Earlier today, the House overrode Gov. Perdue’s veto of HB7, “Community Colleges Opt out of Federal Loan Program.” The bill gives individual community colleges the freedom to choose, whether or not they will participate in the William D. Ford Federal Loan Program, which is seen as a concern for those worried about the rising rate of defaults on student loans.
The bill was vetoed after being passed in April of last year. While debating the override, Rep. Hackney (D-Orange) brought up the constitutionality of the override under Article 2 of the NC Constitution . Rep. Stam (R-Wake) responded that the constitution does not offer specific time frames for overrides. If the Senate overrides this bill, it will be the eighth veto override of the 2011-2012 session.
According to Rep. Ingle’s (R-Alamance) office, one of the bill’s sponsors, this bill would effectively neutralize a similar bill passed by the House yesterday if it can also pass the Senate. That bill, HB1049, only extends to 27 of the state’s 58 community colleges (see blog post, “N.C. Community Colleges Now Allowed to Opt Out of Bad Loan Practices“) .
HB1049 was a precautionary measure to ensure that if the House did not obtain the three-fifths majority of those present necessary to override the veto, then at least some of the community colleges would be allowed to opt out of the federal loan program. In this way, the General Assembly could get around the Governor’s veto by making the measure a “private bill” that referred to only a few of the community colleges rather than to the entire state. If a bill is private, then it does not need the Governor’s signature to be made into law.
Gov. Perdue has since issued a statement declaring that, “the Republican legislature has closed a path to career training or college for potentially thousands of students.” Proponents of the bill, however, claim that the loan program often leads to needless debt and overburdens students in the long run.