RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – A number of North Carolina Republican Senators have been appointed to a special work group to address a way for the state to act against a city ordinance.
Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger’s office said eleven state Senators have been appointed, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. They will return to work with the House on legislation.
Charlotte passed a city-wide ordinance that expands its non-discrimination policy and adds transgender rights. The ordinance is set to go into effect April 1, weeks before the General Assembly returns for the short session.
Speaker of the House Tim Moore said last week he had a three-fifths majority of House members to call a special session.
Berger’s office did not know any timeline of when Senate members would start work on possible legislation.
Republican members said in the past that the Charlotte ordinance violates state laws, including trespassing.
Attorney General Roy Cooper said he believed there was no need for lawmakers to overturn the ordinance citing other issues like education to be more pressing matters. Cooper is a Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
Cooper also said the ordinance does not change the ability of law enforcement and prosecutors to enforce North Carolina criminal laws.
Senate Leader Phil Berger said the Senate work group is being called only because Cooper has yet to act.
“Attorney General Roy Cooper has admitted state laws trump local ordinances, and he is the one person with the power to stop this nonsense and enforce our state’s criminal laws,” said Berger. “But if he refuses to do his job and protect the safety and privacy of our children, then the Senate stands ready to return to session and resolve this issue quickly.”
A special session would cost taxpayers around $42,000 per day. Speaker Moore indicated it would be money well spent to protect public safety interests.
Governor Pat McCrory said he would like to see legislators tackle the ordinance but preferred if they waited until their regular session begins on April 25.
The list of appointed Senate members is as follows:
Sen. Shirley Randleman (R-Wilkes) as chair of the work group, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (Ex-officio member), Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake), Sen. David Curtis (R-Lincoln), Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth), Sen. Buck Newton (R-Wilson), Sen. Louis Pate (R-Wayne), Sen. Ron Rabin (R-Harnett), Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick), Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), Sen. Norm Sanderson (R-Pamlico) and Sen. Jeff Tarte (R-Mecklenburg).