NC Gov. Cooper’s Veto Power is Firewall Against Erosion of Civil Rights

Source: News & Observer

The Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v Wade has left folks in North Carolina in fear that they will lose access to abortion care or even be criminalized for a miscarriage. For the near future, those rights remain intact because Gov. Roy Cooper has the power to veto any law outlawing abortion, and there are enough Democrats in the General Assembly to uphold the veto.

A recent editorial from the News and Observer points out how important this power is.

“Cooper’s power to block actions by the Republican-led General Assembly shows the value of having a gubernatorial check on wrongheaded and extreme legislation.

It wasn’t always so. In 1996, North Carolina became the last state to give its governor veto power. That power became almost useless between 2012 and 2018 as Republicans held enough votes to override vetoes. The legislature overrode vetoes even by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, rejecting four of his six vetoes, and Republican lawmakers thrashed Cooper during his first two years in office, overriding 23 of his 28 vetoes. Now, with the Republicans short of override votes, Cooper has used his veto stamp as a crucial brake on legislation. Since 2019, he has issued 43 vetoes; none has been overridden.”

The editorial goes on to point out just how much wrong-headed legislation the governor has vetoed in the last four years. Among the 43 vetoed laws were laws that would allow firearms to more easily fall into the wrong hands, laws removing important voting and civil rights, laws that would censor teachers in classrooms, as well as laws that would endanger public health during a pandemic.

This next election will be a crucial one in allowing the governor’s veto to keep a check on these radical lawmakers. For now, North Carolinians continue to have reproductive health care access and their civil rights remain intact. If Republicans gain back a super majority in the House and Senate their checks will be removed and the rising MAGA faction inside our state will have the ability to pass whatever misguided, dangerous, discriminatory legislation they can dream up.

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