Local legislators weigh in on special session over Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The NBA All-Star game is in Charlotte next year and NBA officials recently made a statement about the non-discrimination ordinance:

“The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events. We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.”

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Happening Wednesday, state lawmakers are meeting in Raleigh for a controversial special session.

The General Assembly will discuss Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance, allowing transgenders to use the bathroom of the sex they identify with.

WNCT sat down with your local representatives to find out where they stand.

The Charlotte ordinance becomes law on April 1, but the General Assembly doesn’t reconvene until the end of the month. So leaders in the House and Senate say they had to call this special session Wednesday over what some call “an imminent threat to public safety.”

Local lawmakers we spoke with say they’ve received overwhelming support from constituents to overturn the ordinance. This is coming from both chambers: Greg Murphy in the House and Louis Pate in the Senate.

“When people have certain private choices, that’s their choice. But then when they’re putting them in the public sphere and creating an environment that, again founded or not, some people feel is a fearful and intimidating and unhealthy and unsafe environment, again whether founded or not, flips the coin. It makes it unfair to them,” said Republican Representative Greg Murphy, representing District 9.

“It is very upsetting to me as a father and a grandfather and a husband. And I think that we’re not ready for that,” said Republican Senator Louis Pate, representing District 7.

The special session is costing taxpayers thousands. For a one day special session, it costs more than $40,000.

Some local lawmakers are against the special session, including Representative Jean Farmer-Butterfield who we spoke with earlier this month. She says none of this would be necessary if the legislature were full time.

“In order to address the needs of the people, we need to look at not saying we got a part time legislature, we need to make it what it needs to be, based on needs, not based on what someone decided when we first started the General Assembly in North Carolina,” said Democratic Representative Jean Farmer-Butterfield, representing District 24.

Stay with WNCT for updates from the General Assembly’s special session.

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