By John Peters
August 20, 2013
It was good to see Gov. Pat McCrory exercise his veto power last week, even if it appears those vetoes might be overridden in the General Assembly.
The first of those two bills is one that allows social workers to force welfare recipients to be drug tested if the worker believes the person has been using illegal drugs.
This is awful legislation, essentially putting every welfare recipient in the position of being a criminal forced to prove his or her innocence, which is contrary to the very American philosophy of innocent until proven guilty. It also puts too much power in the hands of overworked social services employees, and lends itself to abuse.
Not to mention the fact that even law enforcement officers have to have probable cause before taking action against someone for suspected illegal drug use. What is the standard for a social services worker believing a welfare recipient is, or has used, such drugs? Glassy eyes? Red face? Being late to a couple of appointments?
This bill was simple political pandering to the right and is likely to cause disruption of needed services to many across the state, while ultimately being overturned should someone decide to challenge the law’s legality in court.
The second bill McCrory vetoed is one which would expand the use of employer citizenship or legal status verification intended to prevent the employment of illegal immigrants. That bill sounds great until you realize it contains language which grants exemptions for this requirement to employers using seasonal workers who will be employed for nine months or less.
Either we want to stop the employment of illegal immigrants or we don’t. This bill gives lip service to the idea of doing so while actually allowing the practice to continue merrily along. This gives politicians who voted for the bill the opportunity to tell their constituents they did vote for popular immigration reform while allowing businesses likely to make large campaign donations to keep illegal immigrants on the payroll.
McCrory saw right through this, specifically stating the nine-month exemption was too long as he vetoed the bill.
Now these two pieces of legislation go back to the General Assembly, where they enjoyed such widespread support it’s likely his vetoes will be overridden and the legislation become law.
We hope enough people across the state will demand their legislator vote against overriding these vetoes.
Either way, at least the governor came down on the right side of these bills.