The Morning Roundup: A Virginia Transgender Teen's Case Could Decide the Fate of HB 2 | News
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Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Morning Roundup: A Virginia Transgender Teen's Case Could Decide the Fate of HB 2

Posted by on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 8:47 AM

Good morning, everyone! It's Thursday again and here are your headlines.

1. The fate of North Carolina's probably unconstitutional dumpster fire, House Bill 2, could be decided in Virginia according to this story from the Associated Press.

After a school board in Gloucester, Va. ordered a transgender teen named Gavin Grimm to stay out of the men's restroom at his school, Grimm sued, alleging that the board's policy which forces him to use the women's restroom or a single-occupancy unisex restroom violates Title IX of the  federal law that protects students from sex discrimination in schools. 
click to enlarge Gavin Grimm - AP PHOTO/STEVE HELBER
  • AP Photo/Steve Helber
  • Gavin Grimm
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond heard arguments in Grimm's case two months before North Carolina enacted HB 2, and is expected to make a ruling any day now. A UNC law professor quoted in the story says she wouldn't be surprised if this issue winds up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

From the story:

Advocates on all sides will closely read the ruling, since U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, an appointee of President George W. Bush, will have to adhere to any precedents set by the appellate court, said Joshua Block, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Grimm.

"One way or another, what happens in Gavin's case is likely going to set the rules of the road for how the North Carolina case proceeds," Block said.

Grimm alleges that school board policy requiring him to use girls' restrooms or a single-occupancy unisex bathroom available to all students violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in public schools. He also says the policy denies him equal protection rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The North Carolina suit raises similar claims, alleging that transgender people who haven't received a sex-change operation and changed their birth certificate can't access their preferred restrooms, and are therefore treated unequally from non-transgender people.

Since Grimm's trial judge has yet to decide constitutional issues, the appellate ruling will focus on the Title IX question and "won't provide guidance about the constitutionality of the North Carolina law," said Kevin Walsh, a University of Richmond expert in constitutional law.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a "statement of interest" in Grimm's case in July declaring that failure to allow transgender students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identities amounts to sex discrimination under Title IX. In North Carolina, gay rights advocates warned that the new law puts billions of dollars in federal educational funding at risk.
In even more news on HB 2, McCrory's claim that the bill doesn't take away rights from cities is patently false, and Connecticut and Chicago are using North Carolina's misfortune to poach its awesome businesses while the gettin's hot. The Rev. William Barber tells you why, as well as being anti-LGBT, HB 2 is also racist.

Nice work, NC GOP!! 

2.Speakers at a public hearing in Raleigh on the state's planned Medicaid overhaul last night roundly called for the state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services has a plan to privatize Medicaid, whereby Medicaid recipients will sign up for health plans run by insurance companies and other providers.

The state would no longer reimburse patients for each doctor's visit, but would pay into the health plan that each person receives. DHHS officials say the overhaul is designed to give patients more options, via more than a dozen Medicaid health plans in the state that patients can choose from. Critics say Medicaid ain't broke, why we trying to fix it, we should expand it instead. 

From the News & Observer: 

Medicaid covers 1.9 million people, mostly low-income children and their parents, the elderly and the disabled. It costs the state about $14 billion, with the federal government paying about two-thirds.

The legislature does not want to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Expansion would give about 300,000 to 500,000 low-income adults access to health insurance. There’s been a steady public push for expansion over the years, and several speakers at the Raleigh hearing, including doctors, health advocates, and one college student and mother, said expanding Medicaid should be part of the overhaul.

The federal government picks up all the costs of expansion for three years. After that, the state’s share rises over several years to 10 percent.

“Reform and expansion are complementary,” said Dr. Jonathan Kotch, a research professor in public health who was representing a group called Health Care for All.

Thousands of newly insured people with mental illnesses would be able to find treatment, said Dr. Marvin Swartz, who represented the NC Psychiatric Association.

Anticipating speakers’ emphasis on expansion, DHHS Secretary Rick Brajer said before comments started that expansion would be discussed with the federal government and the legislature.

“We’ll have the discussion,” he said. “Where we come out on it is where we come out on it.”
DHHS will hold several more public hearings on its proposal, known as a waiver, across the state before it submits its application to the federal government June 1. 

3. The NC Republican Party is kind of a hot mess right now as well, and its chairman Hasan Harnett, who is the target of a smear campaign, says the internal rift could affect the state's presidential delegates. LOL!

4. The NCAA basketball tournament is still a thing, and on Saturday UNC plays Syracuse in Houston, which you'll recall Gov. McCrory made some dumb comment about

UNC coach Roy Williams is getting some attention for his colorful vocabulary. 

And that's all folks! Thursday is Little Friday!

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