RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As Gov. Pat McCrory determines how to respond to the Justice Department regarding House Bill 2, some are concerned about the threat of losing federal funding over the law.
In a letter this week, the Department of Justice told the governor that the law violates the Civil Rights Act and discriminates against transgender people.
The federal government could withhold more than billions of dollars from the state for implementing House Bill 2, according to a report by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, a think tank which studies sexual orientation and gender identity laws and public policies.
The vast majority of the money in question is education funding.
The researchers say the fiscal impact of HB2 includes: the loss of up to $4.7 billion in annual education funding; loss of federal contracts estimated between $35 to $65 million annually for violations of Executive Order 13672; loss of up $108 million annually for NCWorks; loss of between $5 million to $5.6 million in federal grants authorized by the Violence Against Women Act.
In addition, an unspecified amount of money from the departments of Housing and Urban Development as well as Health Human Services could be affected.
As parents were picking up their kids from school Friday, some were concerned about the potential impacts on classrooms.
“I believe in public schools and what they represent, and the diversity that is here, and the kids that are there, and he gets help. So, without that money for public schools, I’m not really sure how they’re going to pull that off,” said Stephanie Lormand. “They’re making up the difference for kids that don’t have these opportunities at home, and they’re going to lose that money, which is going to increase poverty as time goes on.”
McCrory told CBS North Carolina Thursday he will have a response to the DOJ by Monday, which the agency requested. It’s unclear what the response will be.
Monika Johnson-Hostler, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said she’s worried about the impacts the loss of grant funding would have on survivors of sexual assault and agencies that provide them services.
“I’ve already heard from a handful of programs with fear and skepticism about what this means for their agencies and how they keep their doors open,” she said.
Supporters of HB2 say they don’t believe the government will ever get to the point of actually pulling the funding.
They urged the governor to fight.
“Well, I don’t think it’s very serious because the Obama administration has no legal authority to do what they’re claiming they can do,” said Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition. “We think the Department of Justice is overreaching and stepping into an area where they have no authority to be.”