Veto votes draw competing rallies

July 13, 2011 2:09:27 PM PDT
Temperatures hovering near 100 did nothing to deter competing rallies outside the North Carolina General Assembly where lawmakers assembled to tackle redistricting and overrode some of Governor Bev Perdue's vetoes.

The Senate overrode six vetoes on issues ranging from malpractice lawsuit limits to offshore drilling on the first day of the special session.

Despite having the majority of the vote, Republican senators received support from Democrats.

Only one bill was straight down party lines and a couple of bills found significant support. Regulatory reform was a unanimous vote to override.

The bills are now headed to the House where they will need Democratic support, specifically four democratic votes. Republicans got those votes to override the Governor's veto of the budget and Senate President Pro-Tempore Phil Berger thinks the Democrats will come through to override the other vetoes as well.

"If the members of the House look at the bills the same way the Senate did, expect the vetoes," Berger said.

Perdue has vetoed a total of 15 bills from the GOP-led Legislature this year.

Legislators returning to work Wednesday were greeted by two rallies. One, sponsored by the Respect Our Vote Coalition, urged lawmakers to sustain Perdue's veto of bill requiring photo identification at the polls.

The other rally, organized by Americans for Prosperity, urged overrides on energy exploration, medical malpractice lawsuits and regulatory limits.

"We're here to say, if Governor Perdue keeps vetoing jobs bills, then she needs to be vetoed herself," said Dallas Woodhouse with Americans for Prosperity.

The governor has said that lawmakers can fix some of the legislation she vetoed in recent weeks to ease her concerns about some of the bills and eliminate her objections.

"The governor has said she'd like to work out compromises. It's perfectly within their power to do that. They should have done that instead of focusing on these vetoes which won't go through and then nothing will have been accomplished," said Rob Schofield with NC Policy Watch

However, the rules of the reconvened session would make it difficult for lawmakers to make potential changes until later this year.

Later this month, the Senate will get to the main reason for the special session by approving new maps for legislative and congressional districts.

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