House budget override vote similar to 2005 lottery controversy

Gov. Mike Easley, right, holds House Bill 1023, North Carolina State Lottery Act, after signing the bill Aug. 31, 2005, in Raleigh, N.C. From left is Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, and House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg.(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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.”





About A.P. Dillon 1200 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_