McCrory issues first veto, rejecting welfare drug testing

Posted August 15, 2013

— Gov. Pat McCrory issued the first veto of his administration Thursday, rejecting legislation that would have required people applying for welfare benefits to pass a drug test.

House Bill 392 also would have required social service offices to verify applicants' criminal history and share that information with law enforcement. The governor signed an executive order to carry out that portion of the bill.

"I think the legislature did overreach on this bill," McCrory said. "It’s almost impossible for us to have a consistent method and a fair method to implement such a measure in 100 counties in North Carolina. I think it’s going to be legally tested, and frankly, it costs too much to do. You won’t get return on your money."

The governor pointed to the failure of similar drug-testing programs in Florida, Utah, Arizona and other states, saying "it makes no sense to repeat those mistakes in North Carolina.”

“This is not a smart way to combat drug abuse,” he said in a statement.

The executive order, dubbed “Strengthening Fugitive Apprehension and Protecting Public Benefits,” directs state agencies to develop a plan and recommend the best way to exchange information about fugitive felons.

Gov. Pat McCrory McCrory urges lawmakers not to override vetoes

House Speaker Thom Tillis said he was disappointed by the veto, although he backs McCrory's executive order. He didn't say whether he was in favor of voting to possibly override the veto.

"This bill would establish safeguards for our state’s public assistance system, ensuring compliance with federal laws and guaranteeing that recipients are law-abiding individuals," Tillis said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union applauded the move, saying drug testing would have violated the privacy of welfare applicants.

"All available evidence has shown that welfare applicants are no more likely to use drugs than the general public," Jennifer Rudinger, state director of the ACLU, said in a statement. "Forcing people in need to pay up front for an invasive test without reasonable suspicion of drug use would have been cruel, costly, and constitutionally suspect."


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • CherryDarling Aug 21, 2013

    This is not a smart way to combat drug abuse?

    This isn't about drug abuse... this is about those of us who are actually funding the welfare system not handing out free money to people that can afford to buy drugs.

  • tnowen Aug 21, 2013

    Good job McCrory! Welfare reform should determine how much the government is willing to help you until you get a job, not are you living right.

  • cyberwil09 Aug 21, 2013

    I had two background checks done and a drug test to get the job I now hold. I work very, very hard come home tired just to read this.

  • edriscoll23 Aug 16, 2013

    "I have never worked a full time job that DIDN'T require me to get drug tested!"vwalker125

    That's great. For me going back to even when I as in highschool there is only one job I ever had to submit to a drug test.

  • nuts4u Aug 16, 2013

    Not only should folks on welfare be drug free they should also be alcohol and tobacoo free. If I am feeding them more than likely I am also paying for their medical too. SO they should be required to bo their best to make sure they are doing all the right things. And that is where the problem comes in. Nobody especially the democrats want anybody to be responsible for themselves

  • lincolnrandall Aug 16, 2013

    At least hes fair two both sides. Time will tell that he is the right choice for us north carolinians.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 16, 2013

    Didn't see where the drug testing would matter much, and most likely would of cost too much and a waste of tax dollars. But, the part forcing the SS depart. to work with local law enforcement to make sure crimminals and those who are currently locked up are not getting benefits. There still those who claim someone in the house hold, and that person is in jail. They should not be getting benefits for someone who in jail and being taken care of by tax dollars. They can catch and track this, just a matter of sharing information between agencies.

  • senex Aug 16, 2013

    How about drug testing our elected officials?

    Stick needles in the Judges & Cops too. Those who are responsible to the people and given great power of judgment that would otherwise be impaired by substances.

    We have more oversight of baseball players than our elected officials.

  • junkmail5 Aug 16, 2013

    junkmail5 Remember that this is wral and we live in a country where people are allowed to state their opinions regardless of the facts. So stop attacking people based on their personal opinions and experiences. State your own opinions.- jzdukefan

    I'd prefer to stick to facts over opinions.

    I mean, you're certainly welcome to THINK this testing a good money saving idea.... but the FACT is that it provably is not.

    Seems the fact is a lot more important than the opinion there.

    If you are so well educated on everything and know so much why dont you go run for office and fix everything.

    I'm unelectable.

    I support gun rights so democrats won't vote for me.

    But I think gay people are actual human beings, so republicans won't either.

  • 12345_here Aug 16, 2013

    "I wish I could say what my tax money could be used for instead of just voting for Gov or Pres.
    Country Girlz Have MORE fun"

    Then run for office and see if people agree with your views are.

    Problem we have now is that too many liars are running for office and breaking promises, or giving to many favors to their donors.