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N.C. Repeals ‘Bathroom Bill,’ Pre-Empts Local Employment Laws

April 3, 2017


Allen Smith

March 31, 2017-

After one controversial year on the books, North Carolina’s H.B. 2—requiring transgender individuals to use the bathroom in public buildings that matches the gender indicated on their birth certificates—has been repealed. Both the state House and Senate voted to overturn the law on March 30 and Gov. Roy Cooper (D) quickly signed the bill that undoes the measure.

But the bill that rolled back H.B. 2 was a compromise: H.B. 142 now pre-empts all localities from enacting or amending employment law legislation of any kind through Dec. 1, 2020. This pre-emption is not limited to barring local bathroom access statutes or laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, but extends to local minimum-wage laws and ban-the-box ordinances, and “the list goes on,” noted Jonathan A. Segal, an attorney with Duane Morris in Philadelphia and New York City. Existing ordinances would not go away, in his opinion, but North Carolina jurisdictions would not be able to pass new employment law ordinances until this pre-emption provision sunsets at the end of 2020.

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