A draft version of the bill that the legislature is set to consider during the special session confirmed the worst fears of the LGBT community and anyone remotely interested in civil liberties, or even municipal governance, in North Carolina: Speaker Tim Moore and the Republicans are going to destroy the ability of local governments to govern themselves.
First reported by WRAL, the bill, if it looks anything like this one, is set to revoke the ability of local governments like Charlotte to extend their non-discrimination protections to not only LGBT people, but disabled people as well. The bill cleverly is introduced under the guise of a new non-discrimination ordinance statewide, but one that only extends protections based on “race, religion, color, national origin, or sex.”
Not only would it disavow protections for those groups, but it would also prevent any cities or local governments from raising the minimum wage, creating a “livable wage” ordinance, or creating stricter labor laws than the state’s. Effectively, this bill would “supersede” all local laws regarding non-discrimination and labor that aren’t as draconian as the state of North Carolina’s.
It appears that in addition to cities and municipalities, schools would lose this authority as well, given that North Carolina is forcing schools to adopt single-sex bathrooms as a concrete policy. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools decided to implement gender-neutral bathrooms back in February; that appears to be in jeopardy now.
This is nothing new from the legislature. Back in October, they passed a bill aimed at ending “sanctuary city” ordinances for undocumented immigrants, and they’re continually attempting to strip local governments of the power to draw their own districts after they lose elections.
Sarah McBride of the Center for American Progress said that the draft of North Carolina’s bill was “one of the most extreme, anti-LGBT bills we’ve seen yet.”
“In addition to rescinding the rights of LGBT residents of Charlotte, the bill also targets transgender students statewide with discriminatory policies that both harm students and potentially violate federal law,” McBride told the INDY.
Wake County Commissioner John Burns said that local governments would be prohibited from even requiring nondiscriminatory practices among their own contractors. “The draft bans use of single sex multi-use bathrooms unless your birth certificate says you’re the sex on the door,” said Burns in a Facebook post. “Who’s going to check birth certificates?”
“The North Carolina legislature should be focusing on creating jobs and expanding opportunity for everyone, not engaging in legislative bullying that hurts kids and families and harms the public image of the state,” McBride added. “If legislators are so concerned about public safety, they should be taking the $42000 a day they are spending on this special session and put it towards actual violence-prevention efforts.”
Below is the full copy of the draft.