It was reported last week that North Carolina may lose federal funds for schools, highways, and education after passing an anti-LGBT law, and the Southern state might not be alone.
Mississippi could be the next state to face federal cuts, after passing an aggressive anti-LGBT law last week that allows businesses, individuals, and religiously-affiliated organizations to deny service to LGBT people, single mothers, and others who offend an individual's "sincerely held religious belief."
On Tuesday, Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary called the Mississippi law "outright mean-spirited." The president and his administration have "long been on the side of justice and equality," Earnest told TheWashington Blade. When asked about "religious liberty" bills that have passed recently in North Carolina and Mississippi, he said, "some of the laws that we've seen passed that target LGBT Americans are not consistent with those values of fairness and equality."
Earnest was asked for an update on whether North Carolina would lose federal funds for passing an Anti-LGBT law by the Blade. "You'd have to actually ask the individual agencies for a time frame about when a decision will be made," Earnest told the paper. "You'd also have to ask those agencies about whether or not the law that apparently was signed into law in Mississippi would trigger a similar review."
The New York Times first reported last week that the Obama administration was in the process of considering whether North Carolina's House Bill 2 makes the state ineligible for federal funding for schools, highways, and housing. HB 2 bans transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, eliminates all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in the state, and prohibits cities from adopting any new ones.
The Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development all told the Times that they are currently reviewing North Carolina's law to determine whether the state will continue to be eligible for federal funding.
Earnest told the Blade that any decision agencies make to "cut funds as a result of anti-LGBT laws will be made in conjunction with the Justice Department and with uniformity across all agencies."
Phil Bryant, Mississippi's Republican governor, announced that he had signed the bill in a tweet on Tuesday morning. It was accompanied by a statement contending that he signed HB 1523 "into law to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions."