Bills targeting trans youth are now NC law after Republicans override 6 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes

Bills targeting trans youth are now NC law after Republicans override 6 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes

After not showing up at the legislature for the last six weeks, Republicans came back with a vengeance on Wednesday, overriding six of Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes he made while the legislators were busy taking an extended vacation instead of doing their job.

The six pieces of legislation that are now laws in North Carolina ranged from attacks on transgender youth to taking public school funds to use on charter schools.

The new laws are:

  • 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.

Dueling rallies held outside the legislature and the debates between lawmakers that occurred before the override votes were taken got tense and emotional, WRAL reported.

One person who was sitting in the gallery had to be escorted out by police during the debate on HB 808 after she yelled “We’re not filth!” at Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson who, in an extremely rare move, was actually doing his job and presiding over the Senate. Robinson despises the LGBTQ+ community and has made his beliefs very clear, calling LGBTQ people “filth” and has compared them to cow feces and maggots.

Democratic lawmakers were also upset with the NCGOP’s actions.

“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.”

Sen. Amy Galey, R-Alamance, is the lead sponsor of the Parents’ Bill of Rights and she defended forcing teachers to “out” transgender children because “parents have the right to direct the upbringing and moral or religious training of his or her child.”

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 speaks with 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.

Over 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.”

According to WRAL, only two transgender girls in the state have ever tried getting permission to compete in high school athletics.

Cooper released a statement following the six override votes.

“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.”

Republicans in both chambers have yet to reach an agreement on the budget, which was due July 1.

Patrick Zarcone

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