In case you missed it, there were a couple of good bills introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly yesterday. It gets overwhelming focusing on the negative all the time, so we want to highlight positive steps forward when we can.
There were two bills introduced yesterday supporting a full repeal of HB2. House Bill 82 was filed by 15 Democrats in the NCGA House and Senate (names are listed in link). House Bill 78 was filed by Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford). Both bills add statewide nondiscrimination protections for a variety of groups, including sexual orientation, gender identity, military veteran status and other categories.
These protections include removing discrimination on buying a home, renting a home, obtaining a loan, and it makes it unlawful if any part of one’s intent is based on discrimination. A finer, but important point is that it changes wording from “of a particular race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicapping condition, or familial” to “of a protected status,” which is more inclusive. It changes employment discrimination practice to “protected status” and states any business with” one or more employees” from “15 or more.” and removes discrimination for State employees and provides for a method of recourse if retaliation is present. Both bills also allow for use of public facilities by all citizens without separate facilities according to gender identity.
Why two bills? Brockman’s bill includes tougher penalties for sex crimes committed in bathrooms and locker rooms in order to try and find common ground with NCGA Republicans who need to support this effort.
We also want to highlight an interesting national bill introduced in the House of Representatives in early January by Rep. Alcee Hastings from Florida’s 20th district. H.R.166 is the “Outpatient Mental Health Modernization Act of 2017” that deals with “discrimination against the chronically mentally ill, elderly, and United States veterans as it relates to receiving treatment for mental illness.” It’s made it’s way out of Ways and Means and is now in the HELP committee, increasing the likelihood it gets a vote.