Under the Dome

Dome: Advocates urge McCrory to veto three bills

From Staff ReportsAugust 1, 2013 

Another day, another effort to get Gov. Pat McCrory to veto some bills.

This time it’s two bills that environmental advocates say will weaken air and water protections.

Fourteen groups, including the N.C. Coastal Federation, the Haw River Assembly, the N.C. Conservation Network, the NC Sierra Club and Waterkeepers North Carolina, sent McCrory a letter Wednesday asking him to veto House Bill 74, which makes sweeping changes to a variety of environmental regulations, and Senate Bill 515, which delays implementing rules designed to clean up Jordan Lake.

The governor expressed his own reservations about House Bill 74 at a news conference last week.

At that same news conference, McCrory said he was considering vetoing House Bill 392, which calls for drug testing some welfare applicants, and strengthening background checks on all applicants to the Work First and food stamps programs.

“Although the concept in general is sound, the way the bill is written does not provide any type of procedure or method of implementation,” he said. He added that the drug-testing provision was not written in a “fair” and “equitable” way, and could present legal issues.

The ACLU of North Carolina, the N.C. Justice Center and others have sent McCrory a letter underscoring the privacy and funding issues in the bill. It isn’t right to violate low-income people’s physical privacy because they are seeking assistance, the letter says. The bill would institute an “unreasonable search,” and “wastes state resources.”

The bill says county social services offices must have “reasonable suspicion” before they can drug test applicants to the Work First program, which gives families temporary cash assistance and job training. Rep. Sarah Stevens, a Mount Airy Republican, said that adding the reasonable suspicion clause makes the drug testing legal.

Country Club fundraiser

The N.C. Republican House Caucus Leadership fund will raise money at the Carolina Country Club next month.

The Aug. 27 shindig is billed as a reception honoring the GOP House caucus. Chipping in $10,000 will get you 12 tickets to the VIP and general receptions, with less expensive options available down to $150 single tickets.

No word on who the VIPs are, but it wouldn’t be surprising if U.S. Senate candidate and House Speaker Thom Tillis was among them. The leadership fund is part of the N.C. Republican Party.

Tillis has raised almost $278,000 in his bid to become the Republican nominee to challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. There is another $150,000 in his state campaign account.

State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger – who has not yet committed to the race – has raised $475,000 in his state account. Berger was expected to make a decision at the end of July but the (Greensboro) News & Record reported Thursday that Berger needed a bit more time “to mull things over.” The paper quoted Ray Martin, political director for the N.C. Republican Senate Caucus, saying Berger needed “another week or two, just to make sure he’s done his due diligence.”

Hagan had raised just slightly more than $2 million this most recent quarter, for a total of $3.7 million raised so far this year. She has $4.2 million cash on hand.

McCrory gets educated

The governor is spending Friday in Milwaukee where he’ll attend an education and workforce committee meeting at the National Governors Association meeting.

Staff writers Annalise Frank and Craig Jarvis

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