The Durham City Council voted unanimously Thursday to oppose House Bill 2 and call for its repeal.
Council member Charlie Reece said many residents had reached out to him asking when the council would respond to the law. “I’m proud to say today is that day, and now is that time,” he said.
The resolution will be sent to members of the Durham County delegation to the General Assembly, the chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners, state House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate leader Phil Berger and Gov. Pat McCrory.
City Attorney Patrick Baker told the council that the city and other public agencies must require that single-sex, multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities only be used according to “biological sex” as defined by the new law.
“They’ve made it very clear that localities can’t change that, make any accommodations similar to what Charlotte did,” he said.
But Baker said HB2 does not provide a penalty for people who use bathrooms that do not correspond to their birth certificates. The council resolution encourages businesses to take advantage of this “by openly welcoming LGBT people to their places of business, by providing gender-nonspecific bathroom facilities for their customers and employees wherever practicable, and otherwise to encourage their customers and employees to use the bathroom facilities that most closely align with their gender identity.”
Wake seeks DOT help
The Wake County school system wants the state Department of Transportation to provide $678,054 to help pay for paving a gravel road near the new Bryan Road Elementary School that will be built in Garner.
The resolution approved by the school board this week asks for money so that Bryan Road between Ackerman and Clifford roads is “paved appropriately to safely support the type and quantity of vehicular and school bus traffic that is reasonably expected to use the road.”
The school district had initially balked at the request to pave the road, saying it shouldn’t have to pay to pave a state-maintained road. In a compromise reached in January, Wake agreed to pave the road, and Garner agreed to drop the requirement that Wake add curbs and gutters along the school’s road frontage.
Wake notes that DOT had previously identified funding and scheduled the improvement of Bryan Road but delayed it until money was found to build the school. The DOT money is no longer there, but Wake says funding the paving now “addresses safety concerns for pedestrians and vehicular traffic, and will benefit the public schools, the Town and the community at large.”
Compiled by Natalie Ritchie and T. Keung Hui
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