On Friday, Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina stated that he would not veto a bill that increases penalties for rioters, despite having blocked a similar bill in 2021. The bill had received bipartisan support in the House and Senate and was sent to the governor’s desk by the GOP-controlled legislature last Thursday. The governor had until Monday to sign or veto the bill, which was proposed after the nationwide riots in 2020 following George Floyd’s death. While Cooper decided not to veto the bill, he also did not sign it, allowing it to become law without his signature. This move could potentially delay a veto override from state lawmakers, as the legislature has become more Republican since Cooper’s 2021 veto.
According to a news release, Governor Cooper stated that the bill had undergone changes aimed at modifying its impact since it was vetoed two years ago, but he still had reservations about the wording. He expressed concerns about the First Amendment’s erosion and the unequal effects on communities of color, as property damage and violence were already illegal.
While Democrats had sufficient representation in the House and Senate in 2021 to sustain the veto on the previous riot bill, the current Republican-controlled Senate now has the authority to override a veto. In the House, only one Democrat’s vote is needed to achieve the same advantage.