UPDATE: Gov. Perdue has announced that she has signed off on the appointment of Rep. Trudi Walend — thereby averting the standoff.
Meanwhile, the Senate has overridden the governor's veto of SB9 by a vote of 31-19.
House Republicans this afternoon declared a standoff with the governor over the seating of a new member, saying they would remain in session until she makes the appointment of Trudi Walend official.
Whether that means a late night, or they adjourn until tomorrow or come back next week, that’s what they will do, House Speaker Thom Tillis said in a news conference with Walend and the Republican caucus.
The standoff means Republicans think they are close enough to having the votes to override Perdue’s veto of Senate Bill 9, which would repeal and nullify sections of the Racial Justice Act. The General Assembly is in session today to consider the Dec. 14 verto.
Tillis accused the governor of playing politics by not having made the appointment already.
"There’s a possibility that we could sustain an override," Tillis said, "but we’re literally still counting votes, and that’s what we’re going to be doing in the spare time that the governor has given us. But I will tell you, we will probably be here until the governor does appoint Rep. Walend. Each day that the governor delays costs the taxpayers of North Carolina $50,000. "
Walend was chosen on Monday night by a Republic executive committee in the district of Rep. David Guice, a Republican who represented Polk, Henderson and Transylvania counties. Late last year, Guice was given a job in the new state Department of Public Safety, effective Sunday.
That made a tight squeeze for Walend, a former state representative from Brevard, to be seated in time to vote on the veto override, which Perdue scheduled for today.
The governor has no choice but to approve the executive committee’s choice of a replacement, but she has seven days to do it in. Tillis said previous appointments were done promptly, and accused Perdue of intentionally delaying.
He said Walend’s selection was sent by courier to the governor at 2 a.m. Tuesday, and that House leaders followed up with the governor’s office later that day.
Tillis refused to say how close the House was in overriding the veto. Several legislators are said to be absent today. Gathering enough votes for an override would require some Democrats defecting to the Republican side, which Democrats on Tuesday said they thought would not happen.
Rep. Rick Glazier, a Democrat from Fayetteville, this afternoon criticized the Republican maneuver.
“I think it’s entirely hypocritical that they’re pushing this issue while Larry Womble is lying in a hospital in critical condition,” Glazier said. “They’re not waiting for him.”
Womble, a Democrat from Forsyth County, was one of the original sponsors of the Racial Justice Act. He was in a traffic accident in December.
House Republican leaders say they have been sensitive to Womble's condition by not appointing a temporary replacement for one of their own. Rep. Ric Killian, a Republican from Mecklenburg County, is serving in the military in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Senate is is debating the bill. The House is in recess until 6:30 p.m.
Keep up with today's legislative session in our Under the Dome blog.