North Carolina’s new Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, aka the anti-gay “bathroom” bill, has started a firestorm across the country. Now the Obama administration is weighing in, saying that the law just may jeopardize the state’s federal funds. If the Justice Department determines the law violates federal civil rights statutes, North Carolina could be looking at the loss of billions of dollars in highway, school, and housing funds.
No one is saying YET that Washington is ready to move on this action, but some “warning shots” have been fired. The Charlotte Observer reports that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx raised the possibility of a federal review of North Carolina’s transportation funds during a speech on March 29. The state gets nearly $1 billion a year in federal highway funds. Foxx, a former mayor of Charlotte, had this to say to those gathered at a Rotary Club luncheon;
“As a North Carolinian, it pains me to see the state going through this because it’s entirely avoidable and unnecessary. Frankly, we’re having this big food fight over who people love, and why are we doing it?
It’s incredibly hard for me to watch what’s happening here in North Carolina because I know fundamentally this isn’t who we are. But ultimately people have to remember that the people they elect make these decisions, and they’ve got to think about that moving forward.“
But the $1 billion in transportation funding pales in comparison to the $4.5 billion North Carolina receives in funds for education. If the controversy brings the federal government into the picture in the form of lost revenue, Governor Pat McCrory could find himself out of a job in November.
Real Clear Politics’ average of polls was showing his Democratic challenger, incumbent Attorney General Roy Cooper, in a slight lead before this issue came to a boil. Cooper has called the law a “national embarrassment” and said that his office would not defend it in court. North Carolina is “red” state in presidential elections, but tends to elect Democratic governors. McCrory is the first Republican governor of the state since ’92, and only the third Republican since 1900. Only one of those three was reelected. There are good odds McCrory won’t be joining those ranks… with any luck for North Carolina.
(via Winning Democrats)