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North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signs GOP-backed anti-trans measure into law

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North Carolina’s governor on Wednesday signed into law a measure that blocks local governments in the state from enacting ordinances to allow transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their gender identities.

The legislation came in response to such a provision approved last month in Charlotte, the state’s largest city, as part of an expanded nondiscrimination ordinance that also added protections for marital and familial status, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity.

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The bill passed both chambers of the legislature during a one-day special session convened in Raleigh to address the Charlotte law. Republican Governor Pat McCrory, who signed the bill late on Wednesday, said the Charlotte measure “defies common sense.”

“The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte,” McCrory said in a statement.

Controversy over the bathroom component echoed similar fights across the country as transgender advocates push for the right to choose restrooms and locker rooms, including in schools, based on gender identity rather than birth gender.

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina warned that the “radical” Charlotte measure would create a public safety issue by giving men, including sex offenders, access to women’s bathrooms if allowed to take effect on April 1.

“This is a common sense bill that protects the privacy expectations of our citizens while clarifying local authority,” said Republican Representative Paul Stam.

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups condemned the law’s passage and said they were exploring legal challenges.

They say no public safety risks had resulted in the more than 200 U.S. cities that have enacted protections similar to those passed in Charlotte.

“We are disappointed that Governor McCrory did not do right by North Carolina’s families, communities, and businesses by vetoing this horribly discriminatory bill,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the state’s American Civil Liberties Union.

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The bill requires multiple-occupancy bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government buildings to be used by people only according to their biological sex.

The measure also creates North Carolina’s first statewide nondiscrimination policy for public places, including restaurants, hotels and taxis. But it limits the protections against discrimination to race, religion, color, national origin and biological sex.

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Local governments would be prohibited from passing anti-discrimination ordinances that extended the protections to include gender identity and sexual orientation.

(Additional reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, David Gregorio, Bernard Orr, Michael Perry)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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The Republican Party resorts to suppressing its own voters after being overrun by Trump: former GOP congressman

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In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal this Thursday, former GOP congressman and current 2020 challenger to President Trump, Joe Walsh, argued that Republicans are shutting out any competition to Trump on their 2020 primary ballots, ultimately "disenfranchising GOP voters in eight states—so far."

"The Republican Party apparatus has been bound to one man through power plays and intimidation," Walsh writes. "Since Mr. Trump was elected, 40 Republican state party chairmen have turned over. The party’s leadership is unrecognizable from what it was before Mr. Trump."

According to Walsh, the GOP protecting Trump from primary challengers is a reflection of an infamous Trump personality trait -- a complete disregard for anyone who disagrees with him.

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Rick Santorum falls apart during CNN defense of Trump as fellow Republican Charlie Dent laughs

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As CNN contributor Rick Santorum struggled to defend Donald Trump's quid pro quo proposal to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday morning, his fellow Pennsylvania Republican, former Rep. Charlie Dent, laughed at his fumbling for answers.

Sitting down with "New Day" host John Berman, Santorum once again attempted to make the case that the president was withholding aid over Ukraine corruption and not because he was seeking dirt on political opponents -- and didn't fare well as Berman kept fact-checking him.

With the two former GOP lawmakers on split-screen, Santorum refused to concede that the president was asking for a personal favor during the phone-call that eventually led to a House impeachment inquiry into the president's actions.

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Ukraine’s ambassador to Austria shreds Trump allies for giving Putin their ‘enthusiastic help’

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Olexander Scherba, who currently serves as Ukraine's ambassador to Austria, sent out a scathing tweet on Friday excoriating allies of President Donald Trump who seem hellbent on helping Russian President Vladimir Putin reassert Russia's dominance over Eastern Europe.

In his tweet, Scherba explained the scope of Putin's ambitions, which he said went far beyond seizing Ukrainian territory.

"Putin isn’t just fighting Ukraine," he wrote. "He is fighting the whole world order, created by Reagan."

The ambassador then turned his attention to American supporters of President Donald Trump who have been cheering Putin's actions.

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