The hot news of the morning is that the NC Senate met in the middle of the night to override Governor Perdue’s veto of Senate Bill 727. The bill is “An Act to Eliminate the Dues Checkoff Option for Active and Retired Public School Employees.” It means that educators no longer have the option of deciding for themselves if they want to have their dues taken directly out of their paychecks.
When Governor Perdue vetoed the bill, she had this statement attached to her veto:
This bill is simply one more attack on teachers by the Republicans in the General Assembly. The effect of Senate Bill 727 is to unfairly and arbitrarily single out one group given that State law allows a dues check off option for every other comparable association of employees. It does so without even attempting to offer any rational basis why — which is not surprising because no rational basis exists. In addition to being unfair, this bill is also illegal because it violates the rule under our State Constitution that similar groups must be treated similarly.
In short, the Republican leadership is punishing teachers because teachers had the “audacity” to publicly protest a budget that contains the most devastating cuts to education in our State’s history. Teachers have rights, and I refuse to allow the General Assembly to take them away.
Therefore, I veto this bill.
The Republicans state that they acted legally in holding this middle of the night session, but Governor Perdue blasted them by saying:
“The Republicans in the General Assembly didn’t have the votes to get what they wanted legally. So, in the dark of the night, they engaged in an unprecedented, unconstitutional power grab,” Perdue wrote. “I am saddened for the people of North Carolina that the Republicans abused their power and chose this destructive path.”
Legal or illegal, it seems plain to me that this was a power struggle. Whether or not it was the Republicans punishing the teachers, I don’t see any other reason why this middle of the night session would have been held. They wanted to override Governor Perdue’s veto, and wanted to do it secretly, without giving anyone a chance to rally against them. Is this really how we want our government to run?