Gov. Cooper signs two bills and vetoes three others

Governor Roy Cooper
Governor Roy Cooper(@NC_Governor/Twitter)
Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 5:48 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Gov. Roy Cooper signed two bills and vetoed three others on Monday, June 19.

Cooper signed SB 58 “Protect Critical Infrastructure” and SB 729 “CBCC Working Group Changes”.

SB 58 increases the penalties for people convicted of property crimes against utilities, whether they’re power cables or gas lines.

“We must protect critical infrastructure that keeps electric power and clean water available in our communities, and this bill sends a message to criminals that these irresponsible acts will not be tolerated,” Cooper said in a statement.

The other bill, SB 729, aims to resolve disputes revolving around pension spiking, which refers to a person being given a raise before retirement, in effect increasing their pension without the employee having been paid that salary for even a few months if at all.

Cooper vetoed SB 331 “Consumer Finance Act Amendments”, SB 329 “Retail Installment Sales Act Amendments”, and SB 299 “Reimburse Late Audit Costs with Sales Tax Rev.”

SB 331 would require people or groups to be licensed if they do business lending $15,000 or less to consumers at interest rates higher than those allowed by N.C. It would increase the amount a person can lend under the Consumer Finance Act to $25,000 and requires the people servicing those loans to be licensed. It would also increase the annual assessment fee minimum from $500 to $1,000 and increase the maximum interest rates allowed for some loans.

SB 329 would allow for higher interest rates as well, and Cooper responded to both with the statement:

“At a time when the cost of living is rising, North Carolina consumers cannot afford to be hit with higher fees and interest rates on loans.”

SB 299 would let the Local Government Commission withhold funding from a county or municipality if it fails to submit an annual audit report on time.

“It is important that local governments follow the law on auditing their finances in order to foster accountability and fiscal responsibility. While well intentioned, this legislation as written is likely to punish residents of some of our state’s smallest communities. Rather than having state government seize sales taxes that are needed for local government, the North Carolina General Assembly should reconsider this legislation and provide more help for these communities to make sure they do it right rather than impose financial punishment that could make matters worse,” Cooper said in a statement.