Environment, Governor Roy Cooper, Legislature

Governor Cooper vetoes billboard measure

House Bill 645 is about as popular with the governor as the Edsel was to America.

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed House Bill 645 today, temporarily halting a measure that further limited local governments’ authority on where to locate billboards, including digital ones.

His veto message reads:

“Protecting the beauty and environment of North Carolina should be a top priority, but this legislation authorizes cutting down trees and other clearing work along roadways without the consent of nearby communities. Local governments should have more of a say in where their communities allow billboards.”

The legislation has long been controversial and had failed to advance during other sessions.

Among the bill’s opponents are environmental, conservation and wildlife groups, who are concerned that outdoor advertising companies would cut down trees to ensure their “right to be viewed.” A greater number of the giant roadside ads would also further clutter the natural landscape.

Many local governments, such as Durham, oppose the measure because it encroaches on their zoning authority.

Proponents argue that relaxed regulations are needed to support the outdoor advertising industry, which like many traditional media, is struggling. About 8,200 billboards in North Carolina are currently permitted or in the process of being permitted. Nonetheless, the industry has lost about 1,000 statewide in the past decade.

Based on the last vote count, the House lacks enough support to override the veto. On Aug. 7, the House voted 60-54 in favor of the measure; three lawmakers had excused absences and three did not vote. 

To reach the three-fifths majority for an override, the House would need 72 votes, presuming all 120 members were present. Even with the six excused absences and abstentions, the House would have only 66.

In the Senate, the bill passed 27-17, with six excused absences. If all members were present, the Senate would need 30 votes to override. But without the House, the veto would stand.

Check Also

Social distancing policies might need extended past April to ensure hospital bed supply

If North Carolina’s social distancing policies end this ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Advocates, family members plead with Gov. Cooper to to take action "before it's too late [...]

Front-line medical workers in North Carolina need more personal protective equipment, work flexibili [...]

Dizni DeBerry, a Hillside High School senior in Durham, vividly remembers the week before schools cl [...]

A disciplined collegiate rower, Lindsay York is used to a structured, yet social life. Last fall, th [...]

The post Response time appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

It’s the sacred right of all Americans to complain about their government – even if they do so in de [...]

The post Safety net. appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

As we all confront the ripple effects of the an unprecedented pandemic throughout North Carolina, we [...]