Charlotte Observer
10:00 am
Fri February 22, 2013

McCrory Not Required To Sign Off On Airport Deal

RALEIGH Turns out, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory won’t have to sign any legislation that would cost the city he once ran control of its airport.

Most measures that pass the House and Senate have to be signed by the governor to become law. Not so with so-called local bills.

“Local bills” are those that affect fewer than 15 counties. They don’t need the governor’s signature to become law.

The airport authority bill, which passed one Senate committee Wednesday and could go to another next week, technically affects only Mecklenburg and five surrounding counties. Officials in each of those counties would have an appointment to the 13-member authority board.

The bill also gives appointments to the governor, the House speaker and the Senate president pro tem. Even so, McCrory “has no legal involvement in it,” said legislative counsel Gerry Cohen.

McCrory, Charlotte’s former longtime mayor, has declined to answer questions through his press office. By not having to decide whether to sign the bill, McCrory avoids a potentially awkward situation: antagonizing the bill’s legislative backers or his own supporters in Charlotte who oppose the move.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Bob Rucho in the Senate and Rep. Bill Brawley in the House, would transfer control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the city to an authority. The city is fighting the move, asking lawmakers to slow down and study the issues surrounding an airport run by the city since 1935.

The proviso on local bills stems from the 1995 legislation that gave North Carolina governors veto power, according to Cohen.

It was part of the legislative compromise that made North Carolina the last state in the country to give its governor veto power.