The North Carolina Senate voted 48-0 yesterday to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of Senate Bill 781, the “Regulatory Reform Act of 2011.” In session debate, both Democrats and Republicans agreed that the Governor’s reasoning behind the veto did not hold up to scrutiny.
State agencies have issued 15,000 regulations over the past decade. The bill had bipartisan support upon passage and business groups had strongly supported the legislation
The act accomplished several tasks to lessen the burden of regulations on North Carolina businesses. State agencies are forbidden to write regulations not authorized by federal or state law, the rulemaking process has enhanced transparency, and final authority on regulatory matters was transferred from state agencies to an administrative law judge.
That transfer provoked the Governor’s veto. In her veto message, the Governor said that advisers had warned her of a constitutional issue regarding the shifting of authority from state agencies. When considering the override, the Senate was only able to find one unpublished writing by the Attorney General’s office supporting her view, while the Senate’s rationale rested on the much stronger ground of an NC Appeals Court decision, Peace v. Employment Security Commission of NC.
After yesterday’s six successful override votes, all but one of which had bipartisan support, the Governor issued a statement condemning the Senate and pleading for the House to support her vetoes.
“The Senate today made the wrong choices for North Carolina — six times over. I remain hopeful that the House will take up these issues and make better choices,” said Perdue.
Unlike in the Senate, Republicans will likely need the support of some Democrats to override any vetoes by a three-fifths majority.