• Does HB142 Really Protect Women Like HB2 Did?

    Isaac Burke - April 13, 2017


    Under HB2, the man who was found in the women’s bathroom at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) last week could have been charged with second degree trespassing (a Class 3 misdemeanor). HB2 clearly mandated that multiple-occupancy bathrooms in public agencies “be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex.” However, with HB2 repealed, it’s much harder now to find anything illegal with a man using the women’s bathroom at a community college like CPCC.

    One of the biggest problems with HB142 (besides the fact that it repealed HB2, which I believe was a commonsense law), is that it actually preempts community colleges like CPCC from regulating access to multiple-occupancy bathrooms. Part of the new law reads:

    State agencies, boards, offices, departments, institutions, branches of government, including The University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College System, and political subdivisions of the State, including local boards of education, are preempted from regulation of access to multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities, except in accordance with an act of the General Assembly. [Emphasis added]

    Taken at face value, HB142 would prohibit community colleges from regulating access to multiple-occupancy bathrooms at all, even based on biological sex. So can a community college tell men that they are not allowed to use the women’s restroom? Apparently not, unless there exists some state law which gives them the authority to do so.

    Of course, this would not be a problem if the State of North Carolina had an acceptable bathroom law with which community colleges could comply. But with HB2 repealed, I have not been able to find any such law on the books. It seems that the General Assembly (NCGA) has reserved to itself the exclusive right of regulating community college bathrooms, while at the same time refusing to regulate them.

    Essentially, the NCGA’s only bathroom rule is that they alone can make the rules. How that protects the women of this state is beyond me.