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June 24, 2014

McCrory vetoes unemployment bill

Gov. Pat McCrory has vetoed a wide-ranging unemployment bill because it would shorten the terms in office for members of an obscure board that rules on appeals of unemployment board decisions.

Gov. Pat McCrory has vetoed a wide-ranging unemployment bill because it would shorten the terms in office for members of an obscure board that rules on appeals of unemployment board decisions.

The bill, passed by lawmakers over McCrory’s objections, would have shortened the terms of existing members of the Board of Review appointed by McCrory in December. The terms of one of the board members, who are paid $120,000 a year, would expire Monday under the bill.

“Although the vast majority of this bill contains much needed revisions to unemployment laws, there are unacceptable provisions which stagger and shorten terms of current lawfully seated members,” McCrory said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“I look forward to working with House and Senate leaders,” McCrory added, “to help craft a new bill which addresses our concerns while also improving employment policies.”

McCrory also said that his three appointees to the board “by all accounts have performed well.”

The unemployment legislation is the third bill that McCrory has vetoed.

Lawmakers and the McCrory administration have been sparring over the Board of Review since last year, when Republican legislators criticized the governor for failing to meet a deadline for appointing board members. The Board of Review was created by a 2011 law but, for a variety of reasons, then-Gov. Bev Perdue never appointed any board members.

The board reviews decisions on unemployment benefits made by the Division of Employment Security. Its decisions, in turn, are subject to review by the courts.

The original bill considered by the legislature would have split appointments to the board among the governor and the leaders of the House and Senate. But the bill was amended to restore sole appointment authority to the governor.

Dale Folwell, the former Republican legislator who heads Employment Security, complained at a committee meeting last month that his agency was being “bullied” regarding the Board of Review. Rep. Julia Howard, a senior Republican legislator from Mocksville, complained afterward that Folwell had been “very disrespectful.”

Among other measures, the bill also would have required jobless workers to contact five potential employers each week — rather than the current two — to remain eligible for unemployment benefits.

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