The North Carolina State Legislature reconvened today for a costly special session where they will specifically work to pass legislation that will revoke Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance, sanction discrimination statewide, put transgender people at increased risk of discrimination and undermine the democratic process in cities and towns across the state.
The special session, which will cost taxpayers $42,000 a day, will strip local control from the elected leaders of Charlotte and other cities to protect their citizens from discrimination. In fact, the bill would write discrimination into law.
Using a Facts and Figures sheet from the Public Schools of North Carolina State Board of Education, Department of Public Instruction, HRC found several other ways Gov. McCrory could spend that money to help North Carolina’s youth instead:
1. The annual state cost per pupil transported on buses is $578. That means $42,000 could provide bus transportation to/from school for 73 students for an entire school year.
2. The average cost of textbooks for elementary schools students is $123 ($66.41 for math, $21.58 for reading and $35.42 for social studies). $42,000 could buy schools books for 340 elementary school students for an entire school year.
3. The average cost of breakfast for North Carolina Public Schools is $2.10 and the average cost of lunch is $3.28. $42,000 could provide breakfast and lunch for over 7,800 students for an entire school year.
Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance is not merely about access to bathrooms. It is about protecting people’s right to access public businesses -- such as movie theaters, grocery stores, and gas stations -- and public services like taxicabs. The ordinance grants LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections in government contracting. North Carolina’s lack of a statewide LGBT non-discrimination law makes the Charlotte ordinance an important anti-discrimination tool. Eighteen other states and Washington D.C. already have statewide non-discrimination protections that include sexual orientation and gender identity in places of public accommodation - including but not limited to bathrooms.
Anti-LGBT activists continue to label the nondiscrimination ordinance a “bathroom bill” -- a deplorable effort to demean the rights of LGBT people and debase LGBT people, particularly transgender people, themselves. Preying on misinformation and ignorance, these anti-LGBT activists have smeared transgender people and suggested they are a danger to women and girls in public restrooms. In reality, the people most in danger of being unsafe in a restroom are transgender people who are forced to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or expression. Despite what anti-LGBT activists imply, the evidence over the last several decades is that non-discrimination ordinances provide more, not less, safety in restrooms.
Take action with HRC today by sending a message to Governor McCrory and legislative leaders in North Carolina. We must defend non-discrimination protections in Charlotte and condemn this ruthless spending.