Two months after former Gov. Pat McCrory’s encountered a crowd of rowdy protesters, a N.C. senator has introduced a measure that would provide state protection to former elected officials.
The bill from Republican Sen. Dan Bishop of Charlotte also would extend penalties for assaults against current officials to former officials.
In January, a crowd of protesters followed McCrory down an alley in Washington chanting “shame” and “anti-gay bigot” at the governor who signed House Bill 2. The encounter was captured on video by one of the protesters and went viral.
Bishop was a prime sponsor of the law, passed in response to a Charlotte ordinance extending anti-discrimination protections to the LGBT community. HB2 nullified that and bars similar ordinances.
Bishop was not immediately available for comment.
In a January blog post, Bishop said the incident showed that “lines are being crossed.” Former governors, he wrote, “never faced riotous mobs in their post-service, private lives, without personal security.”
SB229 would allow a former governor to request and receive the protection of a Highway Patrol officer “on an occasional basis” for a year after leaving office. It would would extend the penalty for assaulting elected officials – now a felony – to former officials.
Critics had expressed concern that the bill might try to criminalize criticism of former politicians.
“We're glad to see that the bill doesn't seek to criminalize people's right to criticize politicians in public,” said Mike Meno, a spokesman for the state ACLU.