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Groups angry over Virginia lawmaker’s proposed “bathroom bill”

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Virginia lawmaker has filed a bill similar to North Carolina's "bathroom bill" that led to huge economic losses for the state.

State Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) filed House Bill 1612, which proposes that "...subject to certain exceptions, no individual shall enter a restroom or other facility designated for use by members of the opposite sex" in a government building.

Bob Marshall (PHOTO: Facebook)

Bob Marshall (PHOTO: Facebook)

The Physical Privacy Act, filed Tuesday in Virginia's House of Delegates, includes similar language to North Carolina's controversial law House Bill 2.

HB2 banned transgender people from using bathrooms that corresponded with their gender identity.

"I have been in school board meetings a number of times," Del. Marshall said. "I have never seen this many people come out both in Fairfax and Prince William as I have when this issue came out. If you think liberal parents want their daughter to be in a changing room for a swim team and she's changing, she doesn't have clothes on and guys are gawking at her. I don't believe that."

LGBTQ advocates from Equality Virginia and the Human Rights Campaign have already called Del. Marshall's proposed bill a possible threat to the state of Virginia if passed.

"There was a similar bill that was killed in the House General Laws committee last year," said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. "Honestly, we feel like with the state's budget shortfall and the economic consequences we saw in North Carolina, the leadership of both parties should be stepping forward and saying this bill is dead on arrival."

North Carolina suffered huge economic losses after HB2’s passage.

Singers Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, as well as bands such as Pearl Jam and Boston, canceled concerts in the state.

PayPal and Deutsche Bank both said they would cancel plans to expand into the state.

The NCAA said it would relocate several college athletic championship events for the 2016-17 season that were scheduled to take place in North Carolina.

Multiple media reports said HB2 ultimately caused CoStar, a real estate information and analytics company, to select Richmond for a new research operations headquarters instead of Charlotte.

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the move was expected to bring 730 jobs and a more than $8 million investment to Richmond.

Del. Marshall dismissed a Forbes.com article that reported that HB2 cost North Carolina more than $600 million in lost business since March 2016.

"I just looked at Forbes magazine and they rated North Carolina the second best state in United States which to do business," he said. "Do you know what they ranked Virginia under McAuliffe's leadership? Number seven. I think it's a fake news story that this had any detrimental effects on the jobs and economy of North Carolina."

 

HB 1612 would also require "...that the principal of a public school notify within 24 hours the parent or guardian of a child attending such school if the child requests to be recognized or treated as the opposite sex, to use a name or pronoun inconsistent with the child's sex, or to use a restroom or other facility designated for the opposite sex."

CBS 6 Political Analyst Bob Holsworth said Republicans have refrained from supporting similar controversial and social legislation in recent years.

"Governor McAuliffe has been clear that he will veto any bill that restricts the rights of Virginians based on sexual orientation or gender identity," said Brian Coy, Communications Director. "As we saw in North Carolina, these bills don’t just hamper civil rights – they kill jobs. The Governor is hopeful that Republicans in the General Assembly will drop these counterproductive bills and turn their focus toward building a stronger and more equal Virginia economy."

The legislation will be considered when the 2017 regular session of the General Assembly begins on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.