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ACLU-NC statement on override of drug testing bill veto
Civil liberties group says H.B. 392 does nothing to address substance abuse and will deter many families in need from seeking assistance 

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Senate today voted to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of H.B. 392, a bill that requires some applicants to the state’s Work First program for needy families to pay up front for and submit to drug tests as a precondition of aid. The state House voted to override the veto yesterday, meaning H.B. 392 will now become law.

In announcing his veto, Gov. McCrory called H.B. 392 “a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion … that is not a smart way to combat drug abuse.”

Sarah Preston, Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), which strongly opposed the bill and urged the legislature to sustain the governor’s veto, released the following statement:

“It’s very disappointing that the legislature put so much effort into passing this cruel and constitutionally suspect bill. Read More

Pat McCrory 5A new talking point has emerged in recent days as right-wing pundits and commentators have struggled to describe and respond to the decision of a conservative Republican General Assembly to utterly disregard two vetoes issued by a conservative Republican governor. According to the spin, the dispute is a “family disagreement.”

In this narrative, legislators and the Governor are just pals quibbling over details and Gov. McCrory has “gotten almost everything he asked for” since taking office in January.

Hmmm. Read More

Governor Pat McCrory could see his first two vetoes overridden this afternoon with the legislature’s returns to Raleigh. In August, the governor vetoed House Bill 786, an Verify immigration bill, as well as House Bill 392, drug testing for welfare recipients.

Republicans, who support both bills, say they have the votes to override Gov. McCrory’s wishes. An override would require a vote of at least three-fifths of those present.

One bill that environmentalists had hoped would have earned the governor’s veto is not on the agenda. Governor McCrory signed the Regulatory Reform Act  late last month calling it ‘common sense legislation that promotes job creation.’

Grady McCallie of the NC Conservation Network appeared on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon over the weekend to explain why House Bill 74 was actually ‘the worst environmental bill of the legislative session.’

To learn why the 59-page, special interest bill earned that title, click below or visit the Radio Interview section of the Policy Watch website where you can download a podcast of the full interview with McCallie:
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Drug testingThe General Assembly returns to Raleigh on Tuesday to decide whether to override or sustain Governor McCrory’s veto of House Bill 392, the controversial and costly proposal to drug test public assistance recipients and applicants.

In announcing his veto of HB 392 on August 15th, the Governor said: “Similar efforts in other states have proved to be expensive and ineffective at catching drug abusers. It makes no sense to repeat those mistakes in North Carolina.” Advocates for poor people agree. As argued last night in an email alert distributed by my colleague Jeff Shaw at the NC Justice Center:

  • HB 392 shifts the focus from treatment to testing. Research shows that differences in the proportion of public assistance and non-public assistance recipients using illegal drugs are statistically insignificant. However, for those Read More

It wasn’t that long ago — about five years to be precise — that critics of then-Senator Barack Obama were complaining mightily about the presidential candidate’s numerous “present” votes while serving in the Illinois General Assembly. It turns out that Illinois and some other states (but not North Carolina) allow legislators the “present” option when voting on proposed bills.

The gist of the criticism, of course, was that a “present” vote is the wimp’s way out — a way to get credit for being there to collect your legislative paycheck without doing your duty and taking a position. 

This week, it will be interesting to see if any of Obama’s critics in North Carolina step up to direct the same criticism at Gov. Pat McCrory. As reported on Friday, the governor has decided to, in effect, vote “present” on one of the year’s dumbest bills — the proposal to keep Islamic Sharia Law from being given any effect in North Carolina. According to a statement, the Governor thinks the proposal is “unnecessary” but will simply punt and not sign or veto the measure. Under state law, the bill now becomes law.

But, of course, the question that arises is: If you think it’s unnecessary, why don’t you do your duty and take a stand? At least Obama’s “present” votes had the same practical effect as a “no” vote under Illinois law. McCrory’s wimp out lets a potentially unconstitutional absurdity become state law in North Carolina because, in effect, the Guv didn’t want to be bothered — a silly result that was also, unfotunately, allowed to happen on occasion by his predecessors. What a way to run a railroad!