RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory decided against signing a bill that contained money to help him defend a law that limits anti-discrimination rules for LGBT people because those funds originate from a disaster relief fund.
The bill became law without McCrory’s signature as a deadline passed Sunday night for him to act upon more than 50 bills the General Assembly left behind when it adjourned for the year July 1. The bill contained many tweaks to a larger budget measure, including taking $500,000 from the disaster relief fund to cover the legal costs of defending what’s known as House Bill 2.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat challenging McCrory in the fall, decided against defending the law for the state because he calls it discriminatory and wants it repealed.
“The governor would have preferred that the money come from the attorney general’s budget since that’s who is refusing to do his job,” McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis wrote in an email.
Private attorneys for McCrory and legislative leaders have stepped in, appearing before a federal judge Monday in Winston-Salem deciding whether he should block provisions of the law that requires people to use restrooms in schools and government buildings corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates.
McCrory has received much of the criticism over House Bill 2, which he signed in March in response to a Charlotte city ordinance that had expanded protections at public accommodations for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. Several lawsuits have been filed.
Cooper campaign spokesman Ford Porter responded by email that McCrory “is more interested in finding new and creative ways to point fingers than in fixing the problem.”
Otherwise, McCrory signed the other bills presented to him by the legislature. He signed several late last week, including one that could let natural gas companies recover the costs for extending lines to an area primarily to attract a large manufacturing plant to the state.