Ad Spot

August 8, 2020

Cooper vetoes bills seeking to reopen businesses


Associated Press/Report for America

RALEIGH (AP) — Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a string of bills on Thursday passed in the Republican-controlled legislature to reopen businesses and help reignite parts of the economy most hurt by the coronavirus.

With GOP lawmakers unlikely to have the votes needed to override the Democratic governor’s decision, amusement parks, entertainment venues, bars, gyms, skating rinks and bowling alleys will almost assuredly remain closed for at least two more weeks.

In a series of veto messages, Cooper criticized state lawmakers for trying to reopen places he believes are most vulnerable to the virus. He argued the bills would reduce the likelihood of reopening schools, limit the ability for him and local officials to quickly react to COVID-19 developments and amount to “tying the hands of public health officials.”

“Given the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic, executive officials are best positioned to make emergency determinations about public health,” Cooper wrote.
Cooper extended the state’s Phase 2 reopening guidelines last month through July 17. He also decided on Wednesday to postpone a planned announcement on how K-12 schools should reopen to get kids back into classrooms.

Republican leaders worry Cooper is unnecessarily hurting small businesses that could soon go out of business if the state doesn’t reopen.

“Families and individuals are desperate for a balanced approach to recovery that protects the public’s health without permanently devastating small businesses across our state,” said a statement from Tim Moore, speaker of the state House of Representatives. “Actions always speak louder than words and it is clear Governor Cooper is unwilling to prioritize struggling North Carolinians over his own power.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is running against Cooper in the November gubernatorial election, sued the governor earlier this week for unilaterally closing businesses and mandating face masks.

Forest believes Cooper has signed some executive orders without the necessary approval from the Council of State. The 10-member council includes Cooper, Forest and eight other statewide elected officials. Six council members are Republican.
On Thursday, Cooper vetoed a bill that would have required him to gain majority support from the council for emergency declarations of more than 30 days and when businesses are ordered to shut down.

“The Emergency Management Act clearly provides the Governor with statutory authority to direct the state’s response to a public health emergency that could affect the entire state’s population,” Cooper wrote in a veto message. “A devastating pandemic, like COVID-19, threatens the state’s people and warrants providing the state’s chief executive have the authority to manage the state’s response by placing prohibitions and restrictions on activities that threaten public health and safety.”

State Sen. Warren Daniel, a Republican in Western North Carolina, criticized Cooper’s decision to reject a bill that would have prevented cancellations of July 4 fireworks and parades. He also noted Cooper declined to wear a face mask last month when walking through a crowd protesting racial injustice. Cooper’s walk among demonstrators came before he issued his statewide mask order.

“@NC_Governor who walks maskless with protesters just VETOED your right to celebrate our country’s Independence Day with town parades or fireworks displays,” Daniel tweeted.

Cooper’s decision to reject reopening bills comes as North Carolina reported more than 1,600 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 900 hospitalizations on Thursday, both figures near the state’s one-day highs. The state’s percentage of cases that come back positive remains flat between 8% and 10%, which the state would like to see drop to 5%.

Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, warned residents in a news conference on Thursday not to let their guard down over the weekend holiday.

“This isn’t where I hoped we’d be for July Fourth Weekend, and unfortunately, we don’t get a holiday from COVID-19,” Cohen said. “We can celebrate, but we have to do so responsibly.”

Follow Anderson at
Anderson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at and



Salisbury VA Community Living Center outbreak now considered over


New Salisbury fire station taking shape on Cedar Springs Road


Last-ditch virus aid talks collapse; no help for jobless now


Flood of election-related mail raises concerns from local voters


Top state lawmakers want a presidential debate in N.C.


US hiring slows amid signs of longer-lasting economic damage


North Carolina to relax 10-person limit for GOP convention


Most NC parents won’t have option to send kid back to school


Blotter: Rockwell man charged with kidnapping


Police undercover purchases produce charges for Salsburian


Salisbury man faces sex offense charges in Randolph County

East Spencer

Earlier deadline accompanies concerns about local completion rate for Census


New COVID-19 outbreak grows at Salisbury nursing home


Blotter: Guns stolen from vehicle

China Grove

Town of China Grove names new finance director


South Rowan grad to serve as new Landis HR officer, town clerk


50 local businesses to display COVID-19 posters designed by students


Salisbury pair caught breaking into vacant home


Gov. Cooper: Trump’s coronavirus strategy ‘nonexistent’


Sheriff’s deputies charge Salisbury woman after finding drugs, cash in stolen car


Rivas taking over as principal at Hanford-Dole


Back to School: Calendars


Back to School: Getting to know local schools


Back to School: A message from RSS Superintendent Lynn Moody