Update on the North Carolina General Assembly
In this presentation, we will discuss the lead-up to the “repeal” of House Bill 2, which included eight different legislative proposals. These bills variously included statewide non-discrimination, a referendum on non-discrimination ordinances, religious exemptions, and the final HB142 (four-year moratorium and bathroom preemption). Our speaker, Ames Simmons, was featured on NPR All Things Considered with Ari Shapiro and opposite Tami Fitzgerald of the NC Values Coalition on WRAL On The Record immediately following the passage of HB142
We will also discuss bills that would directly affect the LGBTQ community in North Carolina, both positively (anti-profiling, hate crimes, tenancy by the entirety) and negatively (bathroom trespass and the Uphold Historic Marriage Act).
It is also important to recognize the intersectionality of LGBTQ policy work, and the various communities that LGBTQ people comprise. There are legislative proposals that indirectly affect LGBTQ people, such as the opioid bill, ban-the-box, and raise-the-age that we can discuss, time permitting.
The actions of the General Assembly over the past several years have puzzled some, offended some, and delighted others. This talk might offer a glimpse into its past and give some intimations for its future.
Our speaker is Equality North Carolina’s lobbyist at the North Carolina General Assembly. He hails from Atlanta, where he attended Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, and obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish. He also studied at Emory University Law School, where he obtained a juris doctor degree. He previously served for almost two decades as in-house counsel at a healthcare consulting company based in Atlanta, but he now lives in downtown Raleigh with two geriatric cats.
On the Equality NC staff, Ames is also the Director of Transgender Policy. He identifies, advises staff, and advocates for public policy on priority issues affecting the transgender community as well as the broader LGBTQ community; and he serves as a resource to connect trans and gender non-conforming people in North Carolina with resources via community engagement and public education and outreach. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign. His policy activism emphasizes diversity and inclusion with focus on transgender justice. He has spoken at large companies including Delta Airlines and Turner Broadcasting on transgender inclusion.
Ames is uniquely qualified to give us an update on the NC General Assembly.