North Carolina faces more threats to federal money over HB2

North Carolina faces more threats to federal money over HB2

CHARLOTTE, NC (Ames Alexander/The Charlotte Observ - North Carolina is facing additional threats to its federal funding as two more agencies – the U.S. Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development – say they are reviewing the state's controversial House Bill 2.

Earlier this week, U.S. Justice Department officials told Gov. Pat McCrory that the law – which preempted Charlotte's anti-discrimination ordinance – violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX, which bars discrimination in education based on sex. That could jeopardize billions in federal education funding.

In response to questions from the Observer Thursday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Transportation wrote that the agency is reviewing House Bill 2 "to determine if, among other things, it violates non-discrimination grant provisions for DOT federally-assisted projects."

The federal DOT provides about $1 billion a year to North Carolina.

HUD has also been examining House Bill 2 for more than a month. On Thursday, a spokesperson confirmed that HUD continues to review the law.

HUD provides millions in grants each year to North Carolina and its cities. In 2012, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced new regulations designed to ensure that the agency's core housing programs are open to all who are eligible, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly passed HB2 in March in response to Charlotte's extension of its anti-discrimination ordinance.

That ordinance would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify and would have extended anti-discrimination protections to LGBT residents. HB2 preempted that ordinance, requiring people to use bathrooms in government buildings that match what's on their birth certificate.

The justice department gave state officials until Monday to respond "by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2."

Republican state leaders have said they're in no hurry to meet that deadline. House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday that legislators won't meet the deadline.

A spokesman for McCrory said the governor does plan to have a response by Monday's deadline, but he did not offer further details.

A justice department official, who asked not to be named, told the Observer Thursday that the agency prefers to seek voluntary compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws. But if necessary, the official said, the department can seek a court order.