North Carolina won't be joining the list of states challenging federal health care reform legislation -- not yet, anyway. Over the weekend, Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed legislation passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature that challenges a provision that would require the purchase of health insurance.
In a statement
, Perdue called the house bill "an ill-conceived piece of legislation that's not good for the people of North Carolina." She said the state law contradicts federal law, and that since 27 states are already challenging it, "this issue will reach the Supreme Court in a timely manner without North Carolina spending money and energy on it."
In her veto statement, Perdue also said she was persuaded after talks with N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper that the law would have "unintended consequences" and could hurt state programs, such as Medicaid and children's health plans.
The Associated Press
reported that a Feb. 28 memo from attorneys in the General Assembly's nonpartisan research office contradicted Cooper, saying that the bill has a narrower scope. The memo said it is appropriate that Cooper, a Democrat, pursue a defense of the state law.
Republicans, who gained control of the state legislature in the 2010 midterm elections, must now decide if they will try to override Perdue's veto. The party-line vote on the bill suggests they don't have the votes.
Perdue was elected North Carolina's first female governor in 2008 on the surge of Democratic votes that won the state for President Barack Obama. According to recent polls, she would have trouble repeating that feat today.
A poll by the Justice at Stake Campaign and the N.C. Center for Voter Education
showed her 2008 opponent, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, leading Perdue by a 51-to-38 percent margin.
Perdue has been visible as Charlotte prepares to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Last week, she joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Sen. Kay Hagan and other officials at the Charlotte Chamber for a discussion with city and state business leaders. LaHood offered support for a new air-traffic tower and federal funding for rail projects.
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