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North Carolina governor signs 12 bills still left on his desk, vetoes 1 more

Governor Cooper spoke in Kinston today at the mayor's Crime Intervention Task Force meeting. He said most gun deaths are not covered in the media and that proper firearm storage is one measure for gunowners to prevent gun deaths among minors.
Ryan Shaffer
PRE News & Ideas
Governor Cooper spoke in Kinston today at the mayor's Crime Intervention Task Force meeting. He said most gun deaths are not covered in the media and that proper firearm storage is one measure for gunowners to prevent gun deaths among minors.

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law on Monday nearly all of the bills that remained on his desk from the pile that the Republican-dominated General Assembly sent him before this year's work session ended. But he vetoed another measure and will let the legislature's annual “regulatory reform” measure become law without his signature.

Cooper signed 12 pieces of legislation. Those measures in part locate $68 million to replace expired federal child care center grants for the next six months, ensure anticipated teacher raises for this school year are carried out and resume the automatic removal of criminal charges that were dismissed or that resulted in “not guilty” verdicts.

The state constitution gave Cooper until late Monday night to act on the 14 remaining measures. The vetoed bill, which received unanimous legislative approval, partly addressed how certain court-filed documents are formatted. But Cooper said in his veto message that the bill also “creates legal ambiguity” about eviction orders that could harm low-income people and make it harder to appeal them in court.

The vetoed measures bring to five the number that he formally blocked from the batch of almost 30 bills that the legislators left him in late June. Since Republicans hold narrow veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate, the chances that these vetoes will be overridden are high.

Exactly when the legislature would attempt overrides is unclear, however. The General Assembly is scheduled to meet occasionally for short periods through year's end starting Wednesday, when no action likely will be taken except to formally receive Cooper's veto messages. Overrides become difficult when even a handful of GOP members can't come to Raleigh.

Cooper said the “Regulatory Reform Act” that he declined to sign into law contained some important changes that should become law — and will by his inaction. But he said it also contains a provision where the General Assembly seeks to interfere with the charter and bylaws of the North Carolina Railroad, a private corporation whose stock is owned by the state.

“This isn’t about improving transportation for the people of North Carolina, it’s just another unconstitutional power grab by Republicans,” Cooper said in a news release.

Cooper signed on Monday two budget-related bills that the legislature passed as stopgaps since the Senate and House couldn't agree on broad adjustments to the second year of the two-year budget enacted last fall. One of the bills includes language formally enacting an average 3% base salary increase for public school teachers starting this fall that lawmakers had previously agreed upon. The other contains child care grant funds.

Cooper said in a news release that legislators should pay teachers significantly more, find a way to extend the grants through 2025 and invest more in early childhood education.

Another bill that Cooper signed into law creates new sex exploitation and extortion crimes. And an omnibus alcohol regulation measure he signed would give local Alcoholic Beverage Control boards discretion to open their retail stores on New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day, but not if Jan. 1 or July 4 falls on a Sunday.

Other bills Cooper recently vetoed address the use of all-terrain and utility vehicles on conventional roads and prohibit local governments from passing housing rules that would prevent landlords from refusing to accept tenants who use federal funds to assist with rent. He also vetoed last week some state building code changes and legislation barring state government from accepting cryptocurrency payments developed by a central bank.

Associated Press
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