Governor Pat McCrory has called the General Assembly to reconvene Tuesday, September 3, to consider two vetoed bills.
House Bill (HB) 786 was vetoed by the governor 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.
"The veto should be used for two reasons," Governor McCrory said. "The first is to stop legislation about which I have strong reservations of being in the best interest of North Carolina. The second is to ensure the public is made aware of legislation that is not fully scrutinized. These bills meet both criteria."
HB 786 earned a veto because it could allow illegal immigrants to take jobs from legal North Carolina residents and workers. The bill triples the E-Verify seasonal worker exemption from 90 days to practically nine months. E-Verify is a federal database employers use to verify the citizenship or legal status of an employee or job applicant.
"We need to grow the economy, but not at the expense of North Carolina workers," Governor McCrory said. "We need to verify that people working in North Carolina are doing so legally. We also need to ensure industries that are following the law are not now put at a competitive disadvantage because of this new loophole."
The governor urged legislators to come together in next year's short session to produce a bill that helps North Carolina crop farmers without circumventing federal immigration laws.
The bill also weakens the E-Verify law the General Assembly passed in 2011. It (HB 36) mandated that every North Carolina employer with more than 25 employees -- including cities and counties -- use the E-Verify system. It limited the seasonal worker exemption to 90 days.
In vetoing HB 392, Governor McCrory said the concept of giving Work First applicants drug tests looks good on paper, but it is not an effective way to fight drug abuse. The governor said a better use of tax dollars is to make sure applicants with addiction issues get the treatment they need.
The bill lacks adequate funding which will lead to the inconsistent application of drug tests across the state's 100 counties.
However, Governor McCrory used an executive order to implement the criminal information sharing provisions of the legislation.
Governor McCrory believes the General Assembly's best option is to not convene, thus saving tax dollars and ensuring a sustain of the vetoes. If 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.