House, Senate override McCrory's veto of 'Ag Gag Bill'

House, Senate override McCrory's veto of 'Ag Gag Bill'

RALEIGH, NC (AP/WECT) - The General Assembly has cancelled Gov. Pat McCrory's veto of a bill that gives North Carolina employers legal recourse against people who deliberately get jobs to steal company secrets or record purported problems on factory lines.

The Senate and House separately voted Wednesday to override the veto. It means the bill will be enacted into law despite his objections. The margin in each chamber was above the three-fifths majority required for an override.

The governor said last week he vetoed the bill because it fell short of protecting honest workers who uncover criminal activity.

"Today the Senate took action to provide North Carolina business owners much-needed tools to safeguard the security of their intellectual property, private records and confidential consumer information – while still protecting whistleblowers and employees who report illegal activity to the authorities," Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee co-chairman Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) said in an email statement sent out by Senate leader Phil Berger's office. "The claims made about this bill have been at best misguided and at worst misleading, but the fact is both employers and employees across our state will benefit from these important protections becoming law."

"Every day, business owners across North Carolina are faced with the daunting task of protecting what they've worked hard to build," said House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) in an email statement following the House vote. "The Property Protection Act was a result of thoughtful debate and bipartisan bill drafting. Unfortunately, this bill has been distorted by special interest groups and other public officials. This law does not infringe on whistleblower protections. Individuals who report illegal behavior to the proper authorities are good citizens and are strongly protected by current North Carolina law."

Chief bill sponsor Rep. John Szoka of Fayetteville told colleagues there's no language in the bill that would eliminate allowing legitimate employers to report illegal workplace practices.

The House did not take up an override vote on Senate Bill 2, the Magistrate's Recusal Bill, which allows some court officials to avoid performing gay marriage duties based on religious objections. The Senate has already voted to override McCrory's veto. It could be placed on the House calendar for Thursday.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. WECT contributed material to this report.