On Wednesday, Republicans in the North Carolina House of Representatives blindsided Democrats by convening what they said was a pro forma session with no votes — and then voting to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of their budget bill with half of members absent from the chamber at 9/11 remembrance ceremonies.
Democrats howled with rage as GOP Speaker Tim Moore forced through the measure, objecting that he had lied to them about the purpose of the session.
Cooper vetoed the budget in June, saying that Republicans did not do enough to fund education, and called on the legislature to reach a bipartisan compromise.
The state Senate would also have to override the veto for the GOP budget to become law. Republicans lost their veto-overriding supermajority in the chamber in the 2018 midterm election — but some Democratic senators voted to pass the budget the previous time around, meaning the GOP should have the votes to make it law over Cooper's objections.
The drama in the general assembly unfolds just as a state court ruled that the legislature was illegally convened through unconstitutionally gerrymandered districts that award extra seats to Republicans, and new districts must be drawn for 2020. The GOP's efforts to replace their gerrymander with a fair map have not gotten off to a great start, with lawmakers bringing in a lottery machine to try to do the task for them.