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“It’s Not Your Imagination”: North Carolina Cracks Down On Local Anti-Discrimination Policies

North Carolina’s state legislature wasn’t supposed to be in session this week, but the Republican-led chambers rushed back to work for a special, taxpayer-financed session, focused solely on one key issue.

The issue, oddly enough, related to the use of public bathrooms.

North Carolina legislators decided to rein in local governments by approving a bill Wednesday that prevents cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination rules. Gov. Pat McCrory later signed the legislation, which dealt a blow to the LGBT movement after success with protections in cities across the country.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly took action after Charlotte city leaders last month approved a broad anti-discrimination measure. Critics focused on language in the ordinance that allowed transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity.

If steps like these seem to be happening with increasing frequency, it’s not your imagination. A variety of cities have approved higher minimum wages, only to have states pass laws to block municipalities from acting on their own. Some cities have tried to pass paid sick-leave for workers in their area, only to have states change the law to prohibit such steps.

And a month ago, the city of Charlotte banned discrimination against LGBT citizens, only to learn a month later that the state had not only scrapped the local measure, but also changed state law to prevent any city from expanding protections against discrimination.

As we discussed earlier this week, contemporary conservatism is generally committed to the idea that the government that’s closest to the people – literally, geographically – is best able to respond to the public’s needs. As much as possible, officials should try to shift power and resources away to local authorities.

Except, that is, when communities consider progressive measures Republicans don’t like, at which point those principles are quickly thrown out the window.

So, let this be a lesson to everyone: when officials in Washington tell states what to do, it’s an outrageous abuse and clear evidence of government overreach. When states tell cities what to do, it’s protecting conservative principles.

And in this case, the new North Carolina policy is a mess. The Associated Press’ report added:

Gay rights leaders and transgender people said the legislation demonizes the community and espouses bogus claims about increasing the risk of sexual assaults. They say the law will deny lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people essential protections needed to ensure they can get a hotel room, hail a taxi or dine at a restaurant without fear.

“McCrory’s reckless decision to sign this appalling legislation into law is a direct attack on the rights, well-being and dignity of hundreds of thousands of LGBT North Carolinians and visitors to the state,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement.

Vox’s report called the new North Carolina measure, signed into law last night, a legislative package that combines “some of the most anti-LGBTQ measures proposed in the US, codifying the legality of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity into law.”


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 24, 2016

March 25, 2016 - Posted by | Discrimination, North Carolina Legislature, Pat McCrory | , , , , , , , ,


  1. I live in Charlotte and this is yet another fast-paced piece of legislation passed by our backward thinking General Assembly. This law is unconstitutional and will be fought in court, and the General Assembly will lose. But, it may not get that far as the push back by business has just started. The NBA is scheduled to hold the All Star game in Charlotte and two NCAA regional basketball tournaments are scheduled in NC the next two years. And, we have not heard from the PGA who is scheduled to have its championship here next year.

    Plus, Apple and Google have huge data centers in NC and have shared their concerns, as have American Airlines (large hub in Charlotte), Bank of America and Wells Fargo. My educated guess is this will heighten and create an amended law or full repeal. The General Assembly went far beyond their task and passed something that is harmful. The fact they called a special session to address Charlotte’s transgender bathroom law (which is similar to 200 other cities), and did not do so to address our coal ash problem, water concerns, teacher pay, Medicaid expansion, etc. is telling.

    Let me close that this General Assembly has been in court on several other laws and lost due to constitutionality, most recently on two gerrymandered voting districts and is still in court on the Jim Crow like Voter ID bill, which went well beyond ID issues.


    Comment by Keith | March 25, 2016 | Reply

    • Good to know that there is strong pushback!


      Comment by raemd95 | March 25, 2016 | Reply

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