Under the Dome

McCrory, Berger won’t call special NC legislative session on transgender bathrooms

From left, House Speaker Tim Moore, NC Gov. Pat McCrory and Senate leader Phil Berger at a news conference last year. While Moore is interested in a special legislative session to overturn a Charlotte ordinance on bathroom use, Berger and McCrory say they’ll push for the action when the legislature is scheduled to return to Raleigh on April 25.
From left, House Speaker Tim Moore, NC Gov. Pat McCrory and Senate leader Phil Berger at a news conference last year. While Moore is interested in a special legislative session to overturn a Charlotte ordinance on bathroom use, Berger and McCrory say they’ll push for the action when the legislature is scheduled to return to Raleigh on April 25. hlynch@newsobserver.com

Gov. Pat McCrory and Senate leader Phil Berger say the North Carolina legislature should wait until its regular session, which begins April 25, to address a Charlotte ordinance that allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

House Speaker Tim Moore has been considering a rare special session to overturn the Charlotte City Council’s action. He wrote an email to Republican House members last week asking whether they’d be willing to come to Raleigh in March.

He was concerned that the Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance takes effect on April 1 – more than three weeks before legislators could act under their current schedule.

“While special sessions are costly, we cannot put a price tag on the safety of women and children,” Moore wrote to his colleagues.

But a spokeswoman for Berger said Monday that the Senate leadership isn’t working to arrange a special session.

“Charlotte City Council’s decision to allow men to share public bathrooms with little girls and women has clearly raised a lot of concern across the state,” Amy Auth wrote in an email. “As of today, the earliest the legislature could take any action would be April 25.”

And McCrory told WRAL News Monday that he’s concerned about the $42,000-a-day cost of a special session. He said he’d prefer that legislation addressing the issue be introduced in the opening days of the short session in late April.

Republican leaders say they’d like to have a statewide bill that would prevent other cities from adopting similar ordinances.

Equality North Carolina, which advocates for gay, bisexual and transgender people, says it has gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition asking McCrory to let the Charlotte ordinance stand.

“Recently after Charlotte City Council extended basic, fair protections to its LGBT residents, you threatened legislative action to negate those policies,” the group’s petition says. “It’s disheartening to hear this, especially in light of your previous public stances on maintaining local control within municipal governments.”

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter

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