Veto watch: Eleven bills to go

The stack of bills on Gov. Perdue's desk has been whittled down to a final eleven. Which ones might she veto?

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Perdue on vetoes
Laura Leslie

As of this afternoon, the stack of bills on Gov. Perdue's desk has been whittled down to a final eleven: 

H22 2011 Budget Technical Corrections.
H119 Amend Environmental Laws 2011.
H289 Authorize Various Special Plates.
H344 Tax Credits for Children with Disabilities.
H619 Forced Combinations.
H845 Annexation Reform Act of 2011.
S496 Medicaid and Health Choice Provider Req.
S532 (= H813) ESC/Jobs Reform.
S620 Clarify Use of Position.
S709 Energy Jobs Act.

S781 Regulatory Reform Act of 2011.

I don't have an inside track on any of these, so there's a good chance I'll be wrong, but I'd say at least three look like potential veto candidates:

H119 Amend Environmental Laws would loosen state environmental regulations.  Environmentalists don't like it because it would relax requirements for safety inspections of dams, roll back a 2007 requirement for hazardous waste facilities to prove they can pay for a cleanup if needed, and allow the state to use taxpayer money to clean up leaking underground storage tank leaks if the cost would cause the tank owner "severe financial hardship."

S781 Regulatory Reform would add a lot of new hoops to the state's environmental rule-making process, and would explicitly bar state agencies from drawing up state regulations that are any stricter than federal regulations.  Environmentalists say federal regulations are intended to be broadly written baselines, not ceilings, for more specific regulations tailored to fit each of the 50 states.

H619 Forced Combinations would set out specific guidelines for how state Revenue officials can tax out-of-state corporations. One last-minute amendment to the bill would, according to the Dept. of Revenue, re-open an old loophole in NC's tax laws used by corporations to legally transfer income out of the state to avoid paying taxes on it.  It could cost North Carolina at least $32 million a year. 

S709 could also be a veto contender, but I'm not sure. In its final version, the measure doesn't seem to do much except to order the state to study offshore drilling and fracking, and change the direction and makeup of the state council that oversees energy. While the philosophical change is meaningful, it's not likely to lead to rigs off Kill Devil Hills, at least not for some years yet.    

Then again, you could argue anything on Perdue's desk at this point is on the bubble. If it wasn't lumped in with the 84 bills handled Monday, then there's something about it that caught the attention of the governor or her lawyers.

I suspect she'll allow several of these to become law without her signature. Likely candidates include H845 Annexation Reform, which the cities don't like; H289 Special Plates, which includes an anti-abortion license plate; and H344 Tax Credits for Children with Disabilities, which some say is a slippery slope to school vouchers.  

Perdue has till 11:59pm Thursday to decide. We'll keep you posted.   



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