On March 23, 2016, during a Special Session of the Legislature, I co-sponsored and voted for the passage of House Bill 2. This bill blocked the Charlotte City Council ordinance allowing persons to use the bathroom of their choice based upon which sex that person felt like they were. The Charlotte ordinance disregarded the privacy of the majority of North Carolina citizens. If you listen to the national media, the Legislature had all kinds of “bad” motives and this bill will cost the state billions of dollars in Title IX funds. That is just not true. Title IX provides that “[a] recipient may provide separate toilet, locker room and shower facilities on the basis of sex,” just as did this Bill. 34 C.F.R. 106.33.
You must remember that this is the “political season.” A lot, if not most, of what you hear from the national media is pushing one party over the other. For that reason, I am providing a brief summary of the part of House Bill 2 enacted to rectify the problems with the Charlotte ordinance.
Section 1.3 amends our statutes by adding Article 81, requiring public agencies to establish single-sex multiple occupancy bathroom and changing facilities for use by persons based on their biological sex. In subsection (a): (1) biological sex is defined as being male or female as stated on a person’s birth certificate; (2) executive branch agency is defined as all agencies, boards, offices, departments and institutions of the executive branch, including the University and Community College system; (3) multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility is defined as a facility used by more than one person where persons may be in various states of undress, such as restrooms, locker rooms, or showers; (4) public agency is defined as executive branch agencies, Council of State agencies, units of local government and public authorities as defined in the local government budget and fiscal control act (GS 159-7(b)(15), (10)), local boards of education, the judicial and legislative branches, and any other political subdivisions of the state; and (5) single occupancy bathroom or changing facility is defined as a facility defined or designated to be used by only one person at a time. Subsection (b) directs all public agencies to require all multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facilities be designated for and used by persons based on their biological sex. Subsection (c) authorizes public agencies to provided accommodations such as single-occupancy bathrooms due to special circumstances, but prohibits an accommodation that would allow a person to use a multiple-occupancy bathroom or changing facility designated for the opposite sex. Subsection (d) sets out five exceptions to the statue which would allow access to multiple-occupancy bathroom and changing facilities by members of the opposite sex for the following purposes: (1) custodial, (2) maintenance or inspection, (3) medical assistance, (4) accompanying a person needing assistance, and (5) when a facility has been temporarily designated for use by that person’s biological sex.
Eleven House Democrats voted with the Republicans for what was right, and the Governor signed the bill. The bill has no effect on the bathrooms of North Carolina businesses, which can arrange their bathrooms and locker rooms however those businesses may choose. The patrons of a business can then decide for themselves whether they want to continue to support that business.
Please feel free to contact my Raleigh office at [email protected] or 919-715-8361 with any questions you may have regarding House Bill 2.
Lee Zachary, from Yadkinville, is the NC House Representative for District 73.