2 bills vetoed by NC governor to become law anyway

by: Tina Terry Updated:

RALEIGH, N.C. - In just seven minutes Wednesday, North Carolina's Senate voted to override Gov. Pat McCrory's veto on a controversial bill. House Bill 392 requires drug testing for some welfare applicants suspected of drug use. Despite the veto, McCrory said he won't take action on the bill.

"I've instructed my Department of Health and Human Services not to begin implementation of this bill until the legislature reconvenes and gives sufficient funding," said McCrory.

In addition to funding, McCrory said there were other issues with the bill. He said it will do little to fight drug addiction,  and it could violate the Fourth Amendment. Charlotte attorney James Gronquist told Eyewitness News that the bill could tread on constitutional rights.

"They're saying,  'We're going to make you a suspect as a person, right off, who may be doing this, therefore we are going to engage in violating your privacy rights,'" said Gronquist.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said if the law leads to litigation, like a similar law in Florida has, it could cost North Carolina.

"Sometimes these cases can be in litigation for years and require significant attorney time," said Cooper.

Supporters said the law can't be compared to those in other states, because it doesn't apply to all welfare recipients, just those applying for North Carolina's Work First program.

"It's not a widespread bill that opens up to any and every program in the state. It's solely tied to the N.C. Work First program. It is a job training program," said Rep. Charles Jeter, a Republican.

One of the supporters of the law said $300,000 was already put aside to start implementing the law. Rep. Dean Arp said social service workers are still crunching numbers to determine how much it will cost to fully fund the program.