Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law a hastily-passed bill that bans local governments from passing their own anti-discrimination or minimum-wage ordinances. The effort is part of a broader trend of state pre-emption of progressive local policies. (Image: via Facing South)

Pre-empting Local Democracy in North Carolina and Beyond

Sue Sturgis

 by Facing South

Date on which the city council in Charlotte, North Carolina, passed an ordinance expanding the city's non-discrimination policy to offer new protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and to allow people to use public restrooms based on their gender identity: 2/22/2016

Vote by which the Charlotte ordinance passed: 7-4

Date on which it was set to take effect: 4/1/2016

Date on which North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature convened a special session to overturn the Charlotte ordinance with House Bill 2, which was expanded to include provisions banning local governments from adopting minimum-wage and anti-discrimination ordinances: 3/23/2016

Amount it costs per day to convene a special session: $42,000

Number of hours that passed between the bill's introduction and its signing into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory: 9

Minutes members of the House committee that considered the bill got to read it: 5

Minutes the House allotted for public comment on the measure: 30

Final vote to pass the bill in the House: 82-26

Number of House Democrats who voted for the bill, which had the support of all of the Republicans: 11

The vote to pass the bill in the Senate after all of the Democrats walked out of the chamber in protest: 32-0

Number of advocacy groups that have announced they are considering litigation challenging the law: 3

Last year alone, number of state legislatures that considered bills to block local control over a range of issues, including LGBT rights, the minimum wage, fracking, gun control and immigration: 29

Number of such local pre-emption bills filed so far this year just in Florida: 20

Number of states in which the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that crafts model legislation promoting the interests of its corporate funder including telecom giants like AT&T and Comcast, has worked to pre-empt municipal broadband services: 19

Date on which McCrory signed into law an ALEC-inspired bill to ban North Carolina communities from adopting so-called "sanctuary city" or "community trust policies" limiting local police involvement in federal immigration enforcement: 10/29/2015

Year in which the Texas community of Denton passed a local ballot initiative against fracking only to have the oil and gas industry join forces with ALEC-affiliated state lawmakers to override it: 2014

Number of other states that have already passed laws pre-empting local non-discrimination ordinances: 2*

Month in which South Dakota passed such a bill only to have Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard veto it, arguing it didn't address any pressing need: 2/2016

Number of states that so far this year are considering bills to reverse the corporate-backed trend towards pre-emption: 2

* Tennessee in 2011 and Arkansas in 2015.

(Click on figure to go to source.)


© 2021 Institute for Southern Studies
Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis is the Director and regular contributor to the Institute for Southern Study's online magazine, Facing South, with a focus on energy and environmental issues. She is a former staff writer for The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Independent Weekly in Durham, North Carolina. Sue is the author or co-author of five Institute reports, including Faith in the Gulf (Aug/Sept 2008), Hurricane Katrina and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (January 2008) and Blueprint for Gulf Renewal (Aug/Sept 2007). Sue holds a Masters in Journalism from New York University.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

World Faces 'Loaded Gun' on Hiroshima's 77th Anniversary

“We must ask: What have we learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city?”

Common Dreams staff ·


'Extremely Concerned': Shelling of Europe's Biggest Nuclear Power Plant More Worrying Than Chernobyl

Ukraine said parts of the facility were "seriously damaged" by Russian military strikes.

Common Dreams staff ·


'Backsliding on Democracy': Indiana Governor Signs Extreme Abortion Ban Bill

'The extremist lawmakers who forced this bill through a special session clearly could not care less about what their constituents want or need.'

Common Dreams staff ·


After Kansas Win, Abortion Rights Advocates Call Ballot Measures the 'Next Frontier'

"Ballot initiatives are a phenomenally powerful tool when there's a disconnect between the popularity of an issue and what's being enacted by politicians," said Kelly Hall of the Fairness Project.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sanders Crafts Amendment to Close 'Holes' in Medicare That 'Are Harming Seniors'

"Adding dental, vision, and hearing benefits to Medicare is supported by 84% of the American people," said an aide to the senator, who plans to propose including the expansion in Democrats' reconciliation package.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo