Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed 11 bills this year, surpassing and almost doubling the number of his predecessor, former Gov. Pat McCrory, across his four years. Cooper’s veto tally is halfway to the 19 logged by former Gov. Bev. Perdue.
Thus far, in seven attempts to override Cooper’s vetoes, the House has done so every time. On Thursday, the House voted to override Cooper’s veto of HB140 and HB770. Both will next be heard in the Senate where they will likely be overridden and become law, where Republicans hold a stronger advantage.
The House overrode Cooper’s veto of HB140, “Dental Plans Provider Contracts/Transparency,” sponsored by Rep. Bert Jones (R-Rockingham).
The bill originally dealt with transparency related to fee schedules, but was amended in the Senate by Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) to give customers the ability to purchase credit insurance such as credit property, life or unemployment insurance on consumer loans for purchases of personal items such as personal computers.
Cooper’s veto statement said expanding credit insurance could drive consumers further into debt, and that they should not have to pay for unnecessary insurance.
Bishop said that bill simply gave consumers a choice.
In a story on this site on July 31, Bishop stressed that purchasing the insurance was voluntary and said, “As a practical matter, you can’t make people do it, but this would have increased flexibility for that type of insurance. There’s some people who might have been interested in buying it, but now they won’t be able to. [Cooper] is saying he knows better than Joe Smith who needs to buy a computer, whether Joe Smith faces possible unemployment, and would like to guard against that risk by incurring the cost of this premium. He may know better, but my own view is you ought to give the consumer the choice.”
Szoka told the House that the bill simply allows for personal property such as an ATV (all terrain vehicle) to be covered by credit insurance if a loan is taken out to purchase that product.
Rep. Deb Butler (R-New Hanover) did not support the override motion and told the House that these types of loans have a disproportionate effect on poor and unsophisticated buyers, driving the price of their goods and insurance up astronomically.
Szoka said the credit insurance only related to property secured by a consumer loan. Using the example of an ATV, he said that this type of insurance protects against, for example, a collision, which would pay off the loan if the ATV were destroyed, and credit property insurance had been purchased.
Answering a question from Rep. Mickey Michaux (D-Durham), Szoka said that the insurance was not mandatory, but is another option for consumers to give them more choice.
The House voted to override the veto in a 72-43 vote, and the bill was sent to the Senate.
Next up the House overrode Cooper’s veto of HB770, “Various Clarifying Changes” in a 71-44 vote and that bill too was sent to the Senate.
Cooper cited in his objections to the bill that the legislature gave itself two appointments to the state’s Medical Board.
The bill also would allow a full-time employee of the NC Industrial Commission, former state GOP counsel Bill Peaslee, to draw an additional salary for serving on the state Property Tax Commission.
Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Raleigh) urged the House to vote against the veto override. Jackson said that the special treatment of one state employee was not fair to other state employees, and that he has not heard any good reason why the legislature took two Medical Board appointments away from Cooper and gave them to the legislature.
Rep. William Brisson (D-Dublin) was the only Democrat to vote to override both bills.
The Senate had both bills on its calendar for its Friday session, but the bills were withdrawn as they concentrated on redistricting maps.