An override vote on Senate Bill 2 – which would exempt magistrates from performing marriages if they have religious objections and also affects registers of deeds – appeared on Wednesday’s House calendar without any action.
House Republican leaders wrapped up the session without mentioning the bill, prompting questions from Democrats. “Our state constitution says upon receipt of the vetoed bill, we’re required to ‘proceed to reconsider,’” said Rep. Grier Martin, a Raleigh Democrat.
Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam, who was presiding over that portion of the session, offered a cryptic response: “We’ll proceed to reconsider when we proceed to reconsider.”
Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement that his veto of the magistrates bill was in protection of the constitution and that he was “pleased” there were not enough votes to overturn his decision.
“The vote should have occurred so that we can move on and refocus on the pressing issues important to the people of North Carolina like creating more jobs, building roads, improving education and growing the economy,” McCrory said.
Asked about the override after the session, House Majority Leader Mike Hager told a reporter that he was heading to a meeting on the subject. “We should know by tomorrow” when the vote will occur, he added.
The original House vote on the magistrates bill barely met the three-fifths majority threshold for an override, and House Speaker Tim Moore voiced concerns this week about having enough votes.
Among those still on the fence is Rep. Craig Horn, a Union County Republican. Horn was among 10 House members who missed the first vote; he was in London attending a convention of Winston Churchill enthusiasts.
“I’m still struggling, but I’m beginning to feel a little more confident that I can cast an affirmative vote to override,” he said Wednesday. “It’s really, really hard for me to cast a vote to override a gubernatorial veto.”