General Assembly Overrides Governor’s Veto of Property Protection Legislation

The House and Senate this week overrode Governor Pat McCrory’s veto of a bill that provides enhanced protection of private property rights, over the objections of animal rights activists who claimed it would curb “whistleblower” investigations of abusive practices in slaughterhouses.

Wednesday’s override votes mean that HB 405, ‘The Property Protection Act’, will become law on January 1, 2016. Once in effect, it will allow employers to take legal action against individuals who gain unauthorized access to non-public places in an office or commercial building to remove company documents or records, or to record video or audio without their knowledge.

In his Veto Message to the General Assembly, McCrory said that, while he supported the bill in principal, it did not “adequately protect or give clear guidance to honest employees who uncover criminal activity,” and would discourage them from reporting illegal activities. House and Senate leaders disputed that the bill would prevent well-intentioned employees from reporting illegal activities to authorities, and indicated that any unintended consequences could be addressed in future legislation.

The bill is supported by a number of business groups, including the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Charlotte and the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

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