Perdue vetoes 2, signs 80, lets 2 go

Gov. Perdue used her veto stamp for the 10th and 11th times today. But 80 bills moved right on through. Here's the list.

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Laura Leslie

Gov. Perdue acted on 84 bills today, according to a list released late this afternoon by her office.  Two were vetoed, two were allowed to become law without her signature, and 80 were signed into law.

The big veto was H854, the bill that would have required a waiting period, an ultrasound, and special counseling before an abortion.  Gov. Perdue is pro-choice, so it wasn't a big surprise that she vetoed it.

The question now is whether the Democrats will uphold it. Three of the Party of Five - Reps Brisson, Spear and Hill - voted for the bill in the House. Republicans would need to pick up at least one more Democratic vote to override the veto. More on that below.

Today's other veto was H482, Water Supply Lines/Water Violation Waivers. This one seemed pretty innocuous. It would allow low-income counties fined for water discharge violations to apply the money to fixing the problem, rather than paying it to DENR.

As it turns out, though, that's unconstitutional. Gov. Perdue's veto message: 

“This bill is unconstitutional. The North Carolina Constitution, as interpreted by our Supreme Court, requires that money paid as civil penalties be given to the public school system and not be used for any other purposes. House Bill 482, however, would allow the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to return such money to counties to be used for non-education related purposes, which would be in clear violation of the Constitution.” 

"Pocket signings"  

Under state law, if the governor doesn't veto a measure within a set amount of time (10 days in this case), it becomes law even without her signature. NC governors tend to use this option when they don't approve of a bill, but don't dislike it enough to veto it - or when they anticipate their veto wouldn't stand if they used it.

Perdue allowed S110 to become law today this way. It's the bill that allows the construction of up to 4 jetties (also known as "terminal groins") along the NC coast. Supporters of the measure say the structures help prevent erosion of valuable real estate.  But most environmentalists argue that jetties don't stop erosion - they just relocate it somewhere else.  Currently, only NC and Oregon ban them outright. 

The other bill she allowed to become law today is H744, the Safe Students Act.  The measure started out as a proposal to verify the immigration status of incoming students in NC, in addition to requiring a birth certificate and immunization records. In its final version, the citizenship question has been removed. It now requires "competent and verifiable proof" of a student's age, but religious or other medical records would be acceptable if no borth certificate is available.


The 80 bills Perdue signed today don't appear to include any terribly controversial measures. Of interest: 

- S474, requiring photo ID for the purchase of codeine, opium, hydrocodone, methadone, and other Schedule II drugs; 

- H662, allowing counties to charge offenders the actual cost of electronic monitoring if that's a condition of their bond or pre-trial release; 

- S415, allowing schools to provide breakfast free for low-income students if their funding is sufficient; 

- S98, allowing law enforcement to release a written transcript or altered recording of a 911 call if needed to protect a witness's identity; 

- and H113, adding stiff new fines for drivers who move into a motorcyclist's lane or cause a motorcyclist to wreck.  


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