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HB2 Still A Common Sense Law, Despite Continued Misinformation

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
February 16, 2017 12:00 pm

HB2 Still A Common Sense Law, Despite Continued Misinformation

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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February 16, 2017 12:00 pm

Jere Royall, Counsel and Director of Community Impact at NC Family, speaks about some common misconceptions and recent developments concerning House Bill 2.

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This is a policy with NC family Pres. John Preston thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters today were going to be speaking with a special member of our staff jury Royal, who serves as counsel and director of community impact for intrafamily clearly one of the hottest topics in North Carolina over the last year has been the passage of House Bill two or North Carolina's bathroom privacy and safety law. Jury serves as one of our registered lobbyist and spends a great deal of time at the North Carolina Gen. assembly working with state lawmakers and seeking to inform and educate them about issues that are important to families across our state and the impact that those issues will have on families.

Since the state legislature came back into session on January 25 and House Bill two remains a hot topic of discussion. We thought it would be particularly helpful to revisit this bill and discuss what it actually does. There is been so much information circulated about House Bill two and so many misconceptions out there in the public so we thought it would be helpful to take an opportunity to clear the air about some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding this very common sense, an important piece of legislation a jury. Welcome back to family policy matters. It's always great to have you on the show. Thank you John break the work together well. It is a pleasure to work together, jury, and we really appreciate very much your commitment to speaking on behalf of families and family values at the general assembly you spend countless hours down there meeting with lawmakers and developing relationships with them, which really provides the opportunity to enter into discussions about important legislation like House Bill two jury as we get started. What we talk a little bit about the history of House Bill 21 events transpired that led to the consideration in the passage of House Bill two and March 2016.

Last year in February that Charlotte city Council made some changes in their ordinances into significant areas.

One is in. This is the part that most people are have heard about are most familiar with in the area of privacy and safety as it relates to public restrooms, locker rooms and showers. They had had a provision in their ordinances for 30 years that had recognize that it was important to make distinctions in those areas of privacy and safety as it related to people making decisions about how policy applied to restrooms, locker rooms and shower rooms that those would be designated based on biological sex.

That was an exception that was made in the nondiscrimination policy, realizing that this was an important distinction to make. As far as protecting the privacy and safety of citizens in that ordinance essentially said if men or women need to use a restroom or go to a shower or bath house.

There was a public facility that men would simply go to the men's room and women would go to the women's room and it was perfectly fine and actually the standard the understood standard for that to to be the case in the city of Charlotte and that's what they sought to essentially repeal in the set of ordinance changes that the Charlotte city Council passed in February correct that is correct in that the change would have allowed people to choose which facilities they ease based on how they identified not their biological sex but which sex they identified with so essentially a man who identified as a woman could then enter into woman's bathroom or shower locker room or changing facility and under that new ordinance that the Charlotte city Council adopted. That would be perfectly fine. That is correct that that's what that change would have done and that's why the legislature saw this is an important area for them to address. In addition to that there was a another major change that was made in their ordinances which related to the nondiscrimination laws as they apply to commercial activity in the city of Charlotte weather was people doing business within the city or people doing business from outside Charlotte with the city of Charlotte that they would have been required to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.

In addition to the classes that had been recognized for many years under state and federal law, such as race, color, national origin, and religion and insects as it was understood to apply to biological sex. But this change would have created the problem that were seen across our country, where, when the sexual orientation and gender identity protections are added as protected classes.

There is a conflict with the religious freedom of religious liberty of citizens and this is where we've seen lawsuits or actions brought by governments against bakers and forest and photographers and videographers and other folks, particularly those associated with the wedding industry and so this would have invited all of these types of of issues into North Carolina were fortunate enough that we haven't had the so-called so G or sexual orientation and gender identity laws or ordinances in our state, but this would have created the beginning essentially of what we've seen in many of these other municipalities across the country. Jury also one of the major catalyst for House Bill two was a conflict that was created by the actions of the Charlotte city Council when compared to North Carolina's long-standing governance doctrine which is referred to as Dillon's rule out what is Dillon's rule and how does it apply in this case. Will this is a legal principle that supplied by over 30 states, which means that within those states, local governments only have the authority that's been given to them by the state constitution and the state legislature and that really is an overriding principle that really when you apply it to the situation Charlotte if you just step back and said what do we need to do it would be just apply this principle and say Charlotte did not have the authority to pass the ordinances which they had passed back in February 2016 and and then really that's part of what the legislature ended up saying that this is the underlying principle in the action that was taken by the legislature. You're listening to policy matters so I spent to listen to our radio show online information resources that will be a place of persuasion in your community website electing and I think that's a really important thing for listeners to understand and this is something that's really not been discussed that much when it comes to what we've heard about House Bill two is that there has been this long-standing principle in North Carolina that city and county governments are essentially a subset of the state government initially said they derive all of their authority either from the Constitution or acts that are passed specifically giving them authority from the North Carolina Gen. assembly, and so for a city or county to go off. Some people refer to it to to go rogue and start passing ordinances and laws that conflict or that departs significantly from state law is a violation of this Dylan rule, principle, and that's exactly what we saw in North Carolina and that's part of what the legislature recognized in their need to pass House Bill two jury when the Gen. assembly came back into special session in March 2016 in order to reign in the actions of the Charlotte city Council they passed House Bill two. What exactly does House Bill two do.

There are three sections for House Bill to the first section deals with what we mentioned, the beginning of our conversation is the bathroom restroom locker room policy and they established really a statewide privacy and safety law which really just codified existing state policy. What they did and that was for all public schools and government agencies. They set a policy for in the way the sections entitled as single-sex multiple occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities. It meant that for multiple occupancy facilities.

Those could only be occupied by people of the same biological sex that they did make provision in their that section of the law where accommodations could be made by providing single occupancy facilities so they were being sensitive to the fact that there were concerns that some people had, but they also wanted to make sure that the privacy and safety of our citizens was being protected under our state law and that that local law could not override that.

So if you had a circumstance where you have a student in a school or an individual who works for the government or something like that or it just a member of the public who went to a public facility and yeah they had some misgivings about going into a bathroom or shower. The coordinated with their biological sex that this actually does allow for accommodation to be made for them to use a single stall facility. For example, for their private functions and that's something that I think was was glossed over in much of the media coverage of this legislation that suggested that there was no accommodation made, but there actually was and so there was some flexibility provided in this but it did set the statewide standard that in public. Individuals would use the bathroom shower locker room or changing facility that associated with their biological sex that is correct. Net also just as a point of clarification. This law does not affect the ability of private businesses and on profit corporations to set their own policy about these questions right this judge.

This relates to public facilities is a saying, like in our school systems are government buildings great. What I think that's an important distinction because we heard from some in the business community that this bill was created so many problems and you know some business executives suggested boycotts are not expanding their business opportunities in the states, but this bill does not impact the ability that they have to adopt internal policies relating to bathroom usage that is correct. The other sections look really at the commercial impact of the ordinance. It was passed by Charlotte and again this this relates to nondiscrimination law, which up to that point had been the same as our state and federal laws. But what Charlotte was good and in the state needed to address was the fact that our state is the governing authority. He determines what happens on a state level and looks out for the general welfare of the people. In part two of the law is entitled statewide consistency and laws related to employment and contracting and what would've happened under the changes in Charlotte is local governments could be making requirements again on commercial activity within their area of authority that affected wages and hours. As far as what people's policy could be within their private companies and what this pointed out through this provision of the law was to clarify that these are state policies that are determined on a statewide level that governments are allowed to make their own policies for their own employees but went when they start making decisions that affect commerce across the state. That's where the legislature needed to come in and clarify that that was outside the authority of local governments, and it also dealt with public accommodations which are basically according to the ordinances that were in place in Charlotte would essentially have applied to any business Association, nonprofit, and even churches that basically said they would have to also conform to the same policies in the same definition of adoption of sexual orientation and gender identity, and open bathrooms all or else they could be subject to penalties and things of that nature. Correct.

That is correct so that was one of the measures that House Bill two's all-terrain end and basically say that the city of Charlotte and and frankly, for that matter other cities and counties across the state did not have the authority to adopt now with the state legislature saw fit to adopt a statewide policy doing that same thing that it was within the purview of the state legislature, but it was not within the purview of any city or county to adopt the Charlotte style ordinances. That's correct. What can citizens do if they are interested in and continue to be concerned about the legislature considering bills that would repeal House Bill two will on our you can see a lot of the history of House Bill two in the search box they are on our website.

If you just put in HB two it'll pull up all the publications that we have produced relating to House Bill two. As far as actually getting involved in responding.

We also on our website. If you click on get involved and then it has take action with you.

You can click on there and I'll take you to a section where there's information about House Bill two and specifically how you can contact your members of the North Carolina House and Senate through email and also as we mentioned previously. In addition to emails.

It's great to be in touch with them on even more personal level through phone calls or even a personal visit. Thank you Jerry that just about does it for this week, we will continue this important conversation about House Bill two next week.

You welcome John and again it's a blessing to work together with you and other citizens across the state. Huntington family policy matter the production of NZ only to listen to our radio show online, and for more valuable resources and information about issues important to families in North Carolina website and see and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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