Parents’ Bill of Rights could be sidelined in North Carolina General Assembly

(The Center Square) – A Parents’ Bill of Rights approved by the Senate earlier this month may not get a House vote before the end of the short legislative session, House Speaker Tim Moore…

(The Center Square) – A Parents’ Bill of Rights approved by the Senate earlier this month may not get a House vote before the end of the short legislative session, House Speaker Tim Moore said.

Moore, R-Cleveland, told The Carolina Journal after Wednesday’s House session that he doesn’t believe the lower chamber has enough votes to override a likely veto from Gov. Roy Cooper on House Bill 755, known as the Parents’ Bill of Rights.

Republicans in the lower chamber would need three Democrats to vote for the measure to override a likely veto, and the support isn’t there, Moore said.

HB 755 was substituted with the Parents’ Bill of Rights in a Senate committee before lawmakers in the upper chamber approved the bill with a near party-line vote of 28-18 on June 1. The bill is designed to enhance public school transparency, outline the rights and responsibilities of parents and install guardrails on curriculum dealing with gender identity and sexual orientation.

Proponents contend the bill is critical to ensure parents are informed about what their kids are learning in school, while opponents claim the legislation discriminates against LGBTQ youth. All Senate Republicans and one Democrat, Sen. Ben Clark, D-Cumberland, backed the bill, while all other Democrats voted against it.

HB 755 would require schools to inform parents of their rights and responsibilities and provide a guide for student achievement. Schools would also be required to inform parents of changes in their child’s physical or mental health, including requests for name or pronoun changes, as well as remedies for parents to address concerns over those issues.

The bill further prohibits school curriculums on gender identity and sexual orientation for kindergarten through third grade, though it would not preclude organic conversations about those issues.

The bill is supported by Moms for Liberty, North Carolina Values and many parents, including those of special needs students, who testified during a Senate Education Committee in late May. It was opposed by a representative from the public school activist group Save Our Schools, as well as the North Carolina Association of Education and LGBTQ activists.

Cooper has described the legislation as a “Republican political ploy” and likened the measure to the so-called “don’t say gay” bill approved in Florida. He has urged lawmakers to “keep the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ culture wars out of North Carolina classrooms.”

HB 755 incorporates several aspects of a Parents’ Bill of Rights proposed by the John Locke Foundation that stipulates parents have a right to: Direct their child’s physical, mental, and emotional health; direct how and where their child is educated; transparency in school operations; a safe and nurturing school environment for their children; and resources and accountability of school districts, administrators and teachers.

A Civitas poll of North Carolina general election voters conducted in May found 57% support a Parents’ Bill of Rights, while 24% opposed the idea.

Republican leaders in the General Assembly are “very bullish” about the prospect of securing a supermajority in the November election, and Moore told the Journal the measure may be taken up next year.