RALEIGH — Democrats are calling for a re-do and labeling the GOP as cheaters following a successful override of Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget during a low turnout session of the House on Wednesday.
Democratic Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Meck.) said the vote represented “plainly unethical behavior by Republicans” in a Wednesday morning tweet. Rep. Deb Butler (D-New Hanover) yelled at Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) before the override vote: “how dare you, Mr. Speaker.”
While Democrats are calling foul, there was nothing in the chamber rules to prevent the action taken Wednesday.
In 2005, Democrats pulled a similar maneuver under Senate legends Sens. Tony Rand and Marc Basnight to pass the state lottery.
According to WRAL, Rand brought the lottery bill up for consideration about 1:15 p.m. on August 30, 2005, after Basnight called senators back to Raleigh “because he thought the votes were there to pass a lottery.”
The tandem knew they had the votes because two GOP senators — Harry Brown (R-Onslow) Robert Garwood (R-Wilkes) — were not on the floor due to excused absences.
Brown and Garwood were against the lottery along with five Democrats and the 21 Republicans who were present. That created a tie in the state Senate and Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue was there to break the tie to send the bill to Gov. Easley’s desk. The Democratic-controlled House had passed the lottery bill in April by two votes.
After her tie-breaking vote, Perdue told WRAL: “I did what I thought was right.”
In the current budget override controversy, Speaker Moore’s office claims that the vote on Wednesday was not a surprise. His office also said that Moore had been clear since July that “we would hold the override when the votes were there.”