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North Carolina GOP’s careful plan could be in jeopardy

Although the Virginia “decision is troubling, it is not the last word on this issue — it’s not even the last word on that case,” said Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden. He added he doesn’t see a need to repeal or revisit the bill under his Senate watch.

“Let me be clear: My job is not to give in to the demands of multi-millionaire celebrities pushing a pet social agenda,” or liberal newspapers and big corporations, Berger told reporters. “My job is to listen to the people that elected us to represent them, and the vast majority of North Carolinians we’ve heard from understand and support this reasonable commonsense law.”

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore also backs the law.

Supporters of the law, who plan their own rally on opening day, say it was needed to block a pending Charlotte ordinance that they argue would have made it easier for sexual predators to enter women’s rest rooms. Gay rights groups say those problems are unsubstantiated. The law also prevents local governments from passing protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at hotels and restaurants.

Courts earlier struck down GOP laws requiring abortion providers to show and describe an ultrasound to a pregnant woman; eliminating funds for Planned Parenthood affiliates; and preventing teachers who are members of the state’s National Education Association affiliate from having dues taken out of their paychecks.

“Most everything that they’re dealing with are hot-button issues, and hot-button political issues that have been translated into some sort of law probably have a greater likelihood of being struck down,” said Bob Orr, an ex-state Supreme Court justice and former Republican gubernatorial candidate. He’s represented education groups who sued to overturn GOP laws.

GOP legislators also have won some court fights. The state Supreme Court narrowly upheld taxpayer-funded grants for private and religious school students.

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