Gov. Pat McCrory told lawmakers his office will not carry out any action on House Bill 392, even after the General Assembly canceled his veto of the bill.
RALEIGH, NC (WECT/AP) – Governor Pat McCrory said Wednesday he will not carry out one of the two bills passed this week by the General Assembly.
The Senate voted to override McCrory's vetoes of HB 392 & HB 786 by comfortable margins Wednesday morning, a day after the House did the same thing. The Senate took less than 10 minutes on both bills.
Governor McCrory released a statement Wednesday afternoon after the Senate votes. McCrory restated his criticism of the bills, and stood defiantly against HB 392, saying his office will not act until the General Assembly provides the necessary funding. The legislation requires drug-testing for welfare recipients and creates a wider exemption for employers to calculate whether they must access a federal database to determine the legal status of new hires.
"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," McCrory said in an email release from his office.
That brought this terse response from Senate President Pro-Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). "All governors, without regard to party, swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. We expect Gov. McCrory to perform his constitutional duty to enforce the law," Sen. Berger said in an email release.
"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," McCrory said in the release regarding the override of his other veto. "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."
The three senators from our area, Thom Goolsby, Bill Rabon, and Michael Walters, voted to override the veto of the drug-testing bill, as did all local House members except Rick Catlin, who originally supported the bill but voted Tuesday against an override.
As for the immigration bill, Sen. Bill Rabon and Sen. Michael Walters voted for an override. Sen. Thom Goolsby, who voted for the bill voted against overturning the governor's veto.
Local members of the House split along party lines, with Democrats Ken Waddell and William Brisson voting for an override. Republicans Rick Catlin, Ted Davis, Frank Iller and Chris Millis sided with the governor, voting against the override.
Rep. Susi Hamilton received an excused absence. She didn't cast votes Tuesday despite explaining how she planned to vote with a WECT reporter just after 3 p.m. Hamilton had a "constituent obligation" in Wilmington at 7 p.m., according to her spokeswoman Tori Jones.
James White, a staff member in the House Clerk's office, told WECT that Hamilton's assistant requested the excused absence Tuesday morning because the lawmaker had a stomach bug.
Hamilton did not return a call for clarification.
The overrides are a blow to McCrory, who actively lobbied legislators to uphold his vetoes. He says the drug-testing bill would not be cost effective. He said the veto on the E-Verify program would allow immigrants in the country illegally to take jobs.
Copyright 2013WECT. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.
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