Override Vote Possible Justice Act Repeal Veto
Moore County’s legislative delegation heads back to Raleigh today for a special session called to consider overriding Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of a bill adjusting the Racial Justice Act.
But neither state Sen. Harris Blake nor state Rep. Jamie Boles is predicting the outcome of the vote.
“I expect some debate, but I’m not sure about the numbers,” Boles said Tuesday.
Blake added, “I’m not sure how all this will play out.”
Both Blake and Boles voted in favor of the bill approved during a special session called late in November. The bill was described as an adjustment to the Racial Justice Act to bring it into compliance with recent court rulings, but supporters of the measure say the legislature’s November vote is the same as repeal of the bill.
The Racial Justice Act was adopted at a previous session when the Democrats were in control of the General Assembly. Now Republicans control both legislative chambers.
The act allows inmates on death row to contest their death sentences on the basis of racial statistics. It was passed in an effort to protect minorities from unfair treatment in the courts because of their race or ethnicity.
Blake and Boles said some members of their chambers are unable to make the session today, because of sickness or for other reasons.
Boles said he knows of at least one legislator who is sick and another who has accepted a state position and is no longer in the House. However, he said the House members unable to attend today come from “both sides” of the issue, which makes the outcome difficult to predict.
“Everything seems to be up in the air, and I have no clear picture about the outlook,” Blake said.
The special session is not expected to last more than one day.
The General Assembly will convene again in February for another special session, this one also expected to center on overriding the other vetoes not yet addressed. Boles said the override actions were included in a previous adjournment resolution, and that’s another case of uncertain outcome.
The legislature has already successfully overridden a number of the governor’s vetoes of bills passed in 2011, but about five, including a controversial measure requiring voters to show photo identification before entering the polling booth, have not been tackled.
The regular 2012 budget session does not convene until May.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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