Now that they’ve tried to reduce the rightful authority of Gov. Roy Cooper, Republicans in the General Assembly are back to a favorite pastime: infringing on the rights of local government.
The most notable example, of course, is HB2, the ridiculous bathroom bill that prohibited local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances for the LGBT community. That’s wounded business in cities and the state’s reputation.
Now comes the latest: Sen. Norman Sanderson of Pamlico County, a Republican, wants to punish public universities and local governments if they don’t follow federal immigration laws to the letter. Sanderson would take funding from public universities that offered protection for immigrant students, and from local governments that offered “sanctuary city” type protections for immigrants. Typically, right-wing politicians conjure visions of cities and universities harboring immigrants in the country illegally when in fact the “breaks” they give such people are minor — such as not seeking them out and turning them in to authorities if they are law-abiding people.
That’s been perfectly OK, by the way, for businesses that use immigrants for tough labor without pressing the issue on their legal status.
But it remains curious how GOP legislators (the House has a milder but similar bill) who raise the roof about “big government” so easily reach down into local municipalities to interfere selectively on some issues. In this case, the action is nonconstructive.