A controversial bill restricting LGBTQ instruction in elementary schools might not be taken up by the North Carolina House in the remaining few weeks of the legislative session, Speaker Tim Moore said Wednesday.
House Bill 755, also known as the Parents’ Bill of Rights, was approved by the state Senate earlier this month just over a week after being proposed by Republican lawmakers, and was expected to be voted on in the House soon thereafter.
But Republicans won’t rush to pass the bill if they don’t have enough Democratic support to circumvent a likely veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, and as of now, they don’t, Moore told reporters.
“We’ve really not decided if we are going to move it in the short session,” Moore said. “And really, the reason is, we’ve looked at it and we’ve counted the votes, and right now as it is, we don’t see a pathway, necessarily, to it becoming law. Because we don’t have enough Democratic members who have indicated they would join in on a likely veto override.”
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In order to override vetoes from Cooper, Republicans would need to pick up an additional three seats in the House and two seats in the Senate in this fall’s election.
Moore said Republicans are “very bullish” about their prospects of achieving a supermajority, and said the bill was “certainly the kind of issue that we can take up in next year’s session.”
Lawmakers are finishing work on a budget proposal and other remaining bills before a planned recess beginning in the first week of July.
What ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’ would do
Introduced in late May with the support of top Senate Republicans, including GOP leader Phil Berger, HB 755 would prohibit North Carolina elementary schools from teaching K-3 students about LGBTQ issues.
The bill would also require schools to notify parents if their children are identified by different pronouns in school records, or by school employees. Advocates have said that provision of the bill would be a major setback for LGBTQ youth, since it could lead to situations where schools are forced to out students to parents.
Opponents of the bill have held a series of protests, including one at a Senate committee meeting and one outside the General Assembly right after the Senate passed the bill.
They have compared the bill to similar legislation regulating instruction about LGBTQ issues in other states, particularly the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill enacted by Florida lawmakers earlier this year.
Moore acknowledged Wednesday that the bill had been politically controversial and said he didn’t think it was necessary to try and pass the bill if Republicans aren’t certain they would be able to make it into law.
“With the political dynamics being what they are, we’re going to make a calculation,” Moore said. “If we think there’s a pathway to get this bill passed and see it become law, then I suspect we would act on it. But if we feel like we’re going to fall short on some votes, I don’t know that it’s something we’re going to undertake.
“It’s not been completely determined,” he added.
In the meantime, Moore said, there are some existing laws that outline when it’s “age appropriate to talk about these kinds of issues.” That could mean that the bill isn’t necessary at this time.
Moore added that it was important for lawmakers to consider the bill in a “careful and methodical” manner, and avoid turning the issue into a “political football.”
HB 755 is currently in the House Rules Committee, but has yet to receive a meeting.