News: Quick Takes

Special Session May Address Charlotte ‘Bathroom’ Ordinance

Moore says he has enough support from House members; Berger says session not needed if Cooper enforces state law

House Speaker Tim Moore on Thursday called for a special session of the General Assembly to reverse a city of Charlotte ordinance that would allow transgendered individuals to use either men’s or women’s bathrooms in the state’s largest city. At a press conference, Senate leaders left open the possibility of requesting a special session as well while saying one wouldn’t be needed if Attorney General Roy Cooper would enforce state law.

“The vast majority of my fellow colleagues in the House and I believe the ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council poses an imminent threat to public safety,” said Moore, R-Cleveland. “We believe it prudent to consider immediate action because the Charlotte City Council decided to make its ordinance effective prior to the convening of our short session.”

At the press conference, Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, who’s seeking the GOP nomination for attorney general, said, “The city council of Charlotte has lost its mind.” Rep. Dan Bishop, R-Mecklenburg, who is running for an open Senate seat, said Cooper could invalidate the ordinance by declaring it violates state laws barring indecent exposure and trespassing. Cooper is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, suggested fathers would have to accompany their daughters to women’s bathrooms to protect them from molestation by males.

Earlier, Berger and Gov. Pat McCrory had opted against a special session, instead saying the General Assembly should take up the issue when lawmakers return for the 2016 short session April 25.

Moore said he has received requests from more than three-fifths of House members to call a special session on the issue.

The N.C. Constitution allows the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House to call a special session if three-fifths of both legislative chambers request one. The governor, with the advice of the Council of State, also can call a special session.