Gov. Cooper signs first bill as governor

Gov. Roy Cooper (Steve Sbraccia/CBS North Carolina)
Gov. Roy Cooper (Steve Sbraccia/CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has signed his first bill into law, a Republican measure reducing the membership of the University of North Carolina system board.

Cooper’ office said he signed the bill Friday, one day before a constitutional deadline. The legislation drops the UNC Board of Governors from 32 voting members to 24 by mid-2019. Membership would fall to 28 this summer. The House and Senate elect the board.

“We’re a large institution with 17 different campuses plus some auxiliaries. We’re spread out across the state, so we need broad diversity. Not only geographically and others that reflect our populations,” said Louis Bissette Jr., chairman of the UNC Board of Governors.

The decreases passed by wide margins in the GOP-controlled legislature despite complaints by Democrats it would make it harder to ensure minorities are adequately represented on the board.

Cooper and legislative leaders have tussled in court and in public statements since he was sworn in Jan. 1.

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