RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – Just a week after House Bill 2 was repealed, Republicans in the House and Senate have filed another bathroom bill.
House Bill 562 and Senate Bill 668, which read the exact same, seek to increase the penalties those trespassing could face. The way the bill reads, anyone trespassing in a multi-occupancy bathroom, shower, or changing facility could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to 120 days in jail. Previously, trespassing in those locations were Class 3 misdemeanors, punishable by only 10 days in jail.
Pitt County Rep. Greg Murphy (R) is one of the bill’s sponsors in the House.
In a statement, Murphy said:
“This bill was filed primarily in response to individuals who felt with the repeal of HB2 that we were going to be soft on sexual predators. This just reinforces that this was not the intention whatsoever. I worked too hard and long to get different factions together on HB2 to let that work be compromised. We are in a good place now and the intention is for us to stay there.”
Another sponsor, Rep. Brendan Jones (R), took to Facebook to explain why the bill was necessary. He said, “I can say, unequivocally, that I am absolutely against allowing men and women to share restrooms or changing facilities. I am a father of two young daughters, and I would not support a bill that I felt in any way would put them in danger.”
But opponents of the bill said it misses its mark. Amy Bright, director of New Greenville, said it is more discriminatory than House Bill 2.
“The way the bill is written basically says that anybody in any bathroom at any time can be told to leave, and if they don’t, they’re guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor,” Bright said.
She said it once again targets the LGBT community.
“We have to start re-framing this debate, and putting some humanity to it,” she said. “Look I don’t want a pedophile in the bathroom anymore than anyone else does.”
The bill comes just days after the NCAA announced it would accept bids for championships games in the state after lawmakers repealed House Bill 2.
WNCT reached out to the NCAA to see if this bill could change that decision, but never heard back.
The bill has been sent to committees in both chambers.
To read the bill, click here.