Gov. Pat McCrory signed two bills that drew intense scrutiny and debate Monday -- one an abortion bill and another a gun bill that allows guns on college campuses.
Overall Monday, McCrory signed 18 bills, including Senate Bill 353, which tightens standards for abortion clinics.
"I would have vetoed HB 695 [a different abortion bill] because it was clearly designed to restrict access," McCrory said in a statement. "I am pleased that this new legislation is focused on the health and safety of women in North Carolina.
"These higher standards will result in safer conditions for North Carolina women. This law does not further limit access and those who contend it does are more interested in politics than the health and safety of our citizens."
Abortion bills appeared suddenly before the July 4 holiday, leading critics to say the Republicans were trying to ram the bills through with little discussion.
Critics have charged that the bill is intended to make it more difficult for women to have abortions, and the stricter standards will have a chilling effect on women.
McCrory signed HB 937, which amends state firearms laws. That law had been vehemently opposed by college leaders, and UNC system president Tom Ross voiced lengthy concerns in the spring.
Ross said the potential for tragedy "far outweighs any potential benefit or convenience to concealed-carry permit holders."
In announcing he had signed the bill, McCrory said, "This legislation prohibits guns in classrooms, dorms, and administrative buildings on college campuses.
"Additionally, this legislation gives bar owners the authority to prohibit guns in their establishments. Following my threat of a veto, we worked closely with law enforcement officials across the state so that changes were made to the original legislation. This ensured that permitting is still required for a concealed carry permit and is implemented at the local level."
McCrory also signed SB 76, which will direct the Mining and Energy Commission to explore the next steps in energy exploration.
"This legislation is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough," McCrory said. "We need an all-of-the-above energy policy and that includes the exploration of shale gas."