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Governor Cooper signs state budget, rejects four other bills

Governor Roy Cooper signed the state budget Monday, a $27.9 billion spending plan that includes a 4.2% average pay raise for educators and 3.5% increase for most state employees.

While the budget did not include a key priority for his administration – Medicaid expansion – the governor said legislative leaders are moving forward with that goal.

“Today, I signed the state budget (HB 103) that includes critical investments in education, economic development, transportation and the state workforce. This budget does not include Medicaid Expansion, but the leadership in both the House and Senate now support it and both chambers have passed it. Negotiations are occurring now and we are closer than ever to agreement on Medicaid Expansion, therefore a veto of this budget would be counterproductive.”

Twenty House Democrats voted for the 2022 Appropriations Act, making it less likely that Cooper’s veto would be sustained.

Read about other budgetary earmarks here.

Also included in the massive spending bill were changes in state law that had been requested by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, ensuring future flexibility that is currently made possible by the Governor’s Covid-19 State of Emergency.

Republicans repeatedly asked when North Carolina’s State of Emergency  would end.  The governor and DHHS repeatedly answered when they were given that flexibility.  The State of Emergency will officially be lifted August 15th.

Four bill that earned Cooper’s veto on Monday included:

  • House Bill 49: Concealed Carry Permit Lapse/Revise Law
  • Senate Bill 101: Require Cooperation with ICE 2.0
  • Senate Bill 593: Schools for the Deaf and Blind
  • House Bill 823: Child Advocacy Centers/Share Information

While some gun rights advocates viewed HB 49 as a convenience for an expired license, the governor rejected that argument:

“Requiring sheriffs to waive firearm safety and training courses for those who let their concealed weapons permit lapse is yet another way Republicans are working to chip away at commonsense gun safety measures that exist in North Carolina,” said Cooper in a statement.

The governor reserved some of his strongest criticism for explaining his decision to veto SB 593, a measure that would have shifted control over North Carolina’s three schools for students who are deaf and/or visually impaired:

“Not only is this bill blatantly unconstitutional, it continues this legislature’s push to give more control of education to Boards of Trustees made up of partisan political appointees.

First the legislature seized control of all UNC system trustee appointments from the Executive Branch. They did the same with two of the state’s community college boards. And now, this bill removes administration of the important NC Schools for the Deaf and Blind from the State Board of Education to a newly created board with 80% of the trustees, who may or may not know how to run these schools, appointed by the legislature. The students at the schools deserve steady, knowledgeable leadership rather than becoming a part of the erosion of statewide education oversight.”

To learn more about Gov. Cooper’s decision to veto Senate Bill 101 (Require Cooperation with ICE 2.0) check out this piece from Policy Watch reporter Kelan Lyons.

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Governor Cooper signs state budget, rejects four other bills