RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Gov. Beverly Perdue says North Carolina taxpayers should feel better about how local liquor stores are operated with a new law designed to keep a better eye on store operations and the people that run them.

Perdue signed into law Wednesday a bill designed to reform the state Alcoholic Beverage Control system and ABC package stores run by boards in towns and cities. The changes gained momentum after news reports on the high salaries of local board administrators in New Hanover County and a NewsChannel 36 I-Team investigation about a $13,000 meal paid for by a liquor company to Mecklenburg ABC leaders.

Local ABC board members are now barred from accepting gifts from contractors doing business with their panel or stores. Store administrator salaries also will be capped, with some exceptions. Liquor stores will have to meet performance standards or they could close.

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