Posted on February 8, 2023

Racist, or Necessary to Protect Property? Anti-Rioting Bill Passes NC House After Heavy Debate

Will Doran, WRAL, February 8, 2023

North Carolina Republican lawmakers passed an anti-rioting bill in the state House Wednesday, over objections from Democrats and community activists who said the bill is racist and unconstitutional.

The bill’s main sponsor, House Speaker Tim Moore, personally presented it in two House committees Wednesday — a rare move that shows how strongly he supports it. Moore said the bill isn’t aimed at any specific group of people, and that it shouldn’t worry any peaceful protesters.

Moore then fast-tracked the bill for a vote on the House floor Wednesday morning. After passing 75-43, it now goes to the state Senate for debate in that chamber.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to veto the bill if it passes the full legislature, as he did last year when a similar bill passed the legislature. But the measure has a better chance of passing this time. Coming off a strong election season, Republicans are just one vote short of a veto-proof supermajority in the House this session — and one of the bill’s sponsors is a moderate Democrat, Rep. Shelly Willingham of Rocky Mount.


{snip} Police would use the bill to target Black protesters, potentially using mass arrests to throw hundreds of peaceful protesters in jail if even just a small crowd smashed a window, critics say.

“This bill is racist,” said Dawn Blagrove, executive director of the group Emancipate NC. “This bill is designed to harm and limit the voices of Black, brown and marginalized people.”

Blagrove was later forced to stop speaking during a Wednesday committee meeting, after officials said her comments were “out of order.”


Multiple Democratic lawmakers and community activists raised issues with a portion of the bill that would require anyone accused of violating the anti rioting bill to be held behind bars, with no possibility of bail, for at least 48 hours.

Moore later allowed Democrats to amend the bill to lower that from 48 to 24 hours. But he was adamant that being arrested had to come with at least some mandatory jail time. He said he’s spoken to police officers who get frustrated when they arrest protesters, only to see them quickly make bail and go back to the protest.