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Friday, March 04, 2016

Of penises and potties

by Tom Sullivan

Prior to Donald Trump boasting to allies and enemies alike last night about the size of his penis, this dropped into the in-box from the Speaker of the House of (what Charlie Pierce calls) the newly insane state of North Carolina (emphasis mine):
Subject: Press Release: North Carolina House Calls for Special Session to Address Charlotte Restroom Ordinance
Rep. Tim Moore
Speaker of the House

                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              Contact: Mollie Young
                  Thursday – March 3, 2015                                                                                         919-733-5917

North Carolina House Calls for Special Session
to Address Charlotte Restroom Ordinance

Raleigh, N.C. – Today Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) announced he has received requests from more than three-fifths of House members to call a special session to address the Charlotte City Council’s recently passed ordinance affecting the safety and privacy of people using restrooms.

“The vast majority of my fellow colleagues in the House and I believe the ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council poses an imminent threat to public safety.  We believe it prudent to consider immediate action because the Charlotte City Council decided to make its ordinance effective prior to the convening of our short session.  We understand that special sessions have a cost, but the North Carolina House is unwilling to put a price tag on public safety,” said Speaker Moore on Thursday.


16 West Jones Street | Room 2304 | Raleigh, NC 27601

What that's about:
North Carolina state legislators are vowing to reverse a new law in Charlotte that aims to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents against discrimination from businesses.

In a 7-4 vote Monday [Feb. 22], the City Council of Charlotte approved broad civil rights protections for LGBT people, including prohibiting businesses from discriminating against LGBT patrons. The law also allows transgender customers to use the bathroom of their choice, a measure conservative state politicians have taken issue with.


Conservative lawmakers say that allowing transgender patrons to use the bathrooms that correlate to their gender identities could create possible dangers for other customers.
Yes, you read that right. And yes, they're serious.

It is time once again for conservatives to break out the big, culture war guns. Republicans mean to hang onto control of the legislature and Pat McCrory's weakened governorship by any means necessary. They have already implemented some of the most egregious voting restrictions in the country, including voter ID, attempts to roll back same-day registration, opening the polls at 10 a.m. during a shortened early voting period, and surgically redistricting the state (although federal courts overturned the congressional redistricting just weeks ago). Republicans must feel they need a little more of an edge.

In Detroit last night, it was penises. In Raleigh, it was potties. The reporting from WRAL begins:
Top lawmakers say they are poised to return to Raleigh in order to invalidate Charlotte's transgender nondiscrimination ordinance if Attorney General Roy Cooper doesn't act to derail it.
Guess who Democrats are likely to run for governor against Pat McCrory? Hint: His initials are RC.

In 2012 (the last presidential election year, curiously enough), Republicans in North Carolina's legislature placed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the primary ballot. Voters approved it. Only a deal in the legislature prevented them from placing the emotionally charged measure on the fall ballot. Last June's U.S. Supreme Court ruling nullified it.

Early voting for the March 15 primary began yesterday and already I am receiving complaints about confusion at the local polls. "This in the first election when all the complexities of the ID are in full force, and it's a very complex law," Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, told poll watchers in-training. To add to the confusion, not all of the law's provisions are in force for the primary. Some have been stayed in the courts. The February federal court ruling forcing the state to redraw its congressional districts has postponed the congressional primaries until June. I went from residing in NC-11 in 2010 to NC-10 in 2011 and back to NC-11 as of two weeks ago. Pending court approval of the redrawn maps.