General Assembly override votes fail in Wednesday session

Eamon Queeney | The North State Journal
The North Carolina Senate Chamber of the Legislative Building in Raleigh

RALEIGH – The North Carolina General Assembly failed to override five of Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes in a Wednesday session. The bills required a three-fifths vote in both the N.C. House and Senate in order to become law.

Among the bills that failed today in the N.C. House include HB 652, which would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to carry at religious services at educational buildings. The NRA-ILA supported the bill, which was similar to a bill in Texas that allowed a citizen to defend a congregation from an attack last year. The bill also contained a provision allowing sheriffs to accept a refresher course for lapsed concealed carry permits.

After the governor’s veto of HB 652, N.C. House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) said, “This veto is indefensible. We have witnessed horrifying church shootings around the country, and members of our faith community have asked us to provide them with equal protection under the law. This bill was for non-public schools only. Gov. Cooper needs to stop playing politics with people’s lives.”

Also failing during the voting session was HB 806, which would have reopened gyms and fitness centers, and contained measures suggested and supported by legislative Democrats who then voted to uphold the veto.

State Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) noted that 14 House Democrats supported HB 806 in June but voted to uphold the veto.

HB 686, the freedom to celebrate the 4th of July bill, also failed by a vote of 58-54.

In the N.C. Senate, the two override votes were for HB 105 and HB 599, which would have clarified emergency powers and opened skating rinks and bowling alleys. The bowling alleys won their bid to open in court yesterday.

“The General Assembly has worked tirelessly to reopen the state safely,” Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) said. “Gov. Cooper issued shutdown orders to prevent overloading the hospitals in our state. We did that and our hospitals continue to have the capacity. Now we should be focusing on protecting those most vulnerable to the virus and ensuring those who can safely return to work do so.”

“It’s clear that his decision-making is being led by political science instead of legitimate science. Why else would he join a crowd of protesters without wearing a mask while preventing small business owners from safely reopening?” Sen. Berger said.