Source: Editorial Staff
North Carolina Republicans wasted no time continuing their attacks on the state’s LGBTQ+ youth after returning from the six-week Fourth of July vacation that they took instead of finalizing the state’s budget that was due nearly eight weeks ago.
Once they made it back to the legislature in Raleigh, Republicans quickly overrode six of Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes he made while the legislators were busy ignoring their duties.
The bills that were overridden and are now state law are as follows:
- Senate Bill 49, known as the Parents Bill of Rights, requires teachers to “out” transgender children to their parents and would also ban elementary schools from having curricula, or books in the library, dealing with LGBTQ+ issues or other content addressing sexuality.
- House Bill 574, known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, bans transgender girls and women from competing in women’s sports in middle school, high school and college athletics in North Carolina.
- House Bill 808 prohibits medical professionals from providing gender-affirming medical care to any transgender patient under 18, including hormone treatments or puberty blockers as well as surgical procedures.
- House Bill 219, known as the Charter School Omnibus bill, expands enrollment rules for charters and allows county governments to use property tax revenue to pay for charter school buildings and other capital projects.
- House Bill 618 creates a new board to vet and grant charter school applications and will scrap the current review process that goes through the State Board of Education.
- House Bill 488 will divide the state’s current Building Code Council into two bodies, one focused on residential buildings and the other on commercial. It would also ban the council from updating the current building code and adding new energy efficiency rules, and allow the builders of multifamily units to use less fire-proofing between dwellings.
Many Democratic lawmakers spoke out against the Republican veto overrides.
“This may be the most heartbreaking bill in a truly heartbreaking session,” Sen. Lisa Grafstein, D-Wake, said of the ban on gender-affirming care. “This bill tells parents how to raise their kids. It injects raw politics into these intimate, personal and family medical decisions.”
Speaking specifically about SB 49, Democrats said the bill only serves to cater to an extremist minority of parents who are overly concerned about banning books and demeaning LGBTQ+ people. Democratic Sen. Natasha Marcus spoke during the debate and said that when she talks to parents their concerns are about passing gun control laws and ensuring that schools have enough teachers, nurses and psychologists and that they’re well-paid, according to WRAL.
“I urge you to stand up for public education, for equality, and to vote no,” Marcus said.
In the House chambers, state Rep. Marcia Morey, D-Durham, called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act “mean-spirited” and unnecessary because it targets amateur athletes, not professionals.
“We’re talking about kids in middle school, high school, who [are trying] to find their identity, their reason to belong,” she said.
According to WRAL, only two transgender girls in the state have ever tried getting permission to compete in high school athletics, which makes it clear that this law is nothing more than another anti-LGBTQ+ attack by North Carolina Republicans and doesn’t actually address any serious issue.
Cooper released a scathing statement after Republicans overrode his vetoes.
“The legislature finally comes back to pass legislation that discriminates, makes housing less safe, blocks FEMA disaster recovery funding, hurts the freedom to vote and damages our economy,” he said. “Yet they still won’t pass a budget when teachers, school bus drivers and Medicaid Expansion for thousands of working people getting kicked off their health plans every week are desperately needed. These are the wrong priorities, especially when they should be working nights and weekends if necessary to get a budget passed by the end of the month.”
House and Senate Republicans have yet to reach an agreement on the budget, which was due July 1. It could be mid-September before there’s any sort of budget agreement in place.