RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on disagreements over a North Carolina law that restricts transgender people to public restrooms aligned with their biological sex and prevents governments from passing their own anti-discrimination rules (all times local):
North Carolina’s prized public universities risk losing more than $1.4 billion a year in federal funds if Republican state lawmakers don’t change a new law limiting the rights of LGBT people.
The U.S. Justice Department wants University of North Carolina officials to say by Monday that transgender people can use UNC restrooms aligning with their gender identity. The government says the universities and other state agencies are violating federal anti-discrimination laws.
UNC President Margaret Spellings has said that while public universities would comply with the law, she hopes legislators change it.
The former law school dean at nearby Duke University, Katharine Bartlett, says the potential loss of this federal money means Washington is holding a very big stick.
But Dorie Nolt, a federal Education Department spokeswoman, says every Title IX enforcement case in the past decade has been settled before any funds were taken away.
The mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, has met privately with state legislative leaders about her differences with them over a state law blocking her city from enforcing anti-discrimination rules for LGBT people at restaurants, hotels and retail stores.
Mayor Jennifer Roberts met Thursday with House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger for about an hour at the Legislative Building in Raleigh. The law — a response to Charlotte’s ordinance in February — prevents any local government from passing similar regulations and tells transgender people to use public restrooms aligned with the sex on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.
Gay-rights groups, business leaders, sports figures and entertainers have criticized the law and want it repealed.
Roberts said they had a productive discussion and that she looks forward to more dialogue. Berger made a similar comment. Moore said House Republicans haven’t changed in their commitment to keep the law in place.
North Carolina’s Republican leaders are calling a federal warning about the legality of the state’s new law limiting LGBT anti-discrimination rules a broad overreach by the government.
The Justice Department sent letters Wednesday to Gov. Pat McCrory, the head of the University of North Carolina system and another agency saying federal officials view the law known as House Bill 2 as violating federal Civil Rights Act protections.
McCrory and state legislative leaders are deciding what to do in response, but it doesn’t sound like the Republicans’ plans will include canceling the law.
The Justice Department wants state officials to declare they won’t carry out the law and allow people to access bathrooms and other facilities “consistent with their gender identity.”
McCrory and fellow Republicans say President Barack Obama’s administration has gone too far by stepping in.
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