HB2 changes still in question as legislative session winds down

Posted June 23, 2016

House Bill 2 (HB2)

As lawmakers push to finish their work for the year, discussions about whether and how to modify the controversial House Bill 2 remain very much behind the scenes.

"There's clearly conversations still happening on it, but as far as what will happen, nobody really knows at this point," House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday.

Lawmakers passed House Bill 2 in March as a reaction to a transgender nondiscrimination ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council. The state bill rolled back that ordinance, requiring that people use the bathroom matching the gender on their birth certificates, and went much further. The state law eliminated the right to sue in state court over wrongful job termination due to sex, race, veteran status or other characteristics. It also set a new statewide nondiscrimination standard that didn't include LGBT people and invalidated any local nondiscrimination standard that went further than the state's new definition.

The bill has since drawn criticism from across the state and around the nation. Critics have said that legislation such as House Bill 2 helped set the stage for acts of violence against LGBT people, including the recent shooting at an Orlando, Fla., gay nightclub.

In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory has called for the repeal of the employment discrimination provision, but he has stood by the bathroom provisions of the bill. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders in the state legislature have pushed for a full repeal. Although a range of changes have been contemplated, there's no outward sign from legislative leaders that changes are in the works.

Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate say they would like to adjourn their legislative session before July 4 and say they are close to a deal on the state budget, a key step in the move toward shutting down.

"There are a number of issues still being discussed, but I wouldn't want to comment specifically on that one at this point," Moore, R-Cleveland, said.


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