Fiscal champions Tim Moore, the state House speaker, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest will convene a special legislative session on Wednesday—at the cost of $42,000 a day—to override a Charlotte ordinance that, among other things, allows transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.
This "radical" provision endangers "young girls and women," according to a breathless announcement Monday, who thus require the legislature's valiant "protection," despite a mountain of evidence that these claims are, well, unadulterated horseshit.
"Think of all of the things the special sessions have been called for—budget crises, serious things," says state Representative Duane Hall, D-Wake. "This is not a crisis."
While $42,000—or $84,000, or $126,000—is a tiny percentage of the state's $21.7 billion budget, it's still real money. So when Moore and company make a big show out of protecting potties this week, it's worth remembering that every day lawmakers spend on this manufactured crisis is worth 1,059 elementary-school textbooks.
As of press time, it's unclear whether the session will focus only on the bathroom provision or go further—attacking all local antidiscrimination measures and living-wage ordinances—as critics fear.
"They tried to run a bill at the end of last session that would've removed local authority to do all kinds of things, like fair housing ordinances," says Wake County commissioner John Burns. "I'm afraid they're going to try to run that through again, with this bathroom issue to drive public fear."
"I'm really surprised they did it," Hall adds, "because I think they're hurting themselves with the upcoming election. The number one state legislator who was on a mission to take control from his local government was Tim Moffitt, and look what happened to him." (Moffitt, a Buncombe County lawmaker, lost his re-election bid in 2014.) "You would think that if, for no other reason, self-preservation would temper that."