Gov. Pat McCrory has let become law without his signature a bill transferring money from a disaster-relief fund to pay to defend the state against lawsuits over HB2.
The bill was part of the annual “technical corrections” legislation cleaning up budget-related matters. It ran 12 pages and included dozens of provisions.
“The governor would have preferred that the money come from the Attorney General’s budget since that’s who is refusing to do his job,” the governor’s spokesman Josh Ellis said when asked why McCrory didn’t sign the bill.
Attorney General Roy Cooper has said he would not defend the constitutionality of the bill. Republican leaders have criticized him for taking that position.
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One provision moved $500,000 from the state’s Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund for the current fiscal year into a fund controlled by the governor to be used for costs arising from litigation over HB2. Democrats criticized the provision earlier this year, saying the money will be needed for hurricane relief.
HB2 prevented local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections to transgender people. McCrory and legislative leaders said it was necessary to preserve privacy and provide safety to women and children using government restrooms.
McCrory had until a minute before midnight Saturday to sign the remaining bills on his desk, or they would become law without his signature. There were 10 such bills at the end of last week, according to the state legislature website.
"Even legislative Republicans recognize that the consequences of HB2 have been a disaster,” said Cooper’s campaign spokesman, Ford Porter. “Unfortunately, Gov. McCrory is more interested in finding new and creative ways to point fingers than in fixing the problem."