With new supermajority, North Carolina Republicans file bills aimed at transgender people

Legislature North Carolina
North Carolina state Rep. Tricia Cotham announces she is switching affiliation to the Republican Party at a news conference Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters in Raleigh, N.C. The change gives Republican state legislators a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum) Hannah Schoenbaum/AP

With new supermajority, North Carolina Republicans file bills aimed at transgender people

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Fresh off securing a supermajority in both state legislature chambers, Republican lawmakers in North Carolina wasted no time in filing legislation they have long sought to pass.

State Republicans filed several bills on Wednesday, but arguably the most notable ones surround contentious topics firmly in the national spotlight: the rights of high school transgender student-athletes to play on the sports team of the gender in which they identify, and the rights of transgender youth to receive the healthcare they desire.

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The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act and the School Athletic Transparency Bill are designed to ban transgender females from playing on female high school sports teams. “Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex,” the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act states.

The School Athletic Transparency Bill further cements the position of the state Republican lawmakers. “Sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

Perhaps the most impactful piece of legislation passed on Wednesday was the Youth Health Protection Act, which prevents transgender youth from receiving puberty blockers or certain surgeries such as a mastectomy or the removal of healthy or non-diseased body parts or tissue.

The Senate deadline to file bills for the year is Thursday, per WRAL, adding to the significance of Wednesday’s actions, specifically by one legislator. The House deadline is on April 25.

On Wednesday, state Rep. Tricia Cotham announced she would be switching party affiliations from Democrat to Republican, handing the GOP a supermajority in both state legislature chambers. The action would be notable for its symbolism alone, but it is especially powerful given that it renders Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto useless if all members show up to vote, granting the state GOP immense power to enact the legislation it wants.

Cotham said she made her decision out of frustration with the current state of the Democratic Party, noting its lawmakers have become increasingly narrow-minded despite painting themselves as inclusive. Cotham’s exit surprised several lawmakers because the ex-Democrat served in the party for over a decade in a blue district, representing Charlotte, the state’s biggest city by far. North Carolina Democrats denounced Cotham’s decision, calling on her to resign from office.

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Republicans have scheduled a press conference for Thursday morning to discuss the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, according to WRAL. Lawmakers introduced the same bill in 2021 on the five-year anniversary of the so-called “bathroom bill.”

At least 20 states, many in the South, have passed laws prohibiting transgender high school athletes from playing on the teams of their identified gender, the Raleigh-based news outlet noted.

At least 13 states, Indiana and Idaho the most recent, have bans on gender-affirming care for minors.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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