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Proposed legislation discourages nonessential state travel to North Carolina

May 5, 2016
Democratic Newsroom

State Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) and State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) this week introduced a resolution urging all state employees and officials to refrain from engaging in nonessential official state travel to North Carolina. The resolution comes in response to the passage of the controversial bathroom access law in North Carolina that critics, and now the U.S. Department of Justice, say allows discrimination against LGBT individuals.

“This resolution sends a strong message that Buckeyes stand for fairness and equality and against irrational prescriptions for fear and intolerance,” said Boggs. “I believe all people have a fundamental and inherent right to be themselves without government intrusion and unfair barriers in everyday life.”

In March, the North Carolina state legislature passed legislation to ban transgender individuals from using the bathrooms appropriate for their gender. The bathroom ban law also prohibits cities and other political subdivisions in North Carolina from passing anti-discrimination ordinances that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. 

“Instead of treating people fairly and equally, far-right activists are hijacking state laws to foster an environment of exclusion and rejection,” Antonio said. “Our nation was built on a belief in equal opportunity, not a foundation of fear and division that makes it harder for some Americans to find meaningful work and sustain a family.”

The House Resolution proposes that the “policies of the State of Ohio should align with the state’s values of inclusiveness and equality for all,” and it urges states employees to avoid traveling to the Tarheel state until the bathroom ban law is repealed or amended to allow towns and cities to enact local nondiscrimination laws that protect equality for LGBT individuals.

If passed, Ohio would join at least four states and numerous cities, including Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton that have already taken the initiative to introduce similar travel bans. The backlash from the private sector has been real too. North Carolina is already experiencing the detrimental economic impact of the new law with major entertainers cancelling events and prominent businesses ending plans to create jobs and expand.

This week, the United States Department of Justice informed North Carolina officials that The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX. If the finding is upheld, the state could lose hundreds of millions in federal education funding and face federal lawsuits.

An Ohio Republican legislator has promised to file a bill similar to North Carolina’s new law.