Governor Roy Cooper (D) vetoes two bills from Oct. 2-8

Governor Roy Cooper (D) vetoed two bills from Oct. 2-8. The two bills are below:

NC H600, would have amended state laws related to state and local government, agriculture, energy, environment, natural resources, and other various regulations.

  • Cooper said, “This bill is a hodgepodge of bad provisions that will result in dirtier water, discriminatory permitting and threats to North Carolina’s environment. It also undoes a significant policy to promote fairness in state contracting for historically underutilized businesses as it blocks efforts to encourage diverse suppliers for state purchases, rules that would save taxpayer dollars and help businesses grow. The rules mirror the successful approach used for 18 years in state construction contracting and they were enacted with extensive feedback from state agencies and vendors and they were approved by the Rules Review Commission, which has all of its members appointed by the Republican controlled legislature.”  
  • Representative Jeff Zenger (R), one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “House Bill 600 is a good-faith effort to help reduce the regulatory burden on North Carolinians and their businesses. I am disappointed that Governor Cooper has sided with radical, environmentalist, job crushing bureaucrats over the people of North Carolina.”
  • The North Carolina House voted 72-38 to approve the bill on Sept. 21. The North Carolina Senate voted 25-16 to approve the bill on Sept. 22. The House and Senate voted 77-38 and 30-18, respectively, to override the veto on Oct. 10. Representative Dennis Riddell (R) introduced the legislation on April 13, 2023. 

NC S678, would have defined “clean energy” to include “renewable energy” and nuclear and fusion energy; eliminated language impeding CPCN issuance for nuclear facilities; modified closure deadlines for certain coal combustion residuals surface impoundments; modified application fees for certain dam maintenance issues; required approval for certain local government agreements; modified public records access; and established employee classification and compensation exemptions for the utilities commission and public staff.

  • Cooper said, “North Carolina is on a bipartisan path to removing carbon from our electric power sector in the most cost-effective way. This bill attempts to diverge from that path by trying to put construction of traditional power plants, and higher profits for the utility companies, over lower-cost solutions like energy efficiency. North Carolina should consider all pathways to decarbonize, rather than putting a thumb on the scale in favor of building new conventional generation.”  
  • Senator Paul Newton (R), one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “… higher electric rates disproportionally hurt low income families … Senate bill 678, that the governor rejected, will help us reach our energy goals … more cost effectively … and ensure North Carolinians can afford this basic human need of electricity as we move towards a cleaner energy future …”
  • The North Carolina House and Senate voted 66-36 and 29-18, respectively, to approve the bill on Sept. 21. The House and Senate voted 77-37 and 30-19, respectively, to override the veto on Oct. 10. Senators Buck Newton (R), Paul Newton (R), and David W. Craven (R) introduced the legislation on April 6, 2023. 

Overriding a gubernatorial veto requires a three-fifths vote from both chambers of the legislature. North Carolina is one of seven states to require a three-fifths majority.

During the week of Oct. 2-8, the nation’s governors vetoed 57 bills. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vetoed the most with 55. Governors in 48 states vetoed no legislation. Democratic governors issued all 57 vetoes.

Cooper has served as governor since Jan. 1, 2017. He successfully vetoed six bills in 2022. There are currently 599 active vetoes nationwide in 2023. This count does not include vetoes that have been overturned by state legislatures. Republican governors issued 271, while Democratic governors issued 328. North Carolina is a divided government, meaning neither party holds trifecta control.

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