Cooper Wants Budget Provisions Removed That Would Curb A Governor’s Powers

By John Trump
Carolina Journal

Gov. Roy Cooper wants a provision to curb a governor’s powers removed from state budget plans.

Cooper, a Democrat, responding to a question during a press conference Wednesday, Aug. 18, said he plans to talk with Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, as well as House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, about his concerns. 

“I hope they will” remove [the provisions], said Cooper, citing concerns over an increase 0f COVID-19 cases — which health officials blame on the Delta variant and unvaccinated people — over the past several weeks.

“We are in the middle of a public health crisis, and we do not need to alter the emergency management act at this time,” Cooper said during the news conference, which focused on COVID-19, as well as the recent flooding in the western part of the state.

“My priorities are already out there and have been there for a while,” Cooper said of his own budget ideas.

Those include expanding Medicaid, spending more on education, even though Republicans in recent years have passed measures raising pay for teachers and other school workers, among other initiatives, such as ensuring every school district has at least one school psychologist and allocating $6 million to fund implementation of the Excellent Public Schools Act.

The budget bill, Senate Bill 105, places checks on a governor’s power, including the inclusion of firmer language requiring approval of the Council of State — a group of 10 statewide elected officers, including the lieutenant governor, auditor, and attorney general — for emergency executive orders.

In response, Carolina Journal has reported, the House and Senate advanced legislation to that effect, but neither effort made it to Cooper’s desk. Formerly reserved for the occasional hurricane or severe winter weather, Cooper, since the start of the pandemic last year, has issued a series of executive orders declaring emergencies that, for example, have restricted people’s movements, limited gatherings, closed businesses, set curfews, closed schools, and mandated masks.

Cooper on Wednesday said he would veto the final budget plan “if I have to,” but it’s still too early in the process to make that call. 

“All options are on the table,” he said.

Republican leadership said it’s puzzled by Cooper’s comments.

“It’s tough to square Governor Cooper’s professed interest in governing collaboratively with his refusal to cede the emergency power he’s guarded for 18 months,” Berger spokesman Pat Ryan told CJ. “Even disgraced soon-to-be former [New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo gave up his emergency powers months ago.”

In total, the Senate’s budget proposal would spend $10.4 billion in 2021-22 and $10.5 billion in 2022-23 on K-12 public education. That amount includes a 3% raise for teachers over two years, in addition to one-time bonuses of $300 and between $1,000 and $1,500 added bonuses from federal funds. Additionally, noncertified school employees would see their wages rise to a minimum of $13 per hour.

The budget also includes a significant expansion of the state’s three school choice scholarships aimed at low- and middle-income families and those with students with special needs.

The House plan designates $750 million for school capital funding over the next two years using money from the N.C. Education Lottery. That plan also maintains the perennial focus on teacher salary raises, as well as raises for other state employees. It brings back a 10% pay increase for teachers who earn relevant master’s degrees, offers $300 testing bonuses to all teachers, revises personal leave policies to eliminate the $50 charge for teachers missing a school day, and increases assistant principal pay by 3%.

12 COMMENTS

  1. The Republicans better stand their ground on this. I would rather go with just the basic budget no increase over last year than give in to the Doof and allow him to continue being a unilateral tyrant as he has for the past two years.

  2. What does curving a governor’s power have to do with the state budget? This is what’s wrong with our government they know they don’t have the support for bill so they stick it into an unrelated bill to try to get it to pass. Legislation should only deal with the subject that it addresses and these frivolous additions shouldn’t be part of it, they should be standalone bills.

    Hypocrites all of our election officials. Maybe someday they will get back to doing their jobs instead of being partisan puppets. But probably not until we Fire them all!!

    • The more you give them the more they want. Money and Power is all they care about. Mr cooper do your job and quit playing politics . We do not want a socialist dictatorship thats why your powers are limited. you better enjoy what time you have left because i have a feeling the people have had enough of you. I have never had 1 representative enquire as to my opinion on nothing, they seem to do as they please or they play politics. They seem to forget the will of the people the minute they are elected so how can they say they represent the people.? i will tell you how . They are liars.

  3. I still wonder how it is that the democrat governor won the election when the republican presidential candidate won the state?

    • Because more people voted for Cooper than Forest. 🤔 Could it be that in 2020

      36% of registered voters were Democrats
      33% of registered voters were Unaffiliated
      and only
      30% of registered voters were Republicans

      Nationwide Unaffiliated/Independent voters out number both Democrats and Republican voters.

      It’s just a matter of time before the independent voter kicks these two relic partisan parties to the curb. 👏

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