldwell, Speaker of House Rules, told a conference press announcing the bill. “Most assumed at least there were checks and balances. Such consequent decisions should be made through a deliberative process with other elected officials. North Carolina people deserve the confidence that the unprecedented restrictions placed on their families and businesses are the result of bipartisan consensus, not the absolute power of one man. “

Governor Cooper sought the consent of the State Council in the initial emergency decree, but failed to do so for the extensions that resulted in the shutdowns for more than a year. Regardless of legislative support for House Bill 264, the bill to restrict emergency powers, it would still require governor’s approval to escape a veto.

“The governor of North Carolina has little institutional power,” said Chris Cooper. “Whether you love or hate his policies, anyone who follows North Carolina politics must admit that Cooper is leading a master class using what little power he has to pursue his political goals. “

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