Columbus County sheriff quoted in release supporting Governor's - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Columbus County sheriff quoted in release supporting Governor's veto

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Sheriff Chris Batten (right) is quoted in a release saying he supports Gov. McCrory's veto of HB 786. Sheriff Chris Batten (right) is quoted in a release saying he supports Gov. McCrory's veto of HB 786.

RALEIGH, NC (AP) - Farmers and sheriffs are trying to influence North Carolina legislators before they consider a veto next week on a bill involving a federal database to ensure that new employees can legally work in the country.

Gov. Pat McCrory released comments Friday from several sheriffs who want his veto on HB 786 upheld, including Sheriff Chris Batten of Columbus County.

"We as law enforcement executives owe it to our citizens that have elected us to serve and protect them, to stand up for what is right, not just politically correct, and protect the citizens in our counties," Batten is quoted as saying in the email release from McCrory's office. "Let's take a stand and do what is right and support our governor. He has vetoed a bill that he felt would jeopardize the public safety which we are sworn to protect and it is my opinion we owe it to the citizens of our counties to support his decision."

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest also released a statement Friday, backing McCrory's veto of the Reclaim NC Act.

"The General Assembly wrote this law and they have the power and the numbers to override the veto. But I respectfully ask that they not do so," Forest said in the statement. "The Governor sees the same thing I see in the bill, a loop hole that will be exploited by some unscrupulous employers to reclassify non-agricultural workers as "seasonal" for the purposes of evading the E-Verify law.  If we allow this loophole to stand, we are consenting to employers hiring illegal aliens in place of the North Carolina citizens we were sent here to represent.  The General Assembly could accept the veto and correct the loophole in the next session. At the end of the day, the voting citizens of North Carolina will be the judge of us all.  If this loophole stands, it happened on our watch and we are responsible. As Republicans we stand for the Rule of Law. It is who we are and what we believe. If we allow the Rule of Law to be circumvented in such an open fashion, we will be held accountable by the general public… and we should.  As President of the Senate, I do not have a vote, unless there is a tie. If I could vote, I would vote to uphold the Governor's veto."

The North Carolina Farm Bureau and other agriculture groups want the veto overridden. They wrote letters to legislative leaders saying without the bill some crops may not be harvested and farms may close.

Click here to read the entire text of HB 786.  

Lawmakers will meet Tuesday to discuss McCrory's vetoes of HB 786 and HB 392, which mandated drug testing for recipients of Work First benefits.

Click here to read the entire text of HB 392.

Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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