NC House’s New “Bathroom Bill”

One commenter has sarcastically labeled them the N.C. House of Representatives’ new “bathroom bill.” He’s referring to the new state House procedural rules, which permit a veto override vote to be called by the House Speaker at any time, with no notice to the public or minority legislators. 

In his article, NC Policy Watch writer Rob Schofield was harking back to the state’s infamous anti-transgender-rights legislation of a few years back. The bill included state rules on who could use which public restrooms and was therefore dubbed the “bathroom bill.” Schofield’s point was that any time even one Democrat is away due to a health or family emergency—or has even stepped out of the chamber to use the restroom at a time when all Republicans are present—the Speaker could call a snap vote and override any veto issued by Gov. Roy Cooper. 

This would mean that the pro-polluter majority could enact sweeping retreats on environmental policy over Cooper’s veto, even though they failed to win a veto-overriding “supermajority” in the House last fall. A number of such retreats became law during the term of former Gov. Pat McCrory, and continued during the first two years of Gov. Cooper’s first term, but have been held at bay for the past four years. That environmental stay of execution is at renewed risk this legislative session. 

The no-warning override rules have already been adopted as “temporary” rules, with a vote on permanent rules to take place early in February. House Democratic leader Robert Reives said the rule change is unfair both to House members and the concerned public, who won’t know when votes are imminent: “This ends up circumventing a lot of the processes we have in place for public notice.”

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