North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed Anti-Critic Racial Theory Bill

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday vetoed two bills, including an anti-criticism racial theory bill that would have regulated the views that public schools can “promote” and would compel them. to post online programs and guest speakers who might talk about race or gender in advance. .

House Bill 324, titled “Ensuring Dignity and Non-Discrimination / Schools,” passed both the House and the Senate party-wise, with all Republicans for and all Democrats against. . All African-American senators and representatives of the General Assembly are Democrats.

In an emailed statement, Cooper said, “Lawmakers should focus on supporting teachers, helping students recover lost learning and investing in our public schools. Instead, this bill pushes calculated, conspiratorial politics into public education. “

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Representative Kandie D. Smith of Greenville speaks against HB 324 during a debate on the floor of the House on Wednesday September 1, 2021 in Raleigh, NC Robert Willett [email protected]

Senate Leader Phil Berger, a Republican from Eden, said in a statement on Friday about the HB 324 veto:. His made-up excuse is so clearly refuted by the text of the bill that I wonder if he even read it.

“More broadly, the Democrats’ choice to oppose a bill saying schools cannot force children to believe one race is superior to another really shows how far the mainstream Democratic Party has gone.” , said Berger.

Cooper also vetoed House Bill 805, known as “Prevent Riots and Civil Unrest,” which would have created tougher penalties for people who riot. President Tim Moore introduced the bill after George Floyd’s protests last summer turned destructive.

Two Democrats voted with Republicans when it passed the House. In the Senate, no Democrat voted for.

“People who commit crimes during riots and at other times should be prosecuted and our laws provide for it, but this legislation is unnecessary and is intended to intimidate and deter people from exercising their constitutional rights to protest peacefully,” Cooper said of the veto on Friday. .

Moore on Friday called the riot bill’s veto “a slap in the face of small business owners and residents of towns and villages across this state who have been damaged by lawless riots.” Moore said Cooper was “bending to the far left” by vetoing what he called a “common sense” bill.

Critical Race Theory Bill

Bill 324 does not specifically mention critical race theory, but describes a series of concepts that schools should not “promote”, including that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or gender. another sex; and that “an individual, solely on the basis of race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive”. He also says teachers should not promote that anyone “should experience discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress” because of their race or gender.

The bill also requires schools to notify the Ministry of Public Instruction and post on their school’s website one month in advance the curriculum, reading lists, workshops and training as well as any contracts with them. speakers and trainers in diversity.

During the final debate in the House, Representative John Torbett, a Republican from Stanley, said the bill “provides a window into what [parents’] we teach children.

“This bill does not change what history can or cannot be taught,” Torbett said.

Democrats disagreed.

Representative Brandon Lofton, a Democrat from Mecklenburg County, said the bill “encourages us to look away from our history”.

Wake County Democratic Representative Abe Jones called this aspect of the bill “Big Raleigh” and an example of state lawmakers making rules for local areas where they don’t live.

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice on Friday praised Cooper’s veto on HB 324. Katelin Kaiser, voting rights lawyer for the coalition, said the bill was “a desperate effort to stop speak out and end the studies essential to educational equity for students when we need it most.

Cooper’s office had previously indicated that it would veto the bill.

“Instead of pushing calculated and conspiratorial policies in public education, lawmakers should focus on supporting teachers, helping students recover lost learning, and investing in our public schools,” said the Cooper’s press secretary Jordan Monaghan in a statement after the bill was passed. “This legislation does none of that and is only meant for the next political campaign.”

Republicans have majorities in both chambers, but not the three-fifths of the qualified majorities needed to override vetoes, unless they have the backing of some Democrats.

Democratic leader in the Senate Dan Blue tweeted on Friday that Senate Democrats would maintain both vetoes.

Cooper also signed nine bills on Friday, including one banning the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women. He also signed House Bill 351, known as “Clifford’s Law,” which authorizes visits to nursing home residents during disasters and declared emergencies. It is named after Clifford Jernigan, a resident of a long-term nursing home.

For more information on North Carolina government and politics, listen to The News & Observer and NC Insider’s Under the Dome political podcast. You can find it at link.chtbl.com/underthedomenc or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan covers North Carolina State Government and Politics at News & Observer. She has previously covered Durham and received the McClatchy President’s Award as well as several North Carolina Press Association awards, including for investigative reporting.

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