Republican lawmakers currently hold a majority in both chambers of the North Carolina legislature.
But with a Democrat in the Governor’s Mansion, Republicans need to make every bill veto proof.
And Republican lawmakers in North Carolina just made one move that sent the Democrat Governor into panic mode.
Republicans in North Carolina are expanding a school choice voucher program in their state
Earlier this month, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill that would expand the school choice voucher program in the state by $400 million. Since this is a major win for proponents of school choice, it’s causing an outburst of anger from the Democrat Governor.
The bill would make the current tuition assistance program available to all income levels. It would also expand access to middle-income families and allow them to send their children to private schools instead of public schools.
The House Bill has a Senate version that is written in the exact same language. Both bills have passed their respective chambers and the Senate has already included it in their draft budget. It’s been reported that Republicans have the votes they need to protect it from an expected veto.
Governor Cooper’s response to the legislation is nothing short of total panic.
Governor Roy Cooper declares a “State of Emergency” to warn about the bill
Cooper posted a video address on social media accusing Republicans of “dropping an atomic bomb on public education” by expanding the eligibility to all income brackets. He’s genuinely afraid that the result will be more people choosing to go to private schools, which could result in “steep funding cuts” for public schools.
He went on to declare a “state of emergency because you need to know what’s happening.” He didn’t say his “state of emergency” would give him access to any additional funds, but went on to say that “it’s time to take immediate action and tell them to stop the damage” that will happen with school choice.
The GOP legislature is planning to choke the life out of public education, and you need to know what’s happening. Watch Gov. Cooper's special address on public education. pic.twitter.com/QVkXpLhDu2
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 22, 2023
Cooper went on to acknowledge that “there is no executive order like there is for a hurricane or the pandemic,” but only after he told people that the Republicans are “aiming to choke the life out of public education.”
Republican lawmakers were quick to respond to the statements made by the Democrat Governor.
Democrat-turned-Republican defends the bill that she sponsored
Representative Tricia Cotham was formerly a Democrat in the North Carolina House. However, she changed parties earlier this year. Cotham said that Cooper “advocating for systems rather than students” is the “true emergency.”
“Education is not one-size-fits-all, and North Carolina families should have the freedom to determine what kind of education is best for them,” she wrote. Cotham added that her bill was “to expand the NC opportunity scholarship program” and allow for more school choice in the state.
Corey DeAngelis is a senior fellow at the nonprofit group, School Choice Now. He responded by calling Cooper a “hypocrite” in reference to the Governor’s own choice to send his kid to a private school. He said he wants to see families “free from the clutches of the teachers union once and for all.”
Patriot Political will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.