Sweepingly Broad Legislation Voiding All LGBT Nondiscrimination Ordinances About to Become Law
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Republican North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory Wednesday night will sign a bill that was first debated just hours ago. HB2, a sweepingly broad bill that voids all local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances statewide, is the direct response from Tar Heel State Republicans to an ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council that expanded protections to LGBT citizens. Lawmakers agreed to hold a one-day special session to pass the legislation, which will now cost taxpayers $42,000.
Amid claims of overreach, and lies the bill was designed to improve intra-state commerce, the North Carolina House passed the bill Wednesday afternoon, 83-25. The Senate just two hours later took up the legislation. Within 45 minutes, Democratic Senators staged a walkout, angered their attempts to debate the legislation and perhaps even reshape it were rebuffed by Republicans eager to pass it. With no Democrats voting, it passed unanimously minutes later, 32-0.
The bill itself is broad. Not only does it void LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances throughout the state, it attacks transgender citizens by revoking their right to use public restrooms based on gender identity. It also mandates that only state lawmakers can pass laws regulating employment discrimination, the use of public accommodations, and minimum wages.
Gov. McCrory had called for the anti-LGBT bill, and even threatened Charlotte before the City Council passed their ordinance. Lt. Gov. and Senate President Dan Forest, Senate President pro tempore Phil Berger, and House Speaker Tim Moore, all Republicans, drafted extremist legislation and pushed it through an all-too happy-to-appease state legislature, with GOP Rep. Dan Bishop taking credit for drafting the bill.
Lawmakers were literally given five minutes to review the bill before debate began. There was no call for public comment, although lawmakers acquiesced, allowing 30 minutes in a House committee, and little more than an hour in a Senate committee.
Lambda Legal attorney Eric Lesh tweeted the news:
Local news station WRAL confirmed it:
By signing the legislation immediately, McCrory is likely hoping to remove any questions, and thus any spotlight from his state.
Image by North Carolina National Guard via Flickr