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Morning Memo: McCrory defends DHHS, eyes S.C. business

McCRORY DEFENDS WOS: Gov. Pat McCrory has full confidence in Dr. Aldona Wos, the woman he chose to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, even while making a point to say he can not micromanage their hiring decisions. Democratic legislators are calling for a state audit of the department and an investigation into its hiring practices after several media reports over high-paying jobs going to former members of the governor's campaign staff, donors and an employee of Wos' husband. Read the story here.

DON'T FORGET: Inaugural Pints & Politics event today:The N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation, a business-backed political research firm, is putting a little fun into the state capital’s favorite sport: politics. The inaugural Pints & Politics event will include discussion from Chris Sinclair, a Republican strategist at Cornerstone Solutions, and Tom Jensen, the head pollster at Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, about election outcome predictions. Free event but RSVP requested or 919-614-0520. Details: 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19, Natty Greene’s Brewing, 505 W. Jones St., Raleigh

*** Welcome to Dome's Morning Memo.

UNC system act on McCrory's campus substance abuse challenge

Apparently Gov. Pat McCrory was serious a few months ago when he challenged UNC system leaders to do something about substance abuse on campus.

On Friday, Board of Governors Vice Chairman Frank Grainger briefed the board on a series of meetings between the governor's staff and UNC leaders. On Sept. 4, Grainger and UNC President Tom Ross met with McCrory and his staff, as well as Frank Perry, secretary of Public Safety, and Jim Gardner, chairman of the ABC Commission. The sheriffs of Anson and Guilford counties also attended, Grainger said.

"The bottom line is that it appears that drugs are becoming more and more prevalent on our campuses," Grainger said.

McCrory assesses his job in NC SPIN TV interview

Gov. Pat McCrory is the guest on NC SPIN, the statewide public affairs TV program, this weekend.

In an interview with host Tom Campbell, McCrory talks about his surprises and challenges in the job.

He also stands up for his cabinet, saying its members comprise the best cabinet in the country. McCrory says they're not getting the attention they deserve.

That might come as a surprise to some of them, who could use a little less attention lately.

Go to for air times. Or watch the full interview online.

McCrory pushes back against veto overrides

Updated with text of governor's statement.

The state Senate on Wednesday quickly overrode the governor’s vetoes of a pair of bills, following the same path the House took the day before.

But Gov. Pat McCrory immediately pushed back, saying he will not carry out the new drug-testing of welfare recipients law, and he will consider challenging the new immigration law if it doesn’t withstand legal scrutiny.

McCory’s communications staff released a long written statement late Wednesday morning reiterating his earlier concerns about the two bills. McCrory said the executive branch would not take any action on House Bill 392, the drug-testing bill, until legislators find the money to pay for its implementation across the state. It would allow welfare recipients to be tested if social workers suspect they have been abusing drugs, and in some circumstances be required to get fingerprinted.

On House Bill 786, the immigration bill, McCrory said he will direct the executive branch “to explore all legal and executive authority to ensure the letter and spirit of our nation’s immigration law is followed in this state.” The new law expands the period in which seasonal workers do not have to have their immigration status checked in the federal E-Verify system. The governor says it creates a loophole that industries besides agriculture will abuse.

Senate follows House in overriding both vetoes

The state Senate on Wednesday quickly overrode the governor’s vetoes of a pair of bills, following the same path the House took the day before.

There was never any real question about what the Senate would do, with its firm Republican majority, even though Democrats who had supported the bills in July lined up in favor of sustaining the vetoes on Wednesday. They failed to pick up GOP support for the vetoes.

Democrats offered no debate, however, and so both overrides were accomplished in just six minutes.

Afterward, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger echoed House Speaker Thom Tillis’ remarks from Tuesday downplaying the political damage that Gov. Pat McCrory might have incurred from losing the veto fight.

McCrory musters support from sheriffs to sustain immigration bill veto

House Republicans may think they have enough votes to override the governor’s veto of two immigration and drug-testing welfare recipient bills. But Gov. Pat McCrory is fighting to the end trying to sway legislators.

On Friday, the governor’s office released statements from six county sheriffs supporting the veto of the immigration bill, H.B. 786. They, like the governor, oppose a provision in the bill that would expand the exemption from the E-Verify immigration status system for seasonal workers from 90 days to up to nine months.

McCrory has said that creates a loophole that could open the door for other industries besides agriculture to hire seasonal workers and take jobs away from legal residents. Some of the sheriffs echo those sentiments, and add other concerns.

Morning Memo: Kids have a deadline, teachers might get a new deadline

Hey kids, today's the last day you can pre-register to vote if you're 16 or 17. Applications are available at your county board of elections, the public library and your high school. You can even do it at the DMV while getting your learner's permit or driver's license. But like we said, this is the last day because the election law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory does away with pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds. And that's your Civics lesson this Friday morning. Welcome to Dome's Morning Memo and thanks for reading.

Cake and cameras, but no McCrory

Except for some TV cameras, Bicentennial Mall in downtown Raleigh was mostly empty on Thursday when Madison Kimrey, a 12-year-old activist, showed up for a meeting with cake, lemonade and – hopefully – Gov. Pat McCrory.

“I didn’t poison it, I promise,” Madison said, gesturing to a homemade chocolate bundt cake. She announced in a YouTube video she wanted to eat cake and converse with the governor about some recently signed laws she disagrees with – namely the voter ID and election law. She also brought a 1,055-page petition she planned to deliver to him asking him for a meeting to discuss the voter ID law, specifically the provision that stops preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds.

McCrory praises his vetoes and criticizes liberal opposition in radio interview

Gov. Pat McCrory emphasized the moderate qualities expressed by his recent vetoes and said Moral Monday activists are fueled by groups behind the scenes during an interview on WWNC’s Pete Kaliner Show.

Vetoing a conservative drug-testing mandate for some welfare applicants and an immigration bill he said was “more liberal than most states” portrays McCrory as a moderate who is not afraid to anger either party.

“I’m stepping on the toes of the right and the left,” he said.

When asked about a 12-year-old protester who wants to meet with him, McCrory laughed and said the notion is “ridiculous.”

Madison Kimrey, 12, wants to share cake, conversation with governor

Madison Kimrey, the 12-year-old from Burlington who has become a memorable face of protest in Raleigh -- after the governor's staff brought her and fellow protesters outside the Governor's Mansion slices of cake -- will bring her own cake, which she hopes to share with Gov. Pat McCrory.

She's set a time and place just down the street from the governor's place. Will he show?

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