Raleigh, N.C. -- A miscommunication between two powerful House members likely led to the Republican majority's ability to override Gov. Roy Cooper's budget veto on Wednesday.
House Minority Leader Darren Jackson says House Rules Chairman David Lewis told him Tuesday that no votes would be held during an early morning floor session, but Lewis insists he never said that. Regardless, most House Democrats were absent, giving the GOP the three-fifths majority needed for the override vote after weeks of waiting for such an opportunity.
There was talk that House Democrats were attending a 9/11 memorial service at the time, but WRAL News found only one lawmaker who was at such a service. House Speaker Tim Moore accused the Democrats of working on new district voting maps behind closed doors - a violation of a court order - when the vote went down, but that turned out to be false as well.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said his chamber wouldn't take up an override until next week, at the earliest. He also must play a numbers game, waiting for a few Democrats to be absent to get the needed majority to complete the override.
Berger said the Senate wants to focus this week on redistricting, and both the Senate and the House continued to slog through the process of drafting new maps to meet a Sept. 18 deadline.
Amid the tensions of the day, Sen. Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth, grabbed a cellphone from a reporter who was recording an interaction in the Legislative Building and tossed it across the room. Lowe later apologized for the outburst.