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RALEIGH — The North Carolina House of Representatives today voted 104-8 to approve a bill that would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18 for most offenses. North Carolina is the only remaining state in the nation that automatically charges all 16- and 17-year- olds as adults, regardless of the crime.

“Sending kids into the adult criminal justice system puts their safety and future at risk and harms North Carolina’s communities in countless ways,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “This bipartisan House vote is a hugely important step toward fixing this injustice that now exists only in North Carolina. We stand with a broad coalition of North Carolinians in urging the Senate and Governor Cooper to pass this much-needed measure into law and finally do the right thing for North Carolina and its young people.”

House Bill 280 – which has received support from Republican and Democratic leadership, as well as children’s advocates and law enforcement groups – would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction for misdemeanors and low-level felonies, meaning that 16- and 17-year-olds charged with those offenses would be redirected to the state’s juvenile justice system. The bill’s language was based on a series of recommendations made by a commissioned chaired by North Carolina Chief Justice Mark Martin, who has endorsed the proposal. Senate Leader Phil Berger has also said the issue is a high priority for the state Senate.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has declined to review a federal appeals court decision holding that North Carolina’s 2013 election law —which imposed a voter ID requirement, cut a week of early voting, and eliminated same-day registration — intentionally discriminates against African-Americans. North Carolina has now exhausted all avenues of appeal.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Coalition for Social Justice challenged the law, which was struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016. In early January, the state sought Supreme Court review, but the newly elected governor moved to drop the petition, prompting the legislators who passed the measure to try and intervene.

“This law, enacted with what the appeals court called discriminatory intent and ‘almost surgical precision’ targeting African-American voters, is meeting its much-deserved demise,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “An ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing.”

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N.C. Senate Passes Sweeping Anti-Immigrant Bill

Posted on in Human Rights

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Senate today passed a sweeping anti-immigrant bill, SB145, that would direct state police to enforce federal immigration law, seek to punish local governments who enact their own policies related to immigration, and defund any UNC institution that limits its role in the enforcement of federal immigration law. 

“Targeting and singling out undocumented North Carolinians who work, go to school, and contribute to our communities won’t make North Carolina safer, but it will spread fear and confusion while trampling on the rights of immigrants and nonimmigrants alike,” said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “Local governments and the UNC system will needlessly suffer and could be exposed to costly litigation under this misguided proposal. We urge North Carolina House members to reject this bill.”

Among its provisions, Senate Bill 145 would

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The NCAA announced today that they will be returning championship events to sites in North Carolina for the first time since the state passed sweeping anti-LGBT legislation in 2016. The original law, HB 2, was replaced last month by a new law, HB 142, which continues to discriminate against transgender people.

“North Carolina’s new law does nothing to guarantee that LGBT people will be protected from discrimination” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project. “When the NCAA originally withdrew events from North Carolina, they did so because they claimed to care about ‘fairness and inclusion’ for college athletes and fans. It’s a shame to see that those concerns have already fallen by the wayside.”

HB 142 prevents state agencies, public schools, and local governments from adopting policies ensuring that transgender people can access restrooms matching their gender. Without such protections, people cannot fully participate in public life. HB 142 also says that local governments cannot pass ordinances protecting LGBT people — or anyone else — from discrimination in employment or public places until 2020.

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Withdrawal from North Carolina HB2 lawsuit continues pattern of federal government retreat from protecting transgender individuals at school and work

(RALEIGH) – Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of North Carolina today condemned the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss its lawsuit challenging House Bill 2, the discriminatory North Carolina law that banned many transgender people from restrooms and other public facilities matching their gender and prohibited local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

The Justice Department cited the passage on March 30 of House Bill 142 – a purported “repeal” of HB 2 that in fact left many of the harms caused by HB 2 in place – as the reason for its withdrawal.

“Here is yet another instance of the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrawing the federal government’s support from transgender individuals, and they are using the fake repeal of HB 2 as cover,” said Jon W. Davidson, Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair, Lambda Legal. “Sadly, this was not unexpected, now that anti-transgender forces are in charge of the Departments of Justice and Education. Once again, the Trump administration continues to abandon transgender Americans.”

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