MEDIA RELEASE: Justice Center asks Gov. McCrory to veto bill hostile to jobless workers, immigrants

RALEIGH (October 2, 2015) — In a letter from Executive Director Rick Glazier delivered Oct. 1, the North Carolina Justice Center asked Gov. Pat McCrory to veto a bill that “sent a signal of hostility to immigrants and those struggling to find employment.”

The bill, HB 318, would be an “incredibly damaging policy change,” the letter says. Passed Sep. 29, this harmful legislation would undermine local government authority and restrict the powers of the state's Executive branch as well. Among the bill's most troubling provisions: restrictions on how local governments address their own needs when it comes to immigrant communities; and restrictive limits on jobless workers' ability to receive food aid during times of economic downturn or in parts of North Carolina that face persistent labor market distress.

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, the program formerly known as food stamps, is designed to help families in time of need. Though there are time limits on how long struggling families can receive SNAP, current law allows the Governor to waive these limits in times of crisis. If Gov. McCrory does not veto this bill, HB 318 would permanently prevent the Executive branch for waiving these time limits during an economic recession, or for counties facing dramatic job losses.

This would mean that jobless workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own would be unable to receive essential food aid for their families. For example, the letter cites Eden, North Carolina as a location that will experience the loss of 500 or more jobs over the next year – with a potential economic ripple effect growing that figure. Families facing catastrophic loss of income will need help. “But,” the letter says, “as of July 1, Rockingham County would no longer be able to receive the waiver that it qualifies for if you sign HB 318.”

“A veto allows the world to see a different North Carolina, and sends a message of hope as the real North Carolina value,” the letter concludes.

The letter is available online at ncjustice.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Glazier, rick@ncjustice.org, 919.856.3193; Jeff Shaw, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).