On Wednesday NC Senate Republicans failed to win enough votes to override Governor Cooper’s veto of a bill that would have made masks optional in all North Carolina public schools. Though two Democrats in the NC Senate had joined the Republicans to vote for SB 173 (the “Free the Smiles Act”) during its initial passage, they declined to join the Republicans in voting to override the Governor’s veto. Earlier that day, a new study was published in the journal Pediatrics showing that schools with required masking reduced in-school COVID-19 transmission by 87% compared to schools with no such requirements.
On Monday, in a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by Republican leaders in the NCGA to stop a North Carolina congressional district map drawn by a trial court from taking effect. The trial court had not accepted a congressional map redrawn by Republicans in the NCGA in response to the NC Supreme Court’s striking down their original maps, instead choosing to use a map drawn by “special masters” – independent experts appointed by the court. Republicans had argued that it was against the U.S. Constitution for state courts to intervene in the redistricting process in this way, an argument that filings by the groups who had originally sued over Republican-drawn maps stated was extreme and counter to precedent.