News (USA)

Everyone’s talking about North Carolina’s new law (except legislators)

Republican Rep. Josh Dobson, who also voted for the legislation, said: “I usually refer everything to the Speaker’s office,” then hung up before a reporter could ask a follow-up question.

Rep. Pat Hurley politely said she was preparing for a Rotary meeting and asked a reporter to call back around 2 p.m. She didn’t answer the second call.

Of 41 lawmakers on AP’s portion of the list, a handful responded promptly. Twenty-eight never returned calls and emails to their legislative offices, followed by messages on home, mobile or business numbers.

Democratic Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham, who wants the law repealed and left in protest when it passed, suggested some may be unwilling to talk out of embarrassment or loyalty to the Republican caucus.

“I’ve spoken to two that were not really happy with the bill to start with, but the pressure of the caucus to stick together is very strong,” he said. “But none of them would ever speak publicly against their caucus.”

One lawmaker not afraid to discuss his support for the bill is Sen. Jerry Tillman, who speaks with a frankness sharpened over seven terms in the chamber.

“I would not be for amending it,” he said by phone. “We passed a good bill, and I’m ready to stand on that bill.”

He added, “Right now I don’t even feel like the mood is there to do any changes.”

Hours later, Senate leader Phil Berger echoed that sentiment.

While Berger didn’t respond to the survey, he discussed the likelihood of any changes with reporters Wednesday: “I don’t know that I would at any point be ready to say we are going to make any changes. I just don’t see the need for it.”

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