Controversial special session bill signed by Gov. McCrory amidst protest

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – Lawmakers made use of their special session Wednesday to pass a bill that is raising a lot of controversy. The bill was signed by Governor McCrory late Wednesday night.

The bill repeals Charlotte’s transgender ordinance, which passed a month ago, allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice, while expanding rights for the LGBT community.

Governor McCrory tweeted Wednesday night saying, “I signed bipartisan legislation to stop the breach of basic privacy and etiquette, ensure privacy in bathrooms and locker rooms.”

Wednesday’s bill passed both the House and Senate, despite Senate Democrats walking out in protest.

The bill also put statewide regulations in place for what constituted public accommodation discrimination. The bill said people couldn’t be discriminated based on their, “race, religion, color, national origin, or biological sex, provided that designating multiple or single occupancy bathrooms or changing facilities according to biological sex.”

Advocates in the LGBT community, as well as some Democrats, have raised issue with this, saying it doesn’t address several key areas. Two glaring omissions included discrimination based on sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Amy Bright, a LGBT community member in the East, said the bill isn’t going to offer the protection women and children were asking for.

“If a person is going to break the law, if they want to molest a child, if they want to rape a woman, a bathroom bill is not going to stop that from happening,” she said.

However, those in support said it was the right thing to do.

“My heart goes out to them, but I think that the rights of the citizenry for privacy and decency should over rule that,” said Pastor Jeff Manning of the Unity Free Will Baptist Church.

The bill doesn’t just stop with discrimination, however. It also addressed the need to have a unified minimum wage in the state. It said, “The provisions of this Article supersede and preempt any ordinance, regulation, resolution, or policy adopted or imposed by a unit of local government or other political subdivision of the State that regulates or imposes any requirement upon an employer pertaining to compensation of employees.”

This prohibits local governments from issuing separate minimum wage requirements in their area. Some cities, like Greensboro and Asheville, had already planned to change their city’s minimum wage.

After passing, lawmakers on both sides weighed in. Those in opposition said it was an overreach of state power, and disabled local governments from ruling their area as they see fit. Those in support said it provided unified regulations for important issues.

To read the full bill, click here.

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