Roy Cooper vetoes 2 more bills, but budget still on track to become law Tuesday

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed on Monday both an energy bill and the legislature’s annual regulatory reform measure, while allowing legislation directing more state government oversight of high school athletics to become law.

The measures were among those the General Assembly approved last month before it left Raleigh for a brief hiatus. A dozen had remained on the Democratic Governor’s desk as of early Monday.

The vetoed measures now return to the General Assembly, where Republicans hold narrow veto-proof majorities and could hold override votes this month. Before Monday, Cooper had vetoed 17 bills this year, and Republicans had overridden all but three, which are still expected to be acted upon.

The Governor can sign a bill he receives into law or veto it. Otherwise, a bill becomes law if he fails to act within 10 days. Cooper said Monday that he signed seven of the remaining bills and declined to sign three others.

The Governor had already announced Sept. 22 his decision not to sign on one of those three bills, the two-year state budget bill, which now will become law effective Tuesday.

Cooper had said there were many spending and policy provisions within the budget that he strongly disliked. But several months ago, lawmakers set an enacted budget as the trigger necessary for Cooper’s administration to implement the expansion of Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults. So by letting the budget become law, Medicaid expansion, which has been one of Cooper’s top priorities, will launch Dec. 1.

The energy bill that Cooper vetoed would encourage more nuclear energy in North Carolina by including that the power produced from nuclear plants and fusion energy be counted toward percentages of electricity that utilities like Duke Energy must generate from renewable sources.

The bill would relabel “renewable energy resources” needed to meet the portfolio standards as “clean energy resources.” Duke Energy already is proposing to state electricity regulators that some coal-fired plants going offline in the future be replaced with a smaller-scale nuclear plants.

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