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If Sen. Don Davis stood up to Republicans, Rep. Sydney Batch wouldn’t have to cut her recovery short

Since Governor Cooper vetoed S359, a bill that would criminalize doctors, shame patients, and disproportionately impact Black women, legislative dramatics have reached new heights. The bill is up for another vote in the House today.

The fight over the veto override began with Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene, Pitt) casting the deciding vote to override Gov. Cooper's veto of S359 in the Senate. He also voted for the original bill. Davis was the only Democrat in the Senate to vote against Gov. Cooper and in line with Republicans on this restrictive bill that addresses a “problem” that does not exist and places further restrictions on safe reproductive health care.

For those unfamiliar with legislative procedure, Sen. Davis’s vote in favor of overriding the veto resulted in the bill ending up in the House’s infamous “veto garage.” Republican House Speaker Tim Moore placed the vote to override the veto of S359 on the calendar and withdrew it on nine separate occasions between May 2 and May 29, likely because Republicans didn’t have the votes they needed to override the Governor’s veto. However, Democrats like Rep. Sydney Batch (D-Wake), kept showing up, thus preventing an override. 

Rep. Batch, however, is recovering from cancer. Her seatmate, Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D- Guilford), said Batch is too weak to drive herself to the General Assembly so she has been driving Batch to and from sessions. She had to cut her recovery from a recent mastectomy short to make sure her vote to sustain the Governor’s veto is counted. While Sen. Davis chose to fall in line with Republican leadership that is supposedly “pro-life” yet refuses to expand Medicaid, Rep. Batch returned to the General Assembly soon after surgery to prevent her Republican colleagues from capitalizing on her absence.

Rep. Batch is in her first term and it’s clear she is more than willing to stand up for what she believes in, even if it comes at the expense of her own health. Sen. Davis, meanwhile, has a long history of supporting Republican leadership, and failing to stand up for the people in his district and his fellow Democratic legislators. He is more than willing to cave to Republican leadership no matter who it hurts.  

The House is expected to vote on the S359 veto override today at 3 p.m. House lawmakers voting today should consider the deep human consequences of failing to stand up to Republican leadership, not only to constituents, but also fellow legislators who are literally putting their bodies on the line.