Monday, November 09, 2020

Democrats in the NC Senate Can Still Sustain the Governor's Veto

Phil Berger,
boss of the NC Senate

If the current numbers hold, Democrats will retain 22 out of the 50 seats in the NC Senate. Democrats actually gained a seat. (I know! It's maybe the brightest news for North Carolina Democrats from an election that wiped out the aspirations of many other good people.) It takes 30 votes to override a governor's veto. The Republicans will be two votes short, if all the Democrats stay true and if my math isn't wrong. The House Democrats' ability to sustain a Cooper veto got vaporized on November 3rd, but not the Senate's.

But one major area of legislative action -- redistricting -- remains bad lousy, wretched, and wrong for Democrats for the next ten years. The governor has no veto authority over redistricting maps, and the Democrats in both houses of the General Assembly will have no leverage for negotiation. The Republicans will do their worse, the courts will sort it out, and people with progressive ideas can take an old cold tater and wait.

In the past, both Republicans and Democrats have advocated fair redistricting reforms, giving the map-drawing power over to an independent, non-partisan commission:

One of those reform bills in 2019 was so popular that more than half of the members of the N.C. House signed on as co-sponsors, virtually guaranteeing it would pass at least one chamber. However, it did not, since GOP leaders never allowed it to come up for a vote.

That redistricting reform bill, stuck in committee purgatory, was HB 140 or the FAIR Act. In addition to its broad bipartisan support at the legislature it was also backed by the group North Carolinians for Redistricting Reform, which boasts numerous prominent political insiders from both parties on its board of directors. [Will Doran]

You seriously think Phil Berger gives a fig? He doesn't. He doesn't hear any of it. He doesn't intend ever to give away the power that so intoxicates him:

"Where we've seen these commissions in other states, they end up being populated by folks who are partisans of one sort or the other," Berger said. "So I think if you're going to have folks who are partisans, they at least ought to be elected by the people of the state."

Impeccable logic, that, if maintaining power is your drug.


scharrison said...

We can still sustain a Veto in the NC House, too. 69-51 is close, but not a supermajority.

J.W. Williamson said...

Thanks, Steve. I've never been happier to be wrong.