RALEIGH – Gov. Pat McCrory said Friday he planned to sign into law two contentious bills that cleared the General Assembly during the waning hours of the 2013 session — a voter ID/election reform measure, and legislation expanding regulations at abortion clinics.
McCrory, a Republican, mentioned other bills on his desk passed by the GOP-controlled General Assembly gave him heartburn, perhaps enough to attract vetoes.
• He cited gaps in the immigration bill (House Bill 786) requiring the expansion of the federal E-verify system for employment. “I believe the legislation is written so broadly that it can be abused,” McCrory said.
• He said a measure requiring drug screening for people who get benefits under the state’s Work First program (House Bill 392) also has drawn a second look.
“Although the concept in general is sound, the way the bill is written does not provide any type of procedure or method of implementation,” McCrory said.
• He said he had a couple of qualms with a broad deregulation proposal (House Bill 74) that cleared the General Assembly. One dealt with a provision that allows the Department of Transportation to cut trees in shrubs blocking the view of billboards along acceleration and deceleration ramps.
“As mayor, in my previous job, I felt very strongly that local governments should have local control over the billboard industry.” McCrory said. “These new regulations give the state more control to do clear-cutting in and around billboards.”
McCrory said he may choose to resolve this issue by issuing an executive order for the Department of Transportation.
“I anticipate issuing an executive order for my DOT department within the next week to ensure when DOT does any clear cutting, that they have to get approval from the local government,” McCrory said.
McCrory said he also has problems with a provision in the regulatory reform bill that would ease some restrictions on landfills.
The governor also used his Friday press conference to tout the results of the just-concluded legislative session, the first one in more than a century to be controlled by Republicans with sitting GOP governor.
“We’ve had more reform in this state government in the past six months than this state has seen in the past 30 years,” McCrory said.
McCrory said that the General Assembly accomplished 20 of 22 objectives he set out in his State of the State speech earlier this year.
The ones that were not met dealt with pay raises for state employees and energy production.
McCrory rattled off some of the successes. They include passing a vocational education bill, changing state personnel laws, altering the highway-funding formula to put more money in higher traffic areas, tax reform, and creating an economic development program that he calls the “Partnership for Prosperity.”
McCrory also mentioned bills he signed into law that would provide more money for repair and renovation of state buildings, replenish the state’s rainy day fund, and provide more alternatives for people addicted to drugs.
Barry Smith (@Barry_Smith) is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.