[BLANK_AUDIO] Judiciary IV Committee will come to order please. If you would, try to find a seat. [BLANK_AUDIO] I've got some preliminaries matters that I wanna go over, so hopefully we'll understand what we're gonna try to do, and we'll need to be a little bit flexible, I understand. I wanna start by saying to the members of the committee, to help us the judge the time that we need to dispose off the bill by 11.45, which is my intention. I would like you to indicate to the staff behind me as soon as you possibly can, if you intend to offer an amendment. I don't have to know what the amendment is, but I'd just like to have an idea of how many we might possibly be dealing with, if you could accommodate that. If you're interested in speaking for, or against the bill, or if you simply wanna speak on the bill, if you will register in the back, I think there's a signup sheet back there. If you don't consider yourself for, or against, you might wanna sign up on the shortest list. You can explain that you signed up on that side, but that you're not really for, or against. My intention at this point, subject to getting us out of here by about 11:45, 11:50, is to try to allow 30 minutes of public comment, upto two minutes per speaker. If we don't need that much time fine, if we need more time because of anticipated amendments I may have to cut back on that, but we'll go as far on the list as we can. My intention is that we will begin by having the sponsors present the bill. They'll then will have discussion by the committee, we'll then take public comments. And then we will come back and have such amendments and votes as the committee needs, with the idea again of being finished by 11:45. So, with your cooperation hopefully we can stick to that schedule. [BLANK_AUDIO] Okay, the Chair recognizes Representative Bishop. Representative Bishop, do you wanna come to the podium? And while Representative Bishop is coming up, I'll say, I'll try to remind you, but when we get to the public comments time, please identify yourself and any organisation or agency that you may be associated with. Okay, and we welcome Representative Stam, and we'll let them present this in such order as they may choose. >> Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, I'd like to give you an overview for about two minutes, and then Representative Bishop, will be going paragraph by paragraph so that we completely understand it. This a common sense bill that ensures the status quo et al. That is, what do I mean by that? If you pass the bill, really nothing has changed from yesterday until tomorrow, but it prohibits other deleterious changes in the future. It protects privacy. It also clarifies what units of local government can do on a couple of disputed issues. I would contend that it is not changing that, it's just clarifying, and that is making clear what units local government can do and not do. The reason this is important is that we need for economic development, we need a good intrastate common market. We have 100 counties. We have 500 plus cities, and businesses that want to grow and expand, it's not a good idea for them to have to have different employment rules in different places where they do business. Obviously infrastructure will be different, zoning will be different,
the fees will be different, the taxes will be different. But they shouldn't have to guess, or to comply with rules made by one city that apply to everybody who's gonna contact with that city, if even if their other place of business is in say, Wake County. So for example, if Catawba County were to issue certain rules for un employment practices for their bidders, and I wanted to bid on that from Wake County, Catawba County should not be able to tell my business in Wake County what to do, we need to put a stop to that. This is important at the intrastate level, it's important at the interstate level, and even in world trade, but especially intrastate and interstate. I'd like to ask the Chair to recognize Representative Bishop, who will go through it paragraph by paragraph. >> Representative Bishop, you're recognized. >> Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hail from Charlotte, and as Representative Stam said, today I think what we're doing is preserving a sense of privacy that people have long expected in private facilities. Now we are all restoring and clarifying, clarifying the existing authority, and limits of authority of the local governments. The recitals at the beginning of the bill say that. They point out that the power of localities in North Carolina, comes from delegation by the General Assembly. And in the case of the Charlotte ordinance passed in February, there was exercise to a power that's never been delegated to the City of Charlotte, or to any locality, except for a few in their charters. But not Charlotte. So Article VII, Section 1 of the North Carolina Constitution sets forth that law, that's our fundamental law of this state. Immediately below that, Representative Stam made the point that consistent business regulations statewide is critical for the success of business, and to make the kind of business environment that we need for the people in North Carolina to prosper. Article II, Section 24 says that the General Assembly cannot make local acts on business, that is to say labor, trade, mining or manufacturing. The Constitution specifically sets that forth in order that we not have a balkanized, or a patchwork system of business law varying from place to place within the state. The other recitals were consistent with that, and now I'll proceed to the operative parts of the bill. The bill is in three parts. The first part, establishes in two sections that in public facilities in North Carolina, the policy will be that bathrooms will be designated according to biological sex, and usage of them will be according to biological sex. That's the law of North Carolina all ready. The North Carolina Building Code specifies the number of facilities, and that they'll be designated according to biological sex. This clarifies it. So in the two sections, the first is that in K through 12 public education facilities, a bathroom for students will be bathrooms and changing facilities, the terminology you see is single-sex, multiple occupancy bathroom and changing facilities. So you have multiple and single occupancy, obviously. If it's a multiple occupancy facility, then they'll be designated and used according to biological sex. Biological sex is to be designated on the birth certificate. And for those who may not know, North Carolina already has in statute, a provision that if someone has sexual reassignment surgery, then they can amend their birth certificate so that it has the other gender, and so this is consistent with that. The Section I, includes specific accommodations that are allowed for various circumstances. It permits local boards of education to maintain single occupancy bathroom, or changing facilities that students can use. It also has exceptions in subsection D listed, for custodial purposes,
for maintenance or inspection purposes, to render medical assistance, to accompany students needing assistance, or students needing to receive assistance. And also the last one, subsection 7 there, it says, that has been temporarily designated for use by that person's biological sex. It is often the practice in athletic events in particular, where a team travels to the opposite school, that a locker room of the other gender than the sports team will be temporarily designated for their use during that event. So that's covered as well. Section 1.3 of the bill, it's a second provision on bathroom policy. And it provides that in other public facilities, so facilities operated by state agencies, by localities, and also other types of bathrooms operated by local school boards, the same policy will exist. And the same similar exceptions apply. Notice, there is no mandate on private business in this law. The businesses are free to regulate their own facilities as they see fit, and we believe that's consistent with a good favorable business environment, and appropriate freedom of choice. [BLANK_AUDIO] Now Part II. Part II and Part III are the portions that as we introduced the bill, I mentioned relate to clarifying what authority exists for localities in certain areas. Part II has, [BLANK_AUDIO] Three sections. Section 2.1, clarifies that local governments lack authority, are preempted is the term in law, to adopt regulation of wages. Now, the reason that is in this bill, is because of the two sections that follow that, Sections 2.2 and 2.3. These sections provide that, if a local government, county, or city engages a contractor, it is not able to impose regulations, or controls on that contractor's employment practices. Or mandate, or prohibit how it will provide goods, services, or accommodations to any member of the public. These were the provisions previously modified in 2013, when a city overstepped its authority, and used its contracting policy to impose a minimum living wage, as the terminology went, on its contracting parties. We've now make clear and stated here, cuz what we've said there is, they're disabled from regulating the employment practices generally of contracting parties, or their way of selling services, or goods. Therefore we've moved more generally, and clarified something again that is not new law, it's a clarification. The Wage and Hour Act of North Carolina, is a complete and integrated legislative scheme regulating wages and labor conditions. And so to make it abundantly clear that local governments are disabled from this area, we've made an explicit statement of preemption of the field. That takes us to the third part, which is titled, Protection of Rights in Employment and Public Accommodations. North Carolina has had since 1976, an Article in Chapter 143, a statement of public policy against employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex. [BLANK_AUDIO] For the first time we are enacting, proposing to enact, a state wide statement of public policy against discrimination in public accommodations on those same categories. I've actually omitted two that appear on the top, and I wanna explain that, so that in the employment discrimination provision that's preexisted cuz it covers age. Which is uniquely appropriate for employment discrimination
not for a public accommodations, for a reason I can go into if someone has a question. But the other one is disability. There were reports in the media this morning, that we're curtailing protections for disabilities. That's completely incorrect. That is covered comprehensively in a separate State statute, Chapter 168A of the General Statutes, provides comprehensive protection for disability discrimination, including in public accommodations. There's a case from the court of appeals in 2015, in which the fact that handicap is included in this employment non-discrimination public policy statement, creates an enormous confusion that the court of appeals had to work its way through, and it is a potential trap for the unwary. If people who suffer disability discrimination, should bring their claim inadvertently under that public policy statement, as opposed to under Chapter 168A, they can deprive themselves of appropriate remedies. As we're enacting for the first time in North Carolina, a state wide statement of public accommodations, non-discrimination, we've left handicap to be covered completely and comprehensively by the existing Chapter 168A. And we've used for consistency, the definition of public accommodations in 168A to inform the non-discrimination policy that we are enacting here. And we cover all of the, what the Supreme Court has termed suspect and quasi-suspect classifications, in this new comprehensive statement opposed to discrimination in public accommodations. In both of those statements of public policy, we've also now articulated clear statements of legislative intent that localities are preempted from acting in these areas. But I wanna emphasize to you all again, that no one can point to a statute that has its ever explicitly delegated authority to cities and counties to do that. And in fact, if you read the Williams versus Blue Cross and Blue shield case from 2003, the courts have already been active in striking down exactly that sort of regulation. Where there was a comprehensive employment discrimination measure enacted in a county, the Supreme Court said, that county didn't have authority to do that. But the matter appears to remain unclear, and therefore we're proposing to clarify it. In both of these statements of public policy, the one on employment discrimination and the other on public accommodations discrimination. The Human Resources Commission, within the Department of Administration is empowered to receive complaints, to investigate, and to conciliate complaints that arise concerning either of those. At the end there's a severability provision, you all know what's that for. And the final provision, Part V, makes clear to the extent the field preemptions statements made elsewhere in the legislation, doesn't seem to cover it, or leaves any doubt at all. It makes clear that ordinances, regulations, policies adopted that are inconsistent with this law are superseded and preempted, and that's from front to back. Mr. Chairman. >> Thank you, Representative Bishop. Before we take questions, let me do a couple of other housekeeping things. One is, I had a question for members of the committee. You do not have to offer amendments to the bill in committee in order for them to be considered on the floor. You can, under the rules that we're just adopted earlier in session, amendments can be offered on the floor for the first time. So, you can take that into consideration in deciding if you have something you want to offer. Also, I should point out to the committee members, and the public that are present, that we have four House Sergeant-at-Arms that are around the chambers, that may be able to help you if you have a concern. Young Bae is over here, Jim Moran in the back by the door, Doug Harris is back here, and Joe Crook is over by this door.
So we appreciate that. One other thing is because we were about 15 minutes late in getting started because of the availability of the bill, and the explanation for the bill. We've gotten permission to extend that time by which we take the vote from 11:45 to 12. We may not need that, but I'm gonna do that in my discretion, so that hopefully we won't have to cut short public comment. That being said, are there questions from the committee for Representative Bishop, or I don't know if Representative Stam is still here? I don't know if the other sponsors are present, if they wanna come up. Representative Howard, or Steinburg, if they're in the room, but are there questions from the committee? Representative Richardson. >> Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well I have a question in the sense of, we just got this bill just before explanation started, there are a lot of statute that are listed in this bill, and I think it's very unfair to the committee to assess, to make an informed decision on this bill That seems to impact some things that we are not aware of, is it a possibility that we could be given at least five to 10 minutes to read this ourselves from front to back because right now listening to him and trying to read along with all these statutes I'm not sure of what it What it's really in this bill? >> Representative Richardson if you think five minutes we do it why not we give you the lesser of the time you requested and will be at ease for five minutes to get members to committee, they haven't seen this before chance to look at it. >> Thank you Mr. Chairman [BLANK_AUDIO] The committee will back in order are their further questions from the members of the committee Representative Warren I think I saw earlier that you had your hand up. >> Thank Mr Chair I want to be recognize at the time to make a motion. >> All right any other questions from members of the committee at this point. Seen none. We will go to public comment. The first public comment if you will go to the speaker in the back and use the mic and identify yourself and if you are with an agency or organisation On whose behalf you are speaking if you let us know that and our first speaker is Chris Scrow if I hope I didn't, is that okay? Two minutes each please, good morning my name is Chris Scrow I need. executive director of equality North Carolina. To state why LGBT advocacy organisation representing over 170,000 members and we have many of our allies with us here today. What Charlotte did is not unique for extreme. They are democratically elected city council overwhelmingly passed A protection ordinance for LGBT people. 200 plus cities across the nation have this protections all ready including Mattle Beach and Colombia, South Carolina. We are talking about other similar cities, not just New York and San Francisco. There have not been any public safety concerns in any of those cities for the decade Decades that these organs have been in place. That is a fact and facts matter, what is extreme is this special session the first since 1981 waisting $ 32000 tax payers dollars a day more that North Carolinas educators salary. What you are Doing here this ordinance is a best practice what this NSGA stands to do is a worst practice. Republicans in Tennessee and South Dakota have killed less sweeping bills because of the concerns that we have not had time to evaluate in the five minutes that we gave votes to digest This lengthy legislation. This would be the most sweeping anti LGBT bill in the nation we cannot allow state policy to be crafted or passed for political gain or out of factless fear my community deserves to be protected. Yes in restrooms And in restaurants, and in hotels, and in ability to hail a taxi. Those are common sense protections this session is not common sense. The eyes of North Carolina, our business community, my trans and gay brothers and sisters,
and the nation are focused on you here today. Please reject fear, my community safety, and facts must trump the proceed politics of this, vote against. >> Thank you Mr. Burk/g the next speaker is Chloe Jefferson if I'm getting that name correctly, Ms. Jefferson. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Hey, my name is Chloe, and I'm in my junior year at Greenville Christian Academy. When the Charlotte City Council passed their bathroom ordinance I was immediately fearful. I was fearful because if Charlotte can do something like that, what city would be next? My My own. Changing in front of my girl peers is already intimidating enough, the teen years are especially difficult with different body image perceptions, being pushed on us through social media, magazines, and Hollywood. We start to believe there's a certain way to look, and to not look. Now we add the possibility of males changing and showering alongside me. This is something that makes me and I'm sure other girls even more self conscious. Girls like me should never be forced to undress or shower in the presence of boys. I would imagine been born a boy, but thinking you're a girl is very scary and confusing, but being a teenage girl is confusing too. What about my right to privacy and wishes to not be exposed young males changing and showering beside me. I think everyone has the freedom to believe in what they want, but they shouldn't change laws for a small number of students that punish and single out the rest of us, that wouldn't be fair. Not only is this bathroom ordinates a problem from my privacy, but also a problem for my safety. I would no longer feel safe using the bathroom in public places knowing that a man could easily walk into the women's bathroom with no limitations, it completely frightening. Charlotte's bathroom ordinates allows men complete access to private places reserved for women. With this access there is no stopping what people may do, how can my parents possibly send me into a bathroom, a public bathroom knowing that a man could possibly be waiting for me. This ordinance would be used as a way to have access to unharmed girls in what should be a private setting. Charlotte is only the first city and if Governor Mccrory and the assembly do not fix what Charlotte has done I think others will follow it. I am not the only girl scared if Charlotte's ordinance has not changed. Everyone should be aware that it will be girls like me who are affected by Ordinances like Charlotte's. And we deserve protection. >> Thank you. And next speaker on our list is Sara Preston. [BLANK_AUDIO]. [BLANK_AUDIO]. Good morning. My name is Sara Preston. I'm the acting Executive Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. As an organisation that cares deeply about insuring equality for all North Carolinians, including lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals we're very concerned about this legislation. We all understand that this proposal came about because of an ordinance passed by Charlotte, this ordinance was not complicated it is a simple measure of design to protect all individuals in public accommodations including restaurants, bathrooms, hotels, transportation, and even accessing government services. I know that many people probably do not understand what it means to be transgender or identify with the sex other than the one that was assigned at birth, and that's okay. But the reality is that a transgender woman is a woman and a transgender man is a man living his life just like any other man. And he He should be able to access the men's restroom. These men and women should be able to expect fair and equal treatment from their governments, and in public accommodations. Instead half of the transgender individuals surveyed in the North Carolina recently reported being harassed in public accommodations, and 8% reported being assaulted. We are here today thinking about adding to that harassment, encouraging those assaults and violence, and we should do better for this community. If this body truly wants to consider a non-discrimination ordinance they must include gender identity. and sexual orientation. It is important that we protect all of the vulnerable communities in our state and not pick and choose which we want provide full accommodations to. Thank you. >> Our next speaker is, if I'm again, Eliana Smith. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Good morning Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I'm Kellie Fiedorek, and I am here to read the statement from Eliana Smith because she was unable to come here today.
She is in Charlotte and asked that I read her statement to all of you this morning. I'm Eliana Smith and I've lived here in Charlotte for eight years. I write to you today because I truly believe this Charlotte ordinates creates dangerous and vulnerable situations for women, children and men. I'm going to share something today that I never thought I would share publicly. But I feel is really necessary, due to the direction our city is going in. I was sexually assaulted as a young girl, and in the years that followed, I had a real fear of men hurting me. This fear followed me for a long time. I actually remember when I was searching for colleges And the thought of co-ed dorms making me incredibly nervous. I specifically picked a school where I knew girls would all be on the same floor, because I wanted to make sure my privacy as a women was protected. Thankfully I found healing and peace from the terrible pain that I experienced and I did come to realize that I could be safe again. And recent weeks the thought of what I experienced has come back to my mind as I watch the Charlotte City Council vote to allow biological males into women's bathroom, locker rooms and showers. I have serious concerns and anxiety that I my encounter a man in the bathroom. But more than the pain and nervousness, I feel because of what has happened to me in my life, I fear even more for my children. I have four young children and I never want any of them to go through the pain, the humiliation and the trauma I've suffered for years. How will I be able to go into the bathroom knowing that at any moment a man or someone pretending to be woman could walk in. I won't have peace about my little girl showering and Changing at the why where there very well could be a man in that room. In passing this ordinance the City Council ignored its obligation to protect all citizens of Charlotte and demonstrated that they really don't care about my concerns. Instead the City Council values and chose its political agenda over the safety, privacy and Common sense. Mr. Chairman I see I'm out of time, may I have a couple of seconds to finish my statement? I'll keep it short, thank you. My concerns and my fears are real and it's not right for anyone to discount them or for anyone to call me a bigot and a fear monger because I want to keep my family safe. As a victim of sexual abuse is very difficult to speak ever defend yourself, there's a fear especially the young girls that if you speak up, you or your family will pay somehow. The same fear returns in a different way and I ask you all today to pass this bill and I urge Governor McCorey to sign, and protect all citizens of this great state, thank you. >> Our Our next speaker, and let me say before I appreciate everybody's decorum, but at various points before we get through please remember that we don't have clapping or demonstrations of support pro or con, and you all are doing great making my job easy, but thought I'd remind you of that the next speaker is Angela Bridgman. >> [BLANK_AUDIO] Good morning, my name is Angela Bridgman I'm here representing my own self transgender person and a respected member of the North Carolina business community who moved the successful business to the states from the state of Pennsylvania I bring money from out of this state into the state and I'm asked to pay taxes to finance the discrimination which I face everyday as a transgender person now I am post operative, my birth certificate says female, my license is female this is not Not going to affect me but that's not what I'm here to talk about today what I'm here to talk about today is in 1998 I was denied a college education because I am a transgender person five days after Mathew Shepherd was killed in iii, I was told by my then college Sullivan College in Louisville Kentucky, that I was only be allowed to use male restrooms what would you all do I did the only thing I could I chose my safety, at five days after Matt Shepherd is killed I'm told that I have to put myself in a position where I'm probably going to be beat up or worse. I dropped out of college and I never went back I was denied a college Just because I'm transgender, I don't mean to be insensitive to some people that maybe have suffered sexual assault, and are fearful, but I have a right to be safe too, I have a right to be safe too, and I have a right to get a college education which was denied to me. I have the right and the more further point, this is not affect me now because i am in every way legally female. But nobody else should have to go through what I did. Nobody should have to make the kind of choice I had to make. Thank you. [BLANK_AUDIO] Our next speaker is John Amanchukwu [BLANK_AUDIO][SOUND]
>> I am John Amanchukwu executive director for the Upper Room christian academy. Well there's no such thing as right or wrong. Men is left with fraud, ideologies and philosophies. When virtues are smothered through party platforms, men becomes confident and legalizing anarchy. This orderness is the corrupt fruit of treason. It is an inside job from the hearts of traitors. Marcus Cicero said, a nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious, but it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner freely. His sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. He rots the soul of a nation. How do you spell traitor? How do you spell treason? Today, you spell it R-O-Y C-O-O-P-E-R. Once again, our attorney general is failing to stand up for the people of this great state. So today we reject and push back against neutrality for the voices thousands of boys and girls in our public or private schools, and the countless teachers and administrators. It's common sense that boys should go to the boys' room and girls should go to the girls' room. I believe that God got it right in Genesis 5 and 2 when he said that he created them male and And female. If God didn't give you access to a male or female bathroom via your anatomy neither should we give you access via the ordinates or legislation. According to the American Psychiatric Association as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their Biological sex after naturally passing through puberty. In my closing, allowing men to use women's bathrooms, showers and locker rooms puts both women and children in situations of grave danger. Evidence shows that bathrooms are one of the most turbulent places and with sexual assault and rape take place. This ordinance is a passive form Of child abuse. So we ask the General Assembly to send a clear message today to any other municipality that this kind of government overreach will not be tolerated. >> Our next speaker is Madeline L. Goss Thank you my name is Madeline Goss and I'm transgender, I'm a mother and a partner, and I'm a software engineer in Research Triangle Park. I grew up in Hickory, North Carolina and I love Hickory but I was bullied and tortured mercilessly there and where did it happen, it happened in the men's room, this place is a place of danger for me and what this bill would do is send me back there. I left Hickory for places that are safe like Charlotte and Rowley, I now live in Rowley and I am happy there, I'm happy with my partner and I'm happy with my nine year old daughter Sophia. I can't use Mens room, I wont go back to the mens room it is unsafe for me there people like me die there everyday not to say it freaks people out when I go to the mens room would you want to go to the mens room with me ? I don't think so. The point is this, these LGBT Tensions are common sense protections. They make places like Valley and Charlotte safe and welcome for people like me. They're not new, they're not unique and they're not radical. This place has already been passed in over 200 cities in the United States people aren't getting thrown in jail, people aren't getting rapped and murdered People are just going to the bathroom. That's all I'm asking is a safe place for me and people like me to go to the bathroom. Please vote no on this bill. >> Our next speaker is Teny Fitsjaw. [BLANK_AUDIO] Good afternoon members of the committee Charlotte's bathroom ordinance is unConstitutional and this is the first domino and other cities will follow if we don't stop what happened in And Charlotte. under North Carolina Constitution, cities only have those powers explicitly delegated to them by the State. Charlotte exceeded it's delegated powers by passing an ordinance that jeopardizes both the health and the safety of it's citizens. It creates loss that are not uniform process Making it harder to do business in Charlotte than other parts of the State thus hurts
business. It violates the right to earn a livelihood, free of government interference because of the business regulation it imposes. The Charlotte ordinance and fairly allows the government to over reach into the private Businesses and churches by forcing them to provide a service, promote ideas, participate in advance that conflict with their beliefs. This violates the first amendment as well as our own State's Constitution. If the General Assembly does not stand firm, a president will be set for municipalities, You saw power on any number of issues. Now because Roy Cooper has failed to do his job, we are looking to you and the governor to call this law on just and to overturn it. The Charlotte bathroom ordinance was heavily promoted by a convicted sex Offender, and we've said quite a bit about that, but this has actually happened in states where these laws are already in place. Sex offenders are using these laws to their advantage. In 2011 transvestite Thomas Lee Benson, a convicted sex offender for having sexual contact with the minor girl dressed as a woman so he can go into the women locker room at a swimming pool in Organ. They were young girls present in the locker room changing into their swim suits while Benson was inside. Previously he had dressed as a woman to enter another locker room in Portland Organ. Young girls were changing into their swim suits and that dress Dressing room too, we have presented over 35, 000 petitions to you and to the city of Charlotte to stop this ordinance and we would appreciate your action today. 66% of the people in the state think that ordinates should be overturned ans so we are looking to your leadership. Thank you so much for your time. Our next speaker is Tracy Holster [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Hello my name is Tracy Holster and I am with several organizations today, proudly a quality North Carolina . The UCLU of North Carolina and the human right campaign. And I'm here specifically to talk about provision one and to take a stand for my transgender brothers and sisters. Paul Sta earlier talked about consistency on this bill, consistency across the state but I wanna argue to View that this bill is inherently inconsistent. What is it inconsistent with? North Carolina values and common sense, treating people with respect as we wanna be treated, respecting local democratic processes and being champions of safety. And protection. We hear on the one hand fears of what happens when transgender people go to restrooms and we hear on the other hand a mountain of evidence of how dangerous it is, and how unsafe transgender people feel. I wanna ask the legislators here today by show of hands, how many of you personally know a transgender? >> We can't allow a show of hands on that, but you continue with your remarks please. >> I would submit to you that if you do not know a transgender person personally in your life, if you have not have not heard their story, like you've heard Mandy story and other stories, that you need to do your homework. And be transparent about what you understand and don't understand. Fortunately Bobby Richardson gave us five minutes. We need far more than five minutes to talk about a Bill like this. And this is not an emergency. Nothing really bad is gonna happen with people who are women go to women's restrooms and people who are men go to men's restrooms. I have a cousin who is trans-gender. He writes that he came out at age 19.He asked me to share this with you.After experiencing gender disphoria for years. And when he came out,he had a fear of public bathrooms, a lot of trans-gender people avoid bathrooms. The last thing they wanna do in a bathroom is to create any trouble. They just wanna relieve themselves like he would like to relieve me right now. >> Thank you. I will remind you to state your name as you start and if If you're with an agency, business or group, if you'll identify the group that you may be representing. The next speaker is John Western. [SOUND] >> Thank you Mr. Chairman , members of the committee, I am John Western President of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. As you've heard on February 22nd the Charlotte City Council approved
a set of highly controversial and hazardous ordinance changes, and we have three primary concerns. First these changes mean that men can enter women's restrooms, shower rooms, bath houses and similar facilities in any public accomodation in the city of Charlotte. Placing the privacy, safety and dignity of women, children, the elderly and others at great risk. The city's extremely broad definition of public accommodation means these new ordinates would apply to essentially any business or organisation in the city that provides any goods or services. And please keep in mind there is no exception, there is no exception for churches, church schools and church related ministries. Secondly many citizens have sincere religious beliefs that inform the way they live their lives and operate their businesses. Similar ordinances in other States have been used to force all business owners such as First bakers, photographers, bed and breakfast owners and others to either conform to a government dictated view points and violations of those sincerely held religious beliefs or to face legal challenges, fines and other penalties that ultimately caused some to go out of business the city of Charlotte should not be authorized Us to impose such an unConstitutional mandate as a condition of doing business and thirdly Charlotte far exceeded its authority when it passed these ordinance changes. Cities and Counties in North Carolina derive their full extent of their authority only from the State Constitution and acts that are passed in this General Assembly . The North Caroline General Assembly has It has granted neither the city of Charlotte nor any other city or county in the State the authority to do what Charlotte has done if these ordnance changes are allowed to stand they will serve as precedent in other city and county governments to undermine proper governmental authority in North Carolina and to create a patch work of desperate ordnances across Of the state. For this reasons we applaud you for the considering the legislation that you are today and we ask that you support it. Thank you. >> We have now consumed about 25 to 26 minutes of the alluded public comment time. So we're gonna take two more speakers from each side. The next speaker will be Vivian Taylor [BLANK_AUDIO]. >> Hello, my name is Vivian Taylor. I am here today representing the organisation Bill Bright loud . It's a christian organisation. But I'm also here representing And in myself. I am an elleveth generation North Carolina. My family has been here since our ancestor Kenshin Penington was given a piece of land as a payment of his service in the revolution. I graduated from North Carolina's public schools, I served in the war in Iraq with the North Carolina national guard I'm a transgender woman. These protections that Charlotte passed are common sense. Transgender folks face incredible amounts of violence and these protections just do the basic moral job Of looking out for people and keeping them safe. You can look in all the other cities that have passed similar protections and you can see there have not been issues. There has not been violence. We are North Carolina. We are one of the greatest states, we are the greatest state in this union and we can do better. Than giving into fears. We can protect everyone. I love this state and because of that I call on you to reject this bill. Thank you very much. >> Our next and final speaker is Heather Garofalo, I believe. [BLANK_AUDIO] Good afternoon. My name is Heather Garofalo, I'm a small business owner servicing Charlotte. I'm a mom of three children. I have many friends and family in the LGBT community, and I love them. Every free American business private owner in North Carolina should be free to live and work according to their views without fear of being punished unjustly by the government. In 2015 the future/g trust organisation identified the top ten states for job growth. eight out of ten of these states did not contain stable Height non-discriminational ordinances. With language, with sexual orientation and gender identity. Charlotte is a beautiful city because of its diversity. There are many different world views in world religions. There is strength in diversity. True quality means that everyone is free to speak their peace without the fear of being silenced or punished. I'm pleased to report today. Not one single case as been filed by the ACLU alleging that an individual or organisation as discriminated against our friends in the LGBT
community here in Charlotte. As a business owner I fear the un-intended consequences of this ordinance. The negative impact on labor, trading, commerce as I service many cities in the states there will be inconsistency, lack of uniformity. For small and large business owners like myself we would be forced to check our deepest health beliefs at the door or suffer fines of $ 500, jail term, law suits. I'm asking for a right to provide for my family also Also business owners across the state will be forced to cancel their contracts, the city will cancel contracts in just nine days. Canceled contracts means a loss of revenue, a loss of revenue could mean tens of thousands of jobs laid off in North Carolina this could mean trouble financially for many families in this 2016 election year. I am equally concerned of the mum of three that this ordinates violates the safety and privacy of every child in North Carolina. I'm not fearful of my transgender friends, I'm fearful of all the sexual offenders that are here. If you put a sweet transgender child and you move them from one restroom to the next that's not going to take care of their con-fears, insurance and desire to be accepted. That actually gonna subject them to being, sorry, >>Okay thank you, for all the comments. Now will get back to the committee, are there further comments or question for members of the committee? Representative Hamilton. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Excuse me, I'm a woman of color, and you all have not heard from a single woman of color today. >> Are there members of the committee that have questions or wish to speak on the bill?Representative Hamilton>>Thank you Mr.chairman if I may I have several questions I have a series of questions If i can just get started. >> To whom do you wanna address this rhetorical? >> No, I would like some answers to them- >> Representative Stein and Representative Bishop you all wanna step up to the poduim will let you humble this, >> Thank gentlemen, thank you Mr. Chairman and all staff as well, okay My first question is related to the change in the third section from just a simple reference to sex, changing it as biological sex. The question is if a gender change operation has taken place, There new sex say a female has had a sex change operation to become a male.It's that considered his biological sex? >> It is according to the definition in the statute. It says biological sex is sex according to the birth certificate. >> And they can have the birth certificates changed? >> And their birth certificates can be changed. Thank you. My second question is really related to the contract portions of the Bills, sections two and three. The focus has been from the media stand point and from the public stand point just on the bathrooms as it relates to the Charlotte Ordinance. But what concerns me about this Bill is that we have expanded the conversation and now we're diving into The city's and county's ability to contract with private vendors. My first question is how will minority women in business owned entities be impacted by the changes in the statute or will they be affected in any way. >> Well may I, Mr. Chairman? >> Yes. >> I think there are three parts to that. I would not agree with your premise that it affects their ability to contract, they certainly can contract. What your question goes to is frankly one of the more egregious aspect of the overreach that is involved here which is in a particular locality That has purported to impose employment or selling practices on a business with whom they will contract whoever's gonna bid for their jobs. They reach well beyond the limits of their city to impose whatever their notions are on folks across the state and even out of the state So it illustrates one way in which is particularly problematic. However, to the other point that you've asked or to the rest of it, if you will look in Chapter 143, and I'd get you a reference,
but there already is a comprehensive set of rules concerning non-discrimination in contracting on all the suspects and question/g our suspect classes and requirement for programs setting goals for the utilization of minority and women business enterprises >> Thank you, Representative. But not the question >> Further question representative Hamilton? >> Yes, thank you very much. As it relates to private cooperation, it's my understanding there are number of private cooperations inside and outside of North Carolina that already have rules and regulations. That address the use of bathrooms in their cooperate buildings. Does this in any way deny a private cooperation from being able to enforce rules that are quite honestly very similar to the rules that Charlotte hopes to impose on 1st April? >> Mr. Chairman may I respond. Thank you Thank you for the question representative it gives me an opportunity to emphasize again that our legislation does not impair in any respect private businesses ability to accommodate issues like that in a manner they see fit. >> Follow up Mr. Chairman, so it only restricts a government's ability from having Laws or rules in place that are similar to rules that many of our nations corporations are adopting across the country. >> Well it preempts the ability of localities to adopt laws in this area. >> And if a state were contracting? Follow up, last followup. >> Last followup and then I need to let some others so we can finish - >> I understand If we have time. >> Thank you representative Blackwell. If in that scenario say the city of Wilmington wants a contract with a private entity that has these rules and regulations in place will not be precluded from doing so? >> That's correct, the only restriction is imposing mandates or requirements on business. It wouldn't in any way prevent a business from having those requirements if they choose to. >> Thank you Mr. Chairman. Final question and it's probably a staff question. It's very short, I'd like to request a fiscal note on this issue based on the comments that were made a few minutes ago by one of One of our presenters that there will be certain contracts that city of Charlotte and maybe others would have to break, if you will. This could cost jobs, it could cost public money and I'd like to ask staff to put that together for us. >> Representative Bishop. >> One thing I have to say about that the premise of that is not accurate. That is to say the bill doesn't require anybody to break any contract. It takes effect only with respect to contracts entered to in the future. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Representative Richardson we got your name next. >> Thank you Mr. Chairman, I'm concerned about page five where the investigations is going to be done by the department of administration. If I recall correctly we defunded that human resource department in our budget last year. Do we plan to go back that and fund that department so that we will You will have staff there. >> I think the premise of the question is inaccurate but I will defer it to Representative Dollar. That is to say I think there may have been some discussions about that, but I don't think it occurred in the last session. >> The budget is sufficient to accommodate the bill and I will also note with respect to a fiscal note. I believe fiscal notes are restricted to things that impact the states budget. And I see nothing in this bill with the senior budget Chair that in any way impacts the finances of the state. >> Follow up Mr Chair. >> Representative Richardson. >> Following representative's Dollar's comments when we advertise for federal money we have to put a disclosure there that we do not discriminate. So does that mean we lose federal dollars if that clause is not there based on the information that you're putting here? Representative Bishop or Stam you wanna respond to that? >> I'll do it Mr.Chairman. There's no change at all with respect to State policy of non discrimination. That is to say and I made reference to the sections in Chapter 143 that specify non discrimination policy in contracting. And We've always had the 1976 statement with respect to employment discrimination. That]s been there for a long time. There is no change at all to respect to that, that's why I can't
imagine that it would have the effect that you ask about. >> Thank you one last question. >> Richardson. >> Thank you Mr Charmin when we stated that Chapter 168A covers handicap? >> Yes Ma'am. >> Can we not add that to these bills so that there will be total clarity here, and we would not have to flip flop from different documents? >> Well let me say two things if I might to that for in the first instance the The Chapter 168A that furnishes protections from disability discrimination is actually referenced here. The public accommodations definition comes from that Chapter. And lt me try to explain what the court of appeals held in the parallel situation and why I say that would Possibly form confusion, possibly cause plaintiffs in the future to forfeit rights if the otherwise would have under law. Under the parallel statement of public policy concerning employment discrimination practices, it merely says that the state of North Carolina declares to be against public policy for the employment discrimination based on race,color, age, national origin, sex and handicapped. But the other statute is much more comprehensive there was a case in 2015 in which the court of appeals considered a Explain that someone brought under that general public policy statement. And because they brought it under that, and they did not bring it under the disability statute, the court said there's no private claim for relief created here. They have no right to reasonable accommodation under that statute. So I suggest to you that having handicap mentioned here is a trap for the unwary if a lawyer doesn't happen to know the difference between the two statutes, and inadvertently brings it the wrong place. The protection is comprehensive under the disability Chapter and to mention it here merely for the sake of window dressing if you will would actually hurt people rather than help them. >> I thank you for your comment, but it was confusing cuz in one sense you said that the attorney, if he wasn't aware of 168 A would probably lose his case, but then you're saying it was put here for window dressing but thank you anyway for your comment. >> Are there further questions or comments from the members of the committee? I am not seeing Seeing a need in the absence of any further comments or questions from the committee is [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Mr.Chairman, excuse me. Mr. Chairman, excuse me. there is one more comment may I make there >> Okay will go back to representative Richardson >> I am sorry and this is a reference to State with a stalemate.I live in Franklin county and I certainly hope that my elected officials would be able to set part policies, and procedures, and practices that would be unique to Franklin county. And anybody coming in that county from other counties would not feel that they cannot Not with here. I just can't see us having uniform practices and policies of 100 counties when we don't have similar resources, we don't have similar needs, we don't have similar economic development and I just wanted to comment on that statement. >> Thank you representative Rachel, representative while you recognized from Promotion. >> Thank you Mr. Chair, I would like to make a motion for a favorable report to a house Bill two to the floor. >> Okay, all those in favor will signify by saying Aye. >> Aye. >> Opposed, No. The Ayes have it, and the motion is adopted. The House will reconvene at 12:15, and the committee is adjourned. [BLANK_AUDIO]