General Assembly overrides latest round of Cooper’s vetoes

The six veto overrides are a new one-day state override record

NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald speaks at the group's press conference on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. North State Journal

RALEIGH — The six most recent vetoes issued by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper were successfully overridden by the legislature on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

The overrides taken included House Bill 574 – Fairness in Women’s Sports, House Bill 808- Gender Transitions/Minors, House Bill 488 – Code Council Reorg & Var. Code Amend., House Bill 618 – Charter School Review Board, House Bill 219 – Charter School Omnibus, and Senate Bill 49 – Parents’ Bill of Rights.

All 14 of the vetoes issued by the governor so far this session have been successfully overridden.

“The legislature finally comes back to pass legislation that discriminates, makes housing less safe, blocks FEMA disaster recovery funding, hurts the freedom to vote and damages our economy. Yet they still won’t pass a budget when teachers, school bus drivers and Medicaid Expansion for thousands of working people getting kicked off their health plans every week are desperately needed,” Cooper said in a statement. “These are the wrong priorities, especially when they should be working nights and weekends if necessary to get a budget passed by the end of the month.”

As of Aug. 16, Cooper has issued 89 vetoes as governor and the legislature has overridden 37 of them. For context, a total of 124 vetoes have been issued in North Carolina since veto powers were given to the governor. Only five governors who preceded Cooper had veto powers and they issued a total of just 35 vetoes – combined.

“The House has successfully overridden six more of Gov. Cooper’s vetoes, resulting in huge wins for North Carolina women, parents, and families,” said House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain). “While Gov. Cooper has tried to stand between parents and their kids, today the NC House will continue to affirm parent’s rights, protect female athletes, and advocate for the health and safety of our children.”

LGBT advocacy groups like EqualityNC and the NC ACLU were unhappy with the override results for specific bills they believe are “anti-trans.”

“These bills will have devastating effects on trans youth who are already facing multiple barriers. This is a coordinated attack on fundamental freedoms that affect us all: inclusion, bodily autonomy, and our right to privacy,” NC ACLU Director of Policy and Advocacy Liz Barber said in a press release. “Transgender young people deserve to make choices about their own bodies, discuss their identities at school without fear of outing, and participate in sports teams that align with their gender identity.”

Barber also said it was “shameful that the General Assembly has continued to push this discriminatory agenda.”

EqualityNC dubbed the bills barring men in women’s sports, the prohibition on sex reassignment surgeries for minors, and the Parents’ Bill of Rights as a “slate of hate.”

The statement also said Equality NC has been partnering with the Campaign for Southern Equality to bring the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project (STYEP) to North Carolina, which appears to facilitate getting trans kids get surgery and treatments in other states.

The conservative NC Values Coalition has been a vocal proponent of several of the bills, in particular. House Bills 808 and 574.

“HB 808 is a compassionate bill which will protect gender confused youth from medical and trans activists, who urge children with mental health issues to permanently change their bodies by cutting off healthy body parts and consume cancer drugs not FDA-approved for gender transitioning,” NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald said in a statement following the override votes.

The NC Values statement also said the group has “worked closely with detransitioners,” and brought detransitioner Prisha Mosely, who was chemically transitions at 15 and had a double-mastectomy at age 18, to testify before the legislature. Mosely told lawmakers she was groomed by trans activists on social media, and doctors pressured her parents to allow the surgery by telling them, “You can either have a dead daughter or a live son.” 

“Legislation preventing children from undergoing such life-altering procedures could have protected me and many others like me,” Mosely said in a statement. “I was utterly convinced by adults that I had been born in the wrong body, and that hormones and surgery were the cure. No doctor should remove healthy body parts or prescribe sterilizing drugs to children for a social contagion of mental suffering.”    

“Bodies play sports, not identities, and this bill ensures North Carolina girls and women won’t be benched in their own sports and can train confidently knowing they have a safe and level playing field,” Fitzgerald said of House Bill 574 becoming law. “The people of North Carolina can rest assured their daughters will not have to worry about injuries or unfair competition in sports, or about their daughters being exposed by men in their locker rooms.”

The bill garnered significant attention as it made its way through committees including the testimony of Riley Gaines, a 12-time All-American swimmer out of the University of Kentucky. Gaines has made national headlines calling attention to the unfair advantage in her sport by Lia Thomas, who identifies as female.

Additionally, North Carolina volleyball player Payton McNabb told lawmakers how she suffered severe and long lasting injuries as a result of playing against a transgender opponent. The opponent, a biological male claiming to be female, spiked a ball into McNabb’s head at a rate of 70 miles per hour, rendering her unconscious.

About A.P. Dillon 1076 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_