Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory spoke with reporters Tuesday afternoon after meeting with members of the North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, a group he helped found when he was mayor of Charlotte.
VOTER ID: Asked what he would say to people, like House Democrats, who say that requiring photo identification at the polls infringes on people's rights to vote, McCrory said he disagreed.
"I think voter ID is what you need to get Sudafed in the stores right now. It's what you need to get on the plane. It's what you need to get many government services at this point in time," McCrory said, adding that he believed the bill lawmakers are developing will have safeguards for those without an ID.
"I think requiring an ID to vote is a common-sense practice that over 80 percent of the people of North Carolina agree with," McCrory said.
Asked whether he thought voter IDs needed to have a photo, he said, "I would prefer a photo ID."
McCrory added that he would leave details of the law to legislators but said, "I anticipate that's going to be voted on before this session ends, and we will have a new voter ID requirement, which I think will protect the integrity of the voter box for generations to come."
PINK LICENSES: McCrory said he participated in and approved the decision to issue specially designed licenses to immigrants allowed to stay in the U.S. under the federal deferred action program.
He called on Transportation Secretary Tony Tata to explain that the color is not pink, but fuchsia, and the design is similar to temporary ID cards issued to refugees from Hurricane Katrina who came to the state several years ago.
"I approved of this final decision and was very engaged in the process of this decision," McCrory said.
HELP: McCrory told reporters that he has asked the metro mayors group to help him push the legislature to renew funding for drug courts. This was an item he mentioned in his State of the State speech.
He said he also asked the state's big-city mayors to take into account the needs of areas as far as 60 miles outside their city limits when making plans for the future. That, he said, would promote more coordinated efforts to build roads and water lines and lure companies to North Carolina.
MENTAL HEALTH: Asked about his plans to improve the state mental health system, McCrory said it would be part of the larger reform of the state Department of Health and Human Services.
"Right now, my major issue is trying to fix and reform Medicaid, and then I'll have revenue to fix the mental health system that is broken," he said. "It's no doubt one of our greatest challenges in this state and my Health and Human Services secretary, Aldona Wos, is working on strategy right now to fix mental health. I'm waiting on a total report."
McCrory also hinted that Wos would have more to say about problems in the Medicaid system later this week.
BLUEPRINT: Asked about the infamous Blueprint NC / America Votes memo, McCrory said it had not changed how he worked with Democrats.
"I'm not going to let a few foolish and, I think, irresponsible political organizations impact the way I govern," he said.
FRACKING: Asked to comment on the bill clearing the way for on-shore natural gas drilling in North Carolina, McCrory said he hasn't had an update on the bill in two weeks.