House overrides two vetoes during special session

By: Lindsay Marchello - Carolina Journal

RALEIGH — The House met briefly during Thursday to override two bills vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper.

House Bill 140 and House Bill 770 both gained enough votes to reverse the governor’s veto not long after the session opened. The House may address the remaining three vetoes Monday on House Bill 205, House Bill 511, and House Bill 576.

H.B. 140 began its legislative journey as a bill addressing dental insurance, but Cooper vetoed the bill after a committee amended it to expand the types of property covered by credit insurance. The bill allows someone to purchase credit insurance for items like all-terrain-vehicles or jet skis.

Rep. Deb Butler, D-Brunswick, New Hanover, opposed the bill. She said lawyers at the Financial Protection Law Center in Wilmington told her the new insurance would be a form of predatory lending.

“This type of insurance is predatory in nature,” Butler said, “It has a disproportionate effect on poor and unsophisticated buyers, driving the price of their goods and insurance in an astronomical way.”

Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland, countered Butler’s argument, explaining that predatory lending is already outlawed in North Carolina. Szoka also pointed out the bill expands consumer options and no one is forced to buy the credit insurance.

He noted that ATVs and jet skis were uncommon consumer products the last time the property insurance laws were modified.

“It is not a major change in the law. It is a minor change to recognize new classes of property that people can take off of their personal homestead where they live. It is just trying to update things to the way people live today,” Szoka argued.

H.B. 140 passed 72-43 mostly on party lines.

H.B. 770, addresses several technical issues, but the main dispute resides in a provision allowing a state employee to receive two paychecks from the state.

House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, D-Wake, asked the House to sustain the veto.

“This bill does a couple of things that I really don’t think should be in this bill, but one is it gives a special provision of state employment to one particular state employee, which I think is unfair to many other state employees,” Jackson explained.

Jackson also took issue over how the bill changes how two of the governor’s appointments to the North Carolina medical board are chosen, and says no one has explained why the change is necessary.

No one countered Jackson’s criticism. Like with H.B. 140, H.B 770 passed 71-44 along party lines.

The two bills are on Friday’s Senate calendar for consideration.

Lindsay Marchello

Carolina Journal