North Carolina recently passed a bill called House Bill 2, which is a regulation regarding public bathroom usage, and it restricts access for the LGBT community. Specifically, it is aimed at transgender individuals.
However, the federal government is now getting involved.Reports indicate that the U.S. Justice Department recently got in touch with Governor Pat McCrory, telling him that the new law is illegal, as it violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This Act, which originally was aimed at bringing racial equality, has been interpreted to apply to the LGBT community as well. Because of the violation, the Justice Department said that North Carolina has to remedy the situation by Monday, May 9.
North Carolina Refuses
Rather than doing so, the lawmakers in North Carolina said they would not follow the federal orders. House Speaker Tim Moore publicly stated that no changes would be made by the Monday deadline.
Moreover, he said that he feels the Obama administration is trying to bully the state into doing what the federal government wants, and he said he won't let that happen. He noted that this is the first step, but that the administration wants to expand this to all states, employers and universities. He argued that privacy is one of the most important things a person could have, citing this as the reason for refusing to comply with the feds.
What the Federal Government Can Do
The federal government isn't without options to force the state government to get in line. First, they can get an official federal order telling the state to make the change, and the issue will end up in federal court if changes aren't made. A judge would then get to decide what has to happen. On top of this, the federal government gives North Carolina a lot of money, which it could refuse to hand out. For example, in 2015 alone, $4.3 billion was given out for educational purposes. Keeping that money would really stretch the state government's budget, which would then impact the people.
Follow the Proceedings
The battle between states' rights and federal laws is not a new one, but it will be important to keep on eye on these proceedings. They could help to define not only what the federal government can do, but what rights
transgender individuals have in the state.
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