RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina House and Senate failed to override six vetoes by Gov. Roy Cooper during floor sessions on Wednesday.
The first veto override attempt in the House was the Second Amendment Protection Act. That bill originally passed the House 77-38 but the veto was sustained with a 66-48 vote.
A bill aimed at opening gyms passed 75-31 originally but failed Wednesday in the House with a 63-51 vote.
In a 58-54 vote, the House’s attempt to override veto of 4th of July celebration bill failed.
In the Senate, a bill that would have opened bowling alleys and skating rinks didn’t earn enough votes for an override.
However, a judge ruled Tuesday that some bowling alleys could reopen immediately.
The last veto override attempt in the House, which would have reopened amusement parks and small event venues, was pulled from Wednesday’s calendar after all the other override attempts failed.
Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange/Caswell) told lawmakers his daughter, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last month, has now tested negative. However, he said she’s dealing with ongoing impacts.
“She has some lingering effects to her lungs, and I want to make sure that people understand this is not the flu. This is a respiratory illness that can have lasting and maybe even permanent damage,” he said. “We can’t downplay the seriousness of COVID in people’s lives.”
Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland) sponsored the bill to reopen bowling alleys, and said he’s heard from business owners Fayetteville who are questioning how much longer they can operate.
“But, there’s a tradeoff here that I think some folks are missing, and the tradeoff is we have some businesses that are going out of business because of this forced government shutdown,” Szoka said. “We’ve got to be able to balance things. We cannot keep the economy shut up and shut down forever.”
Gov. Cooper recently extended phase two of the state’s reopening process to July 17 as the state saw an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
In other states, such as Texas and Florida, businesses have had to close back down amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake County) said, “And those are states that were full-speed ahead and they reopened. And, unfortunately, in my opinion, their citizens are now paying the price.”
Rep. Szoka said about that, “I know what other states are doing and that’s what they’re doing. We have different conditions here. I think we need to reopen up some more business right now. I don’t think we’re in the same position other states are.”
Read the vetoed bills:
- Senate Bill 599: Open Skating Rinks/Bowling Alleys
- Senate Bill 105: Clarify Emergency Powers
- House Bill 806: Open Exercise & Fitness Facilities
- House Bill 258: Open Amusement Parks/Arcades/Venues
- House Bill 686: Freedom to Celebrate the Fourth of July
A Cooper veto hasn’t been overridden since December 2018. It’s the result of Democrats holding enough seats to uphold vetoes if they remain united.
He’s issued 25 vetoes since.
After Wednesday, the General Assembly isn’t expected to reconvene until early September.
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