The state House and Senate made good on its promise Wednesday to pass legislation preventing local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances similar to Charlotte’s.
The Charlotte ordinance protected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents from discrimination in public accommodations. The most controversial measure allowed transgender individuals to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.
Hours after pushing the bill through the legislature, Governor Pat McCrory signed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.
“While local municipalities have important priorities working to oversee police, fire, water and sewer, zoning, roads, and transit, the mayor and city council took action far out of its core responsibilities. As a result, I have signed legislation passed by a bipartisan majority to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette which was to go into effect April 1. Although other items included in this bill should have waited until regular session, this bill does not change existing rights under state or federal law,” said McCrory Wednesday evening.
Here’s what others are saying about the special session and the passage of House Bill 2:
“Rather than expand nondiscrimination laws to protect all North Carolinians, the General Assembly instead spent $42,000 to rush through an extreme bill that undoes all local nondiscrimination laws and specifically excludes gay and transgender people from legal protections.”
“The manner in which legislators passed the most extreme anti-LGBT bill in the nation – voting hours after it was unveiled without adequate public debate – flies in the face of fairness and democracy. Legislators have gone out of their way to stigmatize and marginalize transgender North Carolinians by pushing ugly and fundamentally untrue stereotypes that are based on fear and ignorance and not supported by the experiences of more than 200 cities with these protections. Transgender men are men; transgender women are women. They deserve to use the appropriate restroom in peace, just like everyone else. We urge Governor McCrory to veto this extreme, far reaching and misguided bill.”
–Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina.
“Transgender youth and adults live in every town across North Carolina and we are committed to ensuring they are treated with equality, dignity and respect. We especially want to speak to transgender youth today, who are hearing terrible messages from our elected officials in Raleigh. What is true is this: you’re beautiful, you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, you are not alone, and if you need support, there are people here to help.”
–Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality
HB 2 provides that no local government or other political subdivision may impose on employers any requirements as to wages, hours, benefits, leave, or child labor protection that are greater than what the legislature allows. Further, no city or county may require any contractor doing work with them to follow any employment practices that are more beneficial to workers than permitted by the legislature. In other words, the General Assembly is taking away the ability of any local jurisdiction to require employers – even those with whom they are contracting – to provide higher wages, safer workplaces, more generous benefits like paid leave, or any other safeguards for workers above and beyond the low-bar the legislature itself deems appropriate.
Finally, another provision of HB 2 strips away the right of private sector employees to use state law to challenge workplace discrimination. If enacted, it would have North Carolina join Mississippi as the only state without any state law protecting private sector employees from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age or disability.
–North Carolina State AFL-CIO
“Placing limits on local decision-making authority ultimately is a limit on the political power of local residents. Those residents can and do hold local officials responsible for their decisions. The League has and will continue to oppose legislation like this which pre-empts local decision-making and undermines the political power of local residents.”
–– Paul Meyer, Executive Director of the North Carolina League of Municipalities
Click below to hear Rep. Rodney Moore discuss the flawed thinking behind House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act: