GOP Maintains Supermajority In NC Legislature

Nov 9, 2016

In the North Carolina legislature, Republicans maintained their supermajority in both the House and Senate. That means regardless of who's governor, lawmakers can override him.

A legislative supermajority means one of the key checks and balances in state government really isn't that much of a check: a governor's veto loses its power.

Republicans gained three-fifths of the seats in the state House and Senate after the 2012 election. Since then, they've overridden four of the six vetoes they've faced, according to the state legislative library. Keep in mind, all those vetoes came from another Republican, Governor Pat McCrory. 

"It's important in that you obviously have a large say in driving the agenda and setting priorities," Republican state Senator Jeff Tarte of Mecklenburg County says. He says tax policy and teacher pay will be among his priorities.

Although Republicans kept the supermajority, they lost two seats in Mecklenburg County. Democrat Mary Belk was up a little over 1 percent on incumbent Rob Bryan. And Democrat Chaz Beasley won Republican Charles Jeter's seat.

Beasley says the voters in his district were looking for a new direction, including on House bill 2. That's the state law that excludes LGBT people from protection against discrimination and requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to their birth certificate.

"We need to make sure we're that we're looking at ways in both parties to really govern and come to a consensus about this because HB2 is doing damage and that damage needs to be stemmed," Beasley says.

Some Republicans agree the law should be changed, but it's unclear whether there are enough votes. What is clear is that if GOP lawmakers vote together, they can keep passing legislation regardless of what the governor thinks.