McCrory says he will respond to feds on House Bill 2 by deadline

McCrory says he will respond to feds on House Bill 2 by deadline

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) - Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday that he will respond to the United States Department of Justice on the challenge to House Bill 2 by the federal deadline of Monday.

McCrory's comments differed from those of House Speaker Tim Moore, who said earlier Thursday that the state would not meet that deadline.

The Department of Justice has sent a letter to McCrory saying North Carolina's House Bill 2 violates federal civil rights laws.

The Justice Department said state officials must confirm by Monday that they will not comply with or implement the law called House Bill 2, according to a copy of the letter obtained by WBTV.

"Of course, it was a very tight deadline, which is frankly unreasonable," Moore said. "With all candor, with all due respect, we think the Obama Administration is playing politics with us. The legislative process doesn't work where a response can be given in a few days."

The letter asks the state to respond by Monday at the close of business whether it intends to remedy what it says are violations of Title VII. The DOJ said it also sent similar letters to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina.

"We don't ever want to lose any money," Moore said. "But we will not be bullied by the Obama Administration to take action prior to Monday's date."

Senate Pro Tempore Phil Berger said the DOJ's actions would not impact raises for teachers.

"They go off on a tangent like this and push radical social engineering," Berger said.

Attorney General Roy Cooper on Thursday again called for the repeal of House Bill 2.

"Enough is enough," Cooper said. "We have billions of dollars of our education funds at risk, for us to be losing jobs, hurting everyday working people. I think it's wrong and I think it's time to take action."

And Rep. Darren Jackson, a Democrat from Wake County, said, "Everything that we're trying to do this year about moving education forward and improving teacher pay and lowering class size, it would make all that, it would be a wash."

The DOJ letter did not address the entire scope of House Bill 2 but addressed the issue of transgender bathrooms.

The letter said, "Specifically, the State is engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees and both you, in your official capacity, and the State are engaging in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of Title VII rights by transgender employees of public agencies."

The letter said "access to sex-segregated restrooms … consistent with gender identity is a term, condition, or privilege of employment."

The letter said the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had addressed this issue and found that denying transgender people access to bathrooms consistent with their gender identity was a violation of Title VII.

If North Carolina is found to be in violation, that could impact millions of dollars in education funding. State Sen. Dan Blue, a Democrat, said it could impact $4.5 billion in funding.

McCrory said the state is reviewing the letter, and stressed that it only impacts the section on bathrooms in public buildings.