North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday signed a bill providing emergency stopgap funding aimed at helping child care centers keep their doors open. Meanwhile, teachers will get the raises they were promised as part of last year’s state budget negotiations.

The child care measure, included in Senate Bill 357, would authorize $67.5 million in state spending on child care subsidies. That’s only a fraction of what North Carolina is losing from the federal government starting July 1, due to the expiration of Covid-era subsidies. But it should at least buy lawmakers several months to work on a more permanent solution after failing to reach agreement on how to spend a $1 billion budget surplus.

The teacher raises for this current fiscal year, which started July 1, were approved as part of last year’s budget. Republicans in the state House had proposed using surplus funds to boost those raises even higher, but that plan went nowhere in face of opposition from Republicans in the state Senate. Lawmakers still needed to take official action to implement the raises that were already approved last year. That bill, Senate Bill 332, passed unanimously through the legislature last month.
Cooper also vetoed Senate Bill 445, which tinkers with rules governing small claims appeals, saying: “This bill creates legal ambiguity regarding when eviction orders become effective and may harm low-income individuals by making it harder for them to appeal as indigent in small claims court.”

A spokeswoman for Senate leader Phil Berger didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cooper signed 10 other bills into law Monday:

  • Senate Bill 527: ABC Omnibus 2023-24, which will re-authorize the delivery sales of mixed drinks and wine, among assorted other changes to the state’s liquor laws. Restaurants and bars were allowed to sell drinks to-go during the pandemic; this brings that rule back and makes it permanent.
  • House Bill 591: Modernize Sex Crimes, creating new crimes targeting AI-generated pornography, or the threat of using private photos for “sexual extortion.”
  • Senate Bill 425: HHS Omnibus, a wide-ranging set of health care policy tweaks.
  • Senate Bill 303: Various Court Changes, a wide-ranging set of changes to legal rules governing child custody rules, involuntary committals and other more technical judicial rules.
  • Senate Bill 565: Revise Automatic Expunction, an extension of the pause on new rules that will eventually allow more expunctions of criminal records.
  • House Bill 98: Right to Try Individualized Treatments, allowing doctors to recommend experimental drugs treatments without the risk of losing their license. It also limits people’s ability to sue drug companies involved in such treatments.
  • House Bill 593: Various General Local Laws, assorted changes to local government rules in Macon, Duplin and Union counties.
  • Senate Bill 559: Charter Schools/Pension/ESOP, allowing charter schools to choose whether to participate in the State Health Plan.
  • House Bill 250: Public Safety/Other Changes, making an assortment of changes to the rules for death examinations, DUIs, license plate readers, eminent domain law, and banning a substance critics call “gas station heroin.”
  • Senate Bill 802: C-PACE Program, a new financing program that aims to make clean energy upgrades more accessible, including rooftop solar, energy efficient HVAC systems and LED lighting.
Cooper also let Senate Bill 607 — the Regulatory Reform Act — become law without his signature. He said the legislation contains important changes that should become law, but he declined to sign it due to a provision that would alter the charter and bylaws of the North Carolina Railroad, a private corporation. He says that’s a violation of the state constitution, which protects private businesses from legislative interference in internal governance.

“This isn’t about improving transportation for the people of North Carolina,” Cooper said in a statement. “It’s just another unconstitutional power grab by Republicans.”

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