RALEIGH – After almost a week, Senate Bill 37, the ‘In Person Learning Choice for Families Act,’ is still sitting on Governor Roy Cooper’s desk.
No signature. No veto. Just sitting there.
Students, parents, and more teachers than the NCAE cares to admit, are tired of waiting, needlessly, as the costs of closures persist. They want to know what the hold up is; so do lawmakers in the N.C. House.
Education Committee Chairman John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg) and freshman Representative Erin Paré (R-Holly Springs) released a statement Tuesday imploring Governor Cooper to sign the bill and stop the damage that’s being done to so many kids’ lives and education:
“I am calling on Governor Cooper to stop delaying and sign the bipartisan SB37 ‘In-Person Learning Choice For Families’ immediately,” said Representative Erin Paré (R-Wake). “This bill provides families the option to return to in-person school. The reality is this: virtual learning isn’t working for a significant population of kids. The damage to children will continue unless we reopen schools for the kids that need it.”
“This is a common-sense bill that makes sure parents with children who need to be in school in-person have that option. No more delay. We need to provide families with the option to get their kids back in school.”
Earlier this month, state lawmakers approved over $1.6 billion in federal relief funding for local school systems to support safely reopening. This included over $95 million to Wake County Schools and $140 million to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the state’s largest districts.
“Medical experts and elected officials on both sides of the aisle agree that it is safe and vitally important for students to return to the classroom,” said Representative John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg). “At the end of the day, it’s undeniable that the continued absence of children in classrooms is having a devastating effect on their development and mental health.”
“This must end, and I am calling on Governor Cooper to do what is right for these families and sign this bipartisan bill. It’s time to reopen our schools and give our families a choice.”
Both chambers in the General Assembly approved Senate Bill 37 with enough Democrats to override a potential veto from the Governor.”
While there were enough Democrats signing on to override a veto, recent history tells us that those initial passage votes can disappear when the heat it turned up to defend a Cooper veto.
That being said, this issue is a lot more significant than some budget bill. That fact is evident in that Cooper did not veto the bill right away, despite having publicly opposed it.
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As such, the supportive Democrats, facing angry parents and real costs to kids, will be less inclined to flip their votes.
The bill was presented to Cooper on February 17. If the governor takes no action in 10 days (February 27), the bill becomes law without his signature. Politically, that may be the route Cooper selects: avoiding signature of the bill in deference to the far left NCAE forces and his advisors at CBC, and avoiding a plainly unpopular, hypocritical (and nonsensical) veto.
The backdrop for all of it is a remarkably uniform downtrend in case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths — a welcome complement to the demonstrably safe environment schools can provide, even among worse COVID metrics.
In the next few days, we’ll know one way or another if Cooper is willing to acknowledge this reality.
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