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Obama Administration Threatens to Cut Funding from North Carolina

Several Obama administration officials have announced that their respective agencies are reviewing whether or not to strip federal funding from North Carolina.

This action follows the legislature’s passage of a new law protecting women and children from predators in locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms.  Administration officials who have spoken out against the new law, which was signed into law by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, say that the new law could make North Carolina ineligible for federal funds, and have launched investigations to make that determination.

Speaking in Charlotte last week, Transportation Secretary and North Carolina-native Anthony Foxx said that the U.S. Department of Transportation is reviewing whether or not to remove $1 billion in annual funding to North Carolina, adding that he finds the new law to be, “really disappointing.”

U.S. Department of Education Spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said that the Department of Education has started a review as well, putting $4.3 billion in federal funding on the line. “We will not hesitate to act if students’ civil rights are being violated,” she said.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched a similar evaluation. “We’re reviewing the effects of the law on HUD funding allocated for North Carolina,” said Cameron French, a department spokesman.

Governor Pat McCrory has repeatedly reassured North Carolinians that the state’s federal funds are not in any danger, but attempts to strip the state of federal funding are an obvious attempt by the Obama Administration to bully North Carolina — and other states who make decisions for the benefit of their state — back into submission.

A legal memo released Tuesday by the Alliance Defending Freedom backs up Governor McCrory’s claim. “Under current law, neither states nor school districts will lose Title IX funding for enacting laws and policies that require students to use the restrooms and locker rooms of their biological sex,” the memo states, adding that “no school district, university, or state has ever lost Title IX funding.”  Title IX’s regulations clearly state that “[a] recipient may provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex” [1].

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest said that he is “confident that we will continue to receive this federal money despite the threats from a few in Washington, D.C.”

This isn’t the first time that the Obama Administration has used federal money to achieve policy changes on a local level.  In Illinois, the Administration achieved the policy it wanted after it threatened to withhold federal dollars from a school district when it didn’t allow a student who was biologically male to enter the female facilities.

We stand with North Carolina and Governor Pat McCrory in their efforts to keep safety and privacy at the center of state policy.

North Carolina is just one of several states — including Washington — who are grappling with the issue of open-locker rooms. The Just Want Privacy campaign has been established to make sure that women and children don’t become victims of bad public policy, and are working hard to give Washingtonians a voice on this issue come November.  If you support safety and common sense in locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms, please consider lending your efforts to the campaign.

[1] 34 C.F.R. § 106.33