Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory said Friday the amount of reform accomplished in this year’s legislative session has helped him achieve all but two of the goals he set forward in his State of the State address earlier this year.
“We’ve had more reform in this state government in the past six months than this state has seen in the past 30 years,” McCrory said during a news conference to mark the end of the General Assembly’s 2013 session. “Now more than ever, we need reform because people are hurting for jobs in North Carolina, and we continue to have a broken government that we have to fix.”
His comments came during a news conference to mark the marathon end of the General Assembly’s 2013 session, which saw a number of controversial bills on complex issues ranging from abortion to voter rights.
The Senate adjourned at 2 a.m. Friday while the House wrapped up just before lunch.
“I know they’re looking forward to going home, and I’m looking forward to them going home also, with all due respect,” McCrory said with a laugh.
He praised the work of the lawmakers and said he’s now met 20 out of his 22 objectives. The exceptions were providing a pay raise for state employees and passing an energy bill.
McCrory said he will sign two bills that raised the most controversy this session. On measure prohibits certain health plans from offering abortion coverage and will impose new regulations on abortion providers. Another will require voters to show photo identification when they go to the polls and make dozens of other changes to election laws, including striking a prohibition on larger corporate donations to political parties.
McCrory said the first bill does not limit future access to abortions but makes them safer. He also said it’s “common sense” to show photo identification at the polls.
“You have to show an ID to get Sudafed, you have to show an ID to get into the White House and, in fact, into this Governor’s Mansion,” he said. “It’s a common sense law, which 72 percent of North Carolinians agree with.”
McCrory also highlighted the legislature’s tax reform bill and other measures that provide vocational training for students, tighten personnel regulations and change the state transportation funding formula.
Despite the successes, McCrory said he is considering a veto of two bills that will come across his desk in the next few days. One would require drug testing for applicants of the welfare program known as WorkFirst; the other is a package of changes dealing mostly with landfill regulations.
McCrory said he’s not opposed to the idea of drug screening, but he’s concerned about parity and possible legal issues with the bill.
“Although the concept in general is sound, the way the bill is written does not provide…implementation in a fair and equitable way across counties in North Carolina.”
McCrory also voiced concern about part of a bill on immigration that loosens a requirement that employers use the federal e-verify system to screen employees. Backers of the measure say it was aimed at making sure farmers could hire seasonal agriculture help, but McCrory said the bill could allow workers in the U.S. illegally to fill jobs that North Carolinians might fill.
“I firmly believe there are major gaps in this bill,” he said. “I believe the legislation is written so broadly it can be abused.”