North Carolina Session 2021: Good Bills Face Veto Dangers
FAIR Take | February 2021
After the November elections, North Carolina once again convened its new legislative session with a Democrat governor and Republican legislature. Having gained four seats in the state House of Representatives and lost one in the state Senate, Republicans are just shy of veto-proof supermajorities. This mostly leaves the last word on important policy issues in the hands of Governor Roy Cooper (D), unless Democrat legislators cross the aisle to support a veto override.
Governor Cooper made national news when he vetoed HB 370 in 2019, which would have largely required state and local law enforcement to honor immigration detainers for illegal aliens in their custody. In response, then-Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf stated, “local officials in North Carolina have chosen to place the welfare of criminal aliens over the welfare of the American people.”
Both chambers have seen several immigration bills introduced this session to uphold law and order and put North Carolinians first.
Below are the most prominent bills that the FAIR State and Local team are monitoring in North Carolina, at least some of which can probably be expected to advance but face the prospect of a veto should they reach the governor’s desk:
SB 101 (Immigration Detainers) sponsored by Senator Danny Britt (R-Lumberton)
- Requires any detention facility to determine if a prisoner, with a felony or impaired driving offense, is a legal resident of the United States.
- If the prisoner is unable to be identified as a legal resident, the facility administrator must file a query to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
- Following the query, if the facility receives an immigration detainer from ICE, then the facility is required to hold the prisoner for 48 hours.
- Any facility administrator who willfully fails to file a query to ICE or adhere to the 48-hour detainer hold period, will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- In a press conference to announce the bill, Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) stated, “by and large, the folks in my district and in North Carolina insist that we’re a land of laws and a sheriff can’t go out and decide which laws they’re going to enforce and which laws that they’re not.”
- The bill is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 29 (SAVE verification for benefits) sponsored by Representative Mike Clampitt (R-Bryson City)
- Requires that state agencies, including occupational licensing boards and public colleges and universities, use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program to verify legal immigration status before issuing an occupational license or other public benefits.
- If any North Carolina resident believes an agency isn’t complying, they can sue.
- If the court in such a private enforcement finds a violation, it must impose a civil penalty of up to $10,000 each day until the agency complies.
- The bill is currently in the House Committee on Judiciary.
HB 43 (E-Verify) sponsored by Rep. Mike Clampitt
- Requires any employer that employs five or more employees to use the federal E-Verify system to verify their employees’ work authorization.
- North Carolina law currently only requires this for employers with 25 or more employees.
- Exempts farm workers, independent contractors, or an individual who provides domestic service in a private home that is sporadic, irregular, or intermittent.
- The bill currently in the House Committee on Commerce.
HB 62 (Anti-Sanctuary) sponsored by Rep. Mike Clampitt
- Creates a private civil enforcement action to block violations of North Carolina’s preexisting anti-sanctuary law.
- Allows any person to sue, without having to show they were specifically damaged.
- Authorizes the General Court of Justice to enter injunctions.
- Provides for attorneys fees and sanctions for frivolous claims when appropriate.
- The bill is currently in the House Committee on Judiciary
North Carolinians should contact their elected officials today to support the above bills.