State Lawmakers May Defend Laws In Court If AG Won't

This year, North Carolina's Republican-led General Assembly passed plenty of bills that lawmakers knew would be challenged. And in a last-minute move, legislators are giving their leaders the authority to defend the laws in court.

Before adjourning last month, lawmakers inserted two sentences into legislation about hospital billing that would give the state House speaker and Senate leader the option to defend a state statute or provision of North Carolina's constitution. In that case, lawmakers wouldn't have to rely on Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat.

Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, has until Aug. 25 to veto the measure.

Cooper hasn't refused to defend the state in any case, though his counterparts in California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania said they would not defend their states' same-sex marriage bans.