Aug 16, 2023 - Politics & Policy

N.C. GOP overrides vetoes on trans rights, other controversial issues

Illustration of the North Carolina Legislative Building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

North Carolina Republicans overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes on a slew of controversial bills Wednesday, once again flexing their strength as a supermajority in the state legislature.

Driving the news: Over Democrats' objections, both the Senate and the House ushered into law seven bills that will implement major changes to state education laws, the rights of LGBTQ North Carolinians, homebuilding regulations and state election law.

Between the lines: Lawmakers reconvened for the first time in weeks to take up the legislation, but have yet to pass a two-year spending package, which is now a month and a half overdue.

  • Republican legislative leaders are still negotiating what to include in the budget, with no end date in sight, subjecting them to criticism from Democrats who say Republicans are prioritizing controversial issues instead of funding public schools and pay raises for state employees.

The seven big changes that are now law:

Fairness in Women's Sports Act:' Transgender women and girls are banned from playing on womens' sports teams from middle school to college.

Parents' Bill of Rights: Parents' right to information about their child's education, physical health and mental health are now enumerated in state law.

  • Among the most controversial measures included is a requirement that educators inform parents if their child has changed their name or pronouns at school.
  • The now-law also bans schools from incorporating "gender identity, sexual activity or sexuality" into curriculum for kindergarten through 4th grade students.

Charter school governance: The State Board of Education will no longer approve charter schools, as that authority has shifted to a new Charter School Review Board.

Gender transition treatment for minors is now outlawed, and providers who do so anyway can face penalties.

Charter schools: Lawmakers made numerous changes to state law as it applies to charter schools.

Home building regulations: Lawmakers made a host of changes to home-building laws, including one that will stymie a years-long effort to make homes more energy efficient, the News & Observer reported.

  • It does so by preventing the state Building Code Council from changing state regulations that address energy, fuel gas or mechanical in construction, according to the N&O.
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