Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law two bills we've been following -- one meant to help the N.C. Department of Transportation improve on finances and the other focused on disaster recovery. SB 356 DOT Cash and Accountability is separate from the "mini" budget bill signed in October. As reported by the Associated Press, the bill Governor Cooper signed Monday marks money for natural disasters, forgives a debt and programs funds in road construction bonds. HB 200 2019 Storm Recovery/Var. Budget Corrections was the second and final bill signed this week, meant to help in the recovery from Dorian and other storms, though it followed a little uncertainty. It included language that was unpopular with the governor's office, requiring all funds received by state government (including cash gifts and donations) to go into the state treasury, which Governor Cooper saw as a power-grab. By signing the bills, the governor has cleared his desk of pending legislation from 2019.
Washington, the Beaufort County city from which League President William Pitt hails, has been named Small Town of the Year by the N.C. Rural Center. "The award recognizes one town in North Carolina each year that has embraced the values of citizen engagement, diversity and strong partnerships to help the community move forward through economic development," the Washington Daily News newspaper explained on Thursday. Pitt, a Washington City Council Member serving as League president for 2019, called the recognition important for validating what the city set out to do and for continued shaping of the community's future. "It's an honor," Pitt said. In a press release from the Rural Center, Misty Herget, its senior director of programs, said Washington in recent years "has become a great tourist destination and a welcoming community for those who call it home. In the face of natural disasters, Washington has become more resilient and strategic in its planning for the future.”