Law experts say North Carolina’s bathroom law will be hard to enforce

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) – The University of North Carolina will comply with the state’s House Bill 2.

The chancellors of the system’s 17 schools received a memo from President Margaret Spellings Thursday afternoon. In it, Spellings stated schools must label bathrooms for single sex use.

Schools can, however, provide single-stall bathrooms that are gender-neutral, but Spellings said the law doesn’t specify how to enforce it. Law enforcement agencies in eastern Carolina have no plans of enforcing this new law. That’s because they don’t have to.

According to HB2, woman are only allowed to use the women’s bathroom. If they want to use the men’s room, it’s considered illegal. The problem is, no one will enforce it, and even if they did, the bill doesn’t list any punishments.

“The intent of this law was basically symbolic,” ECU professor Carmine Scavo said.

North Carolina’s HB2 law says a lot of things. The one thing it doesn’t say is how to enforce it. Right now, there’s no penalty or punishment. If anybody breaks the law, there are no guidelines on what happens next.

Dr. Scavo said, “I don’t think at the time that they passed it that they ever thought they were going to have to defend it or enforce it.” Dr. Scavo added that the legislature passed the law to make a statement. He said lawmakers knew it couldn’t be enforced.

9 On Your Side asked one representative from the area about enforcing HB2 and he said Dr. Scavo isn’t far off.

“I think it was one to either send a symbolic statement or a real statement across the state that this is an expected modicum of behavior for people in bathrooms, bath houses, locker rooms,” NC House District 9 Representative Dr. Gregory Murphy said.

9 On Your Side asked law enforcement agencies how they plan to enforce HB2 and most of them said the topic hasn’t even come up.

People in the area said a law with no enforcement is pointless.

“If you’re not obligated to go by the rule then it shouldn’t be a rule at all,” ECU student Danielle King said.

ECU student Allison Davitt added, “If you’re not going to follow through with consequences for the law, I don’t understand why you would establish it in the first place. I think it’s a little pointless”

“I don’t see the point of the law if you’re not going to enforce it with consequences,” ECU student Paulina Muniz said.

Representative Murphy said there are talks of amending the bill, but he doesn’t know any details.

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