The North Carolina General Assembly gaveled in their Special Session on Redistricting and Veto Overrides at noon on July 13th. While both chambers plan to have a skeleton session this week and next and then really get down to business the on the 22nd, the Senate wasted no time overriding six of Governor Perdue’s vetoes. The House has yet to take up the vetoes and may not have as easy of a time as the Senate since they are four votes short of a veto proof majority.
Below is a list of vetoes overridden by the Senate:
· S 781 – Regulatory Reform
Governor Perdue originally vetoed S 781, saying a provision to give administrative judges authority over agencies “could be unconstitutional.” Both Republicans and Democrats disagreed – voting unanimously 48-0.
· S 33 – Medical Malpractice Reform
Perdue vetoed S 33 because she said that it unfairly capped monetary damages that patients could receive who were egregiously injured or killed due to malpractice. All Senate Republicans, and five Democrats (Bob Atwater, Ed Jones, Eric Mansfield, Bill Purcell and Michael Walters) voted to override on a vote of 35-12.
· S 709 – Energy Jobs Act
, which changes the direction of NC state energy policy to turn towards fossil fuel exploration, offshore drilling and fracking for natural gas, was vetoed by Perdue because she thought it would require her to enter a multistate compact violating the separation of powers. The override vote was 31-18, with Michael Walters, D-Robeson, signing on with the Republicans.
· S 532 ESC/Jobs Reform
Gov. Perdue vetoed this bill saying it made changes to NC unemployment laws that could be in conflict with or violate US Department of Labor (USDOL) laws already on the books. The bills sponsor, Sen. Debbie Clary, R-Cleveland, said she received no objections from the USDOL. The override vote was 31-18, with Sen. Stan White, D-Dare, joining the Republicans.
· S 727 No Dues Checkoff for School Employees
When Gov. Perdue vetoed this bill she said it “unfairly and arbitrarily singled out one group [the NC Association of Educators].” It would no longer allow state payroll deduction for dues to the group. The override vote fell along party lines, 30-18.
The House and Senate Joint Redistricting Committee released their first drafts of the full Redistricting Maps for the State House and Senate and Congressional Districts. Due to population shifts and growth, the maps contain major district changes that in many instances significantly alter the partisan makeup of districts.
The new Congressional maps appear to have a significant GOP slant. The core parts of the districts will look similar to the maps of the past, but the map drawers made the most of their changes along the edges to give districts a new look.
· Brad Miller appears to be the biggest loser in the new maps. His 13th district lost many urban voters in Raleigh and Greensboro and picked up very rural, Republican voters in Stokes and Surry Counties.
· Larry Kissell’s 8th district loses strong Democratic voters in Cumberland and Mecklenburg Counties and picks up strong Republican voters in Rowan, Davidson and Randolph.
· Democrat Heath Shuler won the already Republican leaning 11th district by the slimmest of margins. Under the proposed districts, he will lose a big portion of his Democratic support as a large part of the City of Asheville is carved out.
· G.K. Butterfield’s 1st District, David Price’s 4th District and Mel Watt’s 12th District seem to remain safe Democratic seats. Virginia Foxx’s 5th District, Howard Coble’s 6th District, Sue Myrick’s 9th District and Patrick McHenry’s 10th District appear to remain safe Republican seats. Renee Ellmer, who won the 2nd District in the last election from Democrat Bob Etheridge, would have a substantially safer district, while Republican Walter Jones’ 3rd district would get a little more competitive.
State Senate Districts
It is no surprise that the new Senate maps put forth by the Joint Redistricting Committee clearly favor the GOP and that, if the districts remain intact as proposed, would result in Democrats facing a difficult challenge to win back the chamber in the near future. Several incumbents, both Democrats and Republicans, have been “Double-Bunked.” Double-Bunking refers to drawing two incumbents into the same district and forcing them to run against each other either in a primary or the general election.
· Democrat Linda Garrou has been drawn into Republican leaning District 31 with Republican Pete Brunstetter in Forsyth County.
· Guilford Democrat Don Vaughn and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger of Rockingham have been drawn together in to the 26th District which has a strong Republican lean.
· Five-term Republican incumbents Jerry Tillman of Randolph County and Harris Blake in Moore County have been double-bunked into District 29.
· Republican Debbie Clary, who announced her retirement last month, has been drawn into freshman Republican Warren Daniel’s District 43 in Burke County.
· Democratic Senators Ellie Kinnaird and Bob Atwater of Orange and Chatham Counties have been placed together in District 23.
· The proposed districts create five open seats for the 2012 elections. Three out of the five favor Republican candidates.
State House Districts
Much like the Senate maps, the maps for proposed House Districts appear to change the partisan makeup of many districts and give Republicans an advantage in 2012. The House maps double-bunk incumbents in 14 districts. Six districts would put incumbent Democrats together, five would have two Republicans and three would have a Republican and a Democrat in the same district.
· Jim Crawford and Winkie Wilkins now occupy a new District 2 in Person County.
· Former House Speaker and current Minority Leader Joe Hackney has been taken out of his current District 54 and into the 56th District with Verla Insko in Orange County.
· In Wake County, Deborah Ross has been drawn into Grier Martin’s District 34.
· Pricy Harrison and Maggie Jeffus now occupy the same 59th District in Guilford County.
· Buncombe County’s Patsy Keever and Susan Fisher are now both in the 114th District.
· Rick Glazier and Diane Parfitt of Cumberland County are now both in the 44th District.
· In Mitchell County, Phillip Frye loses his 84th District and is drawn into the 85th with Mitch Gillespie.
· Larry Brown and Dale Folwell now share the 74th District in Forsyth County.
· Yadkin County’s Mark Hollo and Darrell McCormick now both occupy the 92nd District.
· Efton Sager loses his 11th district and now shares the 4th District with Jimmy Dixon in Wayne and Duplin Counties.
· Jeff Collins 25th District in Nash and Franklin Counties now includes much of Glen Bradley’s former 49th District.
Republicans and Democrats
· Democrat Jennifer Weiss has been drawn into Republican Tom Murry’s 41st District in Wake County.
· Republican G.L. Pridgen now shares District 46 with Democrat Dewey Hill in Robeson County.
· In Washington County, Democrat Tim Spear loses his 2nd District and now shares the 6th District with Republican Bill Cook of Beaufort County.