The passage of House Bill 2 in April 2016 was a direct and appropriate response to the City of Charlotte when they passed a city ordinance that was a vast overreach of their authority. The two major elements of the Charlotte ordinance were:
- Charlotte exceeded the authority granted to them by the state in regulating public accommodations; bathrooms, changing rooms and shower facilities.
- The Charlotte ordinance allowed people to enter any bathroom, changing room, or shower facility at any time based on whether they identified themselves as a man or a woman that day.
HB2, which after it was signed into law became Session Law 2016-3, overrode the Charlotte ordinance. It clarified the law for: single-sex multiple occupancy bathroom and changing facilities, statewide consistency in laws related to employment and contracting, and protection of rights in employment and public accommodations.
House Bill 142 makes it very simple and very clear in regards to who can and who cannot regulate bathroom, showers, and changing facilities:
“Preemption of regulation of access to multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities. State agencies, boards, offices, departments, institutions, branches of government, including The University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College System, and political subdivisions of the State, including local boards of education , are preempted from regulation of access to multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities, except in accordance with an act the General Assembly.”
The effect of this clarity is that the General Assembly will not have to constantly react to the next trick being played by out of control cities. This wording clearly reasserts the authority of the State to regulate bathroom, shower, and changing facility policy. It stops the threat of another out of control city council or university from passing another crazy ordinance or policy. Furthermore, it takes us back to bathroom policies that have been consistent for decades and take only common sense to enforce: laws that deal with ‘peeping toms’, indecent exposure, and trespass.
Section 3 of HB 142 further clarifies the law in regards to employment practices: “No local government in this state may enact or amend an ordinance regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations.” That means no city can set its own minimum wage laws or similar policies.
The final section puts a sunset provision on Section 3. The prohibitions set in Section 3 expire on December 1, 2020, which will allow current federal litigation to be resolved.
No matter how the far left wants to spin it, HB 142 strengthens privacy protections statewide, and is a commitment to the people of North Carolina that bathroom and private employment policies are not subject to overreaching, out of control, politically correct city governments.