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Cooper vetoes casino night bill, signs traffic stop legislation

Posted July 12, 2017 4:11 p.m. EDT
Updated July 14, 2017 11:54 a.m. EDT

Casino Night

— Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday vetoed legislation meant to legalize charitable casino nights, saying he fears the bill would open another door for a video poker industry the state has worked to stamp out for years.

Cooper said in a statement that he's not against charities holding the occasional game night to raise money, but House Bill 511 "could cause unintended problems."

"Legitimizing charitable gambling in this way could give video poker a new way to infiltrate our communities," Cooper, a Democrat, said in a short veto statement emailed to media. "Allowing the industry to masquerade as a charity could cause unintended permits to be issued, and without tough criminal penalties, enforcement would be difficult."

Legislators from both sides of the aisle had their own issues with this bill, worrying that it could be abused. Sponsors said it was innocent in intent, formally legalizing events nonprofits already use to raise money in the state. The bill was repeatedly debated and amended during session, eventually passing the House 76-32 and the Senate 27-15.

Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in each chamber, but given bipartisan support for and against the bill, an overturn could prove difficult. It would take a vote of three-fifths of the members present in both chambers to override Cooper's veto.

State Rep. James Boles, the Southern Pines Republican who sponsored the measure, said he wasn't sure of the measure's prospects going forward. He criticized the governor, saying he believed the bill language to be fine.

"He was gung-ho to sign a bill that allows drinking before church is out," Boles said, referencing the so-called "brunch bill" allowing alcohol sales before noon on Sundays. "But non-profits can't raise money."

The governor signed a bill Wednesday that will add lessons on what to do when pulled over by law enforcement to the state's driver's education curriculum. This legislation, House Bill 21, passed both chambers unanimously.

The state will develop this curriculum in consultation with the State Highway Patrol, the North Carolina Sheriff's Association and the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, and information will also be included in driver's license handbooks. Among other things, the lessons will include appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers.

Other bill signings announced by the Governor's Office (with summaries provided by the office):

  • House Bill 27: An act to clarify when the registration of a vehicle renewed by means of a new registration plate expires.
  • House Bill 95: An act to authorize permitted oversized or overweight vehicles to travel after sunset when transporting and delivering cargo, containers or other equipment to or from international ports.
  • House Bill 159: An act to extend the amount of time a charter school has to elect to become a participating employer in the Teachers and State Employees’ Retirement System
  • House Bill 190: An act to reduce the number of years that a destitute firefighter serving honorably with a certified fire department must serve in order to receive financial assistance from a local firefighters' relief fund and to simplify various local board reporting requirements.
  • House Bill 212: An act to reauthorize the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue a special registration plate for the Zeta Phi Beta sorority.
  • House Bill 224: An act to require the court to attempt to identify outstanding warrants before entering an order in a criminal case only in cases in which the defendant is in custody, as recommended by the North Carolina Courts Commission.
  • House Bill 229: An act to make technical corrections to the general statutes, as recommended by the General Statutes Commission, and to make other technical, conforming and clarifying changes.
  • House Bill 248: An act to make changes to the adult care home and nursing home advisory committees to conform to the administration for community living rules and recent changes to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to study the HOPE Act and related federal regulations and to make recommendations to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services.
  • Senate Bill 8: An act to provide an exemption to building code provisions allowing construction of a parking garage to extend across a lot line between a city-owned lot and a privately owned lot without meeting certain requirements; to restrict the stormwater runoff requirements that a local government can apply to public airports; and to revise the composition of the Lincolnton-Lincoln Airport Authority, to name the airport and to name the airfield within the airport.
  • Senate Bill 69: An act providing that the Local Government Commission shall notify a finance officer or other employee who performs the duties of a finance officer when he or she is required to participate in training related to the powers, duties and responsibilities of the finance officer and requiring the employing local government or public authority to notify the commission when the finance officer or other employee has completed the required training.
  • Senate Bill 74: An act implementing the recommendations and guidelines of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians regarding the management of dogs, cats and ferrets exposed to rabies.
  • Senate Bill 119: An act to authorize the Division of Motor Vehicles to produce a Pisgah Conservancy special registration plate.