RALEIGH, N.C.—In another development in the federal court clash over House Bill 2 (HB2), Gov. Pat McCrory has filed a memorandum invoking legislative privilege for himself, Sen. Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, the Department of Public Safety, and the state itself. The document claims that the aforementioned are immune from investigation and liability because their role in passing the discriminatory law is protected, since doing so was a part of their duties as legislators.
Legislative privilege is an established defense in voter-ID-law controversies, as it protects legislators from having to release communications and documents that might interfere with the legislative process. However, critics say its use in this case is questionable. ACLU-NC Legal Director Chris Brook had a few choice words:
“North Carolinians deserve to know why their legislators called an emergency session to enact such a discriminatory and disastrous law,” Brook asserted. “It’s disgraceful that the lawmakers defending HB2 in court refuse to answer questions about why they passed it in the first place.”
As the state government continues to impede the federal court case concerning the law, the contrast between North Carolina state government and the federal government grows stronger by the day. Nowhere is this more apparent than at military bases in North Carolina, which this month are effecting new protocols regarding accommodations for transgender service members.
It was only this past June that the Department of Defense lifted the ban on transgender service members in the military. Now, with more on-base protections and protocols for these members, there remains some question about how they will be treated once they step off the base and onto state land.
“The moment they step off the military installation, you’ve got the discriminatory language of HB2,” N.C. Rep. Grier Martin (D-Wake), also a veteran, told NC Policy Watch. “They could leave the base and go to a restaurant… and be denied service while they are serving their country.”
The conflicts between North Carolina’s state government and the federal government are ongoing in federal court. In the meantime, citizens are nearing election day, and the need to fully understand the meaning of your ballot is ever more important. Many of the legislators responsible for passing HB2 are up for re-election. qnotes urges readers to research their candidates and make educated voting choices.