News

HB 142: The New HB2

4.23.17_News_Travelbans_Wikimedia

Travel Bans/WikiMedia

Jack Payton
   Staff Writer

Following the passing of an NC legislature bill that prohibits cities and counties across the state from passing non-discrimination laws, a multitude of government-funded bans against travel to North Carolina have been passed nationwide.

 

The bill, HB142, repealed some of the clauses of HB2 which required individuals in federal buildings to only use the bathroom of their birth gender, and overturned the abilities of cities and counties to pass laws protecting against LGBT discrimination.

 

While it overturned the mandate that individuals use the bathroom of their birth gender, it reinforced once more the inability of districts to pass non-discrimination laws, leading to a renewal of travel bans imposed after the passing of HB2.

 

The bill specifically prohibits any laws or ordinances from being passed on policies regarding bathrooms, showers and changing rooms by anyone other than the North Carolina State Legislature. This also includes any law that would impose or alter rules on private employment and access to public facilities.

 

HB142 prevents counties, cities and other demesnes in the state of North Carolina from regulating access to public bathrooms. More specifically, is rejects any laws that would allow those of different gender identities than their birth gender to use the bathroom of their choice.

The bill also strips equal opportunity employment protections and discrimination protections

that keep services such as restaurants or churches from refusing to serve those of alternate gender identities and sexualities.

 

The travel bans passed in response to this new bill range from prohibiting mandated taxpayer funded travel, to prohibiting any publicly funded travel at all. Exemptions for travel bans include trips for vital business such as audits, trials and criminal investigations.   

Among those who have passed travel bans are California, Minnesota and Washington, as well as the cities of New York, Burlington and Washington D.C.

In-state reaction to the bill has been mixed.

“It was a very measured approach,” North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-111) said to the press. “I think this bill, as written, is also something that is very defensible in court. I think it’s something the public supports. No one is 100 percent happy, but I would say I’m 95 percent happy.”

 

Others have been less optimistic, seeing the bill as backpedaling under the guise of advancement.

 

“At its core, it’s a statewide prohibition on equality,” Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, said in his own press conference. “Just like we did with…McCrory, we will hold all elected officials accountable — Democrats and Republicans — who target our community by advancing this statewide ban on nondiscrimination protections.”

 

State Secretary of Commerce Tony Copeland has also spoken of the state’s intention of negotiating with companies and other major groups that have withdrawn, or stated intentions to withdraw, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

 

Governor Roy Cooper has stated he feels the bill falls short of what he wants and plans to accomplish, but the circumstances have necessitated a compromise.

 

“The Republican majority leadership had complete control on what went to the floor and what didn’t, so they had to be the final arbiters on what was going to go on the floor,” Cooper stated to the press.

 

Further bills have not yet been filed, leaving the future of LGBT rights in North Carolina in question.

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