House Bill 854 (aka the “Rapist’s Relief Act”) is on the Senate calendar this morning for a vote to override Governor Perdue’s veto. Assuming the vote is held, it seems likely to be very close. A three-fifths vote of those present and voting is required to override.
When the bill passed earlier this year, the vote was 29-20 with one Senator (Richard Stevens of Wake County) absent.
At last report, Stevens and his fellow Republican, Harry Brown were not in Raleigh this week. Assuming everyone else votes the same way as last time, that puts the vote count at 28-20 in favor of override and the veto will be sustained.
The wild card could be Republican Stan Bingham (pictured above). Last time he spoke out and voted against the bill. If he does so again and either Brown or Stevens is absent, the bill will fail. If Bingham simply “takes a walk” and doesn’t vote, the bill will still fail if Brown and Stevens are both absent. If, however, one of the men returns and votes “yes,” Bingham will need to vote “no.”
(UPDATE: Apparently Brown has returned, so Bingham needs to stand up and do the right thing).