After N.C. House, Senate Override Vetoes, McCrory Issues Statement, Notes Passage of ‘Flawed Legislation’

Published Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

By Jesse Wood

Sept. 4, 2013. The N.C. House on Tuesday overrode Gov. Pat McCrory’s first vetoes on two bills – one that would require drug testing for some welfare applicants and another that would “broaden an exemption for employers to avoid using the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of new workers,” according to The Associated Press.

The debate in the N.C. House lasted less than 40 minutes and the end votes were 77-39 on the drug testing bill and 84-32 on the immigration related bills.

Gov. McCrory

Gov. McCrory

This morning, the measures moved to the N.C. Senate and faced a similar fate with three-fifths of the N.C. Senate also voting to veto both bills, according to the Charlotte Observer, which in a separate piece noted that Gov. McCrory fought the overriding vetoes to the very end.

Following Wednesday’s Senate vote, McCrory issued a release praising much of the legislation that passed this year but also noted the “flawed legislation” of the two aforementioned bills.

“House bill 786 triples the E-Verify seasonal worker exemption from 90 days to nearly nine months and has created a loophole that could cost legal North Carolinians jobs. This measure changes the law’s focus from exempting ‘temporary seasonal employees’ to help the state’s farming industry to exempting a category of employees for any industry, regardless of the season or the needs. Thus, I will direct the executive branch to explore all legal and executive authority to ensure the letter and spirit of our nation’s immigration law is followed in this state,” McCrory’s prepared statement went.

“Based upon the lawmakers’ vote on drug testing, the executive branch will not take any action on the new law’s implementation until sufficient funds with this unfunded mandate are provided, not only for the Department of Health and Human Services, but also the funding for consistent application across all 100 counties.”

Below is Gov. McCrory’s entire statement and afterwards features his top 10 reasons for vetoing both bills.


Gov. McCrory’s Sept. 4 Statement

Governor Pat McCrory issued the following statement as lawmakers adjourned the session:

It was an historic year with new policies that will positively impact North Carolina by rebuilding a struggling economy and fixing a broken, and often inefficient, state government. New policies include: tax and regulatory reforms, transportation, personnel, commerce, voter ID, and a first step toward Medicaid reform.  All these initiatives challenged the status quo and make a positive difference in the future.

One part of our culture that did not change was passing some flawed legislation during the last hours of session with little debate, understanding or transparency.   Too much education policy was slipped into the budget bill causing serious concerns especially from our teachers and educators.  Executive branch concerns over long-term operational costs were ignored by passing bills with good intentions but unintended consequences, and overriding vetoes on drug testing and immigration.

House bill 786 triples the E-Verify seasonal worker exemption from 90 days to nearly nine months and has created a loophole that could cost legal North Carolinians jobs. This measure changes the law’s focus from exempting “temporary seasonal employees” to help the state’s farming industry to exempting a category of employees for any industry, regardless of the season or the needs. Thus, I will direct the executive branch to explore all legal and executive authority to ensure the letter and spirit of our nation’s immigration law is followed in this state

Based upon the lawmakers’ vote on drug testing, the executive branch will not take any action on the new law’s implementation until sufficient funds with this unfunded mandate are provided, not only for the Department of Health and Human Services, but also the funding for consistent application across all 100 counties.  

I believe the future is bright for our state with the bipartisan teamwork that kick started much needed reforms.   Despite the critics and special interests who want to retain the failed policies of the past, we were strong in our resolve to follow through on the promises we made to voters.  

The resolve for systematic change must continue so we can compete to retain and grow much needed jobs for today and the future.   The solutions will be complex and at times controversial to many well established interest groups, but we have no choice other than to move forward even under constrained budgets and a tough political environment.  Major initiatives must be made with Medicaid, mental health, energy and education if we are to continue our progress. 

In fact, today I urged the State Board of Education to take immediate action. 

We have found the necessary funds through my budget office to ensure that over 3,000 teachers currently pursuing their master’s degrees will receive a salary increase when they graduate, an investment of over $10 million.  I also signed an executive order to create the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Council, which will give a voice to a diverse group of teachers from across the state.  We continue to follow through on testing relief for teachers by reducing the number of standardized tests, creating a local control option for our local education systems to innovate. This way our teachers can do what they do best…teach our students. And finally, I continue my resolve and support for raises tied to the creation of a new compensation system for our teachers.

 I look forward to working with the General Assembly in the short session to continue to improve our economy, education system and the efficiency of state government.  More than anything, I look forward to visiting neighborhoods, towns and cities, plus businesses across our state to gain insight and solutions from the best of the best in our great state.


Gov. McCrory’s Top Reasons to Sustain the Vetoes

House Bill (HB) 786 was vetoed by Governor Pat McCrory because it creates a loophole that could allow illegal immigrants to be hired into many North Carolina industries. The governor also vetoed HB 392, a measure that would selectively drug test Work First applicants who social workers suspect are using illegal substances. Similar welfare applicant testing programs in other states have proved to be costly for taxpayers and very ineffective at catching drug abusers.  When the Legislature convenes, the governor asks for support of the vetoes and recommends corrections and improvements be made in the bills during the next short session. 

Show your support of the vetoes and look up your state representative or senator: Click here.

Top 10 Reasons to Sustain the Veto of HB 786

HB 786 Would Have Expanded the Seasonal Worker E-Verify Exemption from 90 Days to Nearly 9 Months 

1. We need to grow the economy, but not at the expense of North Carolina’s jobs. We need to verify that people working in North Carolina are doing so legally.

2. Sustaining the veto of HB 786 would give the legislature time to fully debate and educate the citizens about the issue. Citizens would also have time to give their input to their elected state representatives.

3. We should work toward policies that treat all employers and workers equally.  

4. Sustaining the veto would still allow legislators and others to come up with a more equitable solution that would address the concerns of our farmers. 

5. North Carolina can’t fix federal immigration laws.  Supporters of HB 786 should concentrate their efforts on Washington for a lasting seasonal worker solution.

6. Sustaining the veto of HB 786 would still allow legislators and others to come up with legislation that is in keeping with the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.

7. Every job an unauthorized seasonal worker from another country fills takes that job away from a legal North Carolina resident.

8. HB 786 helps circumvent federal immigration laws and violates the spirit of enforcement.

9. The expanded exemption is unfair to employers who hire full-time employees and continue to use E-Verify. It could also put them at a competitive disadvantage compared to those who decide to use unverified seasonal workers.

10. The 90-day exemption for E-Verify is designed for seasonal work, such as crop work on farms. Tripling the seasonal worker exemption to nearly 9 months will open the door for non-farm employers to use “seasonal workers” whose citizenship and legal status would not be determined by the E-Verify system.

Top 10 Reasons to Sustain the Veto of HB 392

HB 392 Would Have Drug Tested Work First Applicants

1. Fleeing felons, probation or parole violators will not receive Work First or TANF benefits.

2.  The veto of HB  392 should be sustained because the best part of the bill, criminal background information sharing among state agencies, was implemented by the governor with an executive order.

3. Under this bill, a person arrested on a drug charge, but not convicted, would still have to prove they are not currently using illegal substances.

4. Drug testing unfairly stigmatizes those seeking assistance.   

5. There is no credible evidence that welfare applicants abuse drugs at a higher percentage than the general population. 

6. HB 392 addresses the serious problem of drug abuse with the hammer of zero-tolerance drug tests and weakens the treatment safety net.  

7. While looking good on paper, similar programs in other states such as Utah and Arizona,  have been costly to taxpayers and extremely ineffective at catching drug abusers. For example, Utah tested 466 applicants during the past year and only turned up 12 positive tests.

8. The bill doesn’t provide adequate funding for the drug testing program.

9. HB 392 is a government overreach of power. It sets a troubling precedent. What’s next, the drug testing of those applying for government insured loans? Should applicants of government funded universities be subject to drug tests? The list of potential government overreach is long. 

10. There is a strong possibility of an inconsistent application of the tests across the 100 counties. 

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