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Cooper vetoes ‘technical corrections’ bill in addition to elections board overhaul

December 22, 2018

Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday followed through with his threat to veto legislation revamping the state board of elections, and for good measure, he vetoed a second bill as well.

Senate Bill 469, commonly referred to as the “technical corrections” bill for the session, is a 20-page grab-bag of changes. Some are truly technical fixes of earlier legislation, but lawmakers frequently stuff policy changes into such measures.

The bill, for example, would allow a one-time alcohol permit for Carter-Finley Stadium for a possible outdoor National Hockey League game featuring the Carolina Hurricanes. It also dictates that at least two republicans and two Democrats sit on county boards of elections.

Cooper said he had problems with two other provisions in the bill. One would prevent localities from enforcing updated stormwater regulations on redeveloped property unless the project results in more impervious surface at the site, while the second would allow employees of municipally-operated charter schools to participate in the state pension fund and the State Health Plan.

“Ending stormwater and water-quality protections threaten the safety of our communities. Additionally, municipal charter schools set a dangerous precedent that could lead to taxpayer funded re-segregation,” he wrote in his veto message.

On Tuesday, Cooper said he planned to veto House Bill 1029 because it would make investigations of potential campaign finance violations confidential.

He asked lawmakers to delete that provision so he could sign the rest of the bill into law. The legislation complies with court rulings by limiting legislative control over the state elections board, an issue that has led to a two-year court fight between the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders, as well as repeated changes to the board’s composition because of those lawsuits.

The General Assembly is expected to return next week to take override votes on the two measures.

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