NAACP Urges State Governments to Respect Civil and Worker Rights Protections Enacted by Municipal Governments
WHEREAS, therehave beena number of municipalities and local jurisdictions throughout the United States that have been attacked by their State Governments for passing and/or implementing progressive human and civil rights protection legislation; and
WHEREAS, for example,in February 2016,the Charlotte, North Carolina City Council passed an ordinance expanding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ("LGBT") individuals and protecting the rights of transgender people to choose restrooms according to their gender identity; and
WHEREAS, in response to the Charlotte ordinance, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed House Bill 2 ("HB 2"), which (1) bars employment discrimination and public accommodations discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, biological sex or handicap, (2) does not bar discrimination against LGBT individuals, and, perhaps most important, (3) supersedes and preempts all local employment and public accommodations ordinances; and
WHEREAS, North Carolina HB 2 also mandates that local boards of education and public agencies require multiple occupancy bathrooms or changing facilities to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex, thereby disallowing transgender individuals from using bathrooms based on their gender identity; and
WHEREAS, in August 2015, the City of Birmingham, Alabama passed an ordinance raising the local minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2017. Birmingham's population is 74% African-American and 32% of its African-American population lives below the federal poverty level. Birmingham's minimum wage ordinance was designed to address the problem of poverty in the city; and
WHEREAS, in response to the Birmingham ordinance, Alabama State legislators proposed and helped enact into law House Bill 174 ("HB 174"). The intent and effect of HB 174 is to abrogate Birmingham's minimum wage ordinance and to prevent Birmingham and other cities lacking "home rule" from increasing the local minimum wage or legislating over any matters regarding employee working conditions in those cities; and
WHEREAS, the aforementioned are recent examples of municipalities taking steps to improve or advance civil and/or worker rights protections for their own citizens in the longstanding tradition of municipal self-governance, only to have their efforts thwarted by state officials seemingly unconcerned with expanding such civil and/or worker rights protections.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon state governments throughout the Nation to 1) respect and defer to efforts by municipal governments to enact and expand protections for civil rights, human rights and worker rights in those municipalities; 2) refrain from passing legislation, regulation or any such policy initiative whose purpose or effect is to roll back advances with respect to civil rights, human rights and worker rights; and 3) not use their powers of preemption to overrule the local activities that protect and enhance civil, human, and worker rights.