Lawmakers, Cooper reach agreement to repeal HB2

Posted March 29
Updated March 30

— Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore held a 10:30 p.m. press conference Wednesday to announce that an agreement to repeal House Bill 2 has been reached with Gov. Roy Cooper.

House Bill 142, which initially dealt with occupational licensing boards, will be gutted, and the new language inserted before the bill is heard Thursday morning in the Senate Rules Committee.

Complete coverage: House Bill 2

The bill states that "state agencies, boards, offices, departments, branches of government ... and political subdivisions of the state, including local boards of education are preempted from regulation of access to multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities, except in accordance with an act of the General Assembly."

The proposal also prohibits local governments from enacting or amending ordinances regulating private employment practices or public accommodations until Dec. 1, 2020, which Berger and Moore said would give time for federal lawsuits over transgender rights to be resolved.

After the bill passes Senate Rules, it must pass two votes on the Senate floor during a session scheduled for 11 a.m. and then return to the House for a final vote before being sent to Cooper.

"I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow. It's not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation," Cooper said in a statement.

"Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy," Berger and Moore said in a joint statement.

The announcement comes as an NCAA deadline looms.

The NCAA was making decisions on 2018-2022 tournament sites this week and said no events would be held in North Carolina as long as House Bill 2 remains on the books.

The NCAA gave North Carolina one last warning Thursday about the need for the state to repeal the law that limits LGBT rights.

The law, which was passed just over a year ago, requires transgender people to use public bathrooms in schools and other government buildings that match their birth gender and excludes gay and transgender people from discrimination protections. It has come under fire by corporations, celebrities and North Carolina cities.

LGBT advocates expressed disappointment in the repeal compromise.

"This evening, we hear that a bathroom deal is being struck. The proposal would continue to discriminate against the transgender community," said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina. "LGBT North Carolinians are being kept in the dust. A majority of people want a full repeal."

"What transgender, LGBT person is at the table? There is no deal without us at the table," said Chad Griffin, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign. "Any lawmaker who supports this proposal cannot call themselves an ally of the LGBT community."

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina released a statement Thursday morning criticizing the compromise, saying it "uses the rights of LGBT people as a bargaining chip."

"One year after HB2 was introduced and signed into law in just 12 hours, it is shameful that legislative leaders and North Carolina’s governor are once again rushing through a discriminatory anti-LGBT measure without proper vetting or an opportunity for public input," ACLU of North Carolina policy director Sarah Gillooly said in a statement. "The way to undo HB2’s profound damage to North Carolina and its people has always been a full, clean repeal, but this proposal would keep anti-LGBT provisions of the law in place and continue to single out and target transgender people."

The North Carolina Democratic Party said Thursday morning that the legislation, while not "perfect," will give North Carolina "an opportunity to finally rebuild."

"After more than a year of damage by House Bill 2 to our state’s citizens, economy and reputation, this dark chapter in North Carolina’s history appears to be finally coming to a close," party Chairman Wayne Goodwin said in a statement. "While this is not a perfect deal, it will remove discriminatory legislation from the books and will give our state an opportunity to finally rebuild."

Former Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed House Bill 2 into law and remained a staunch defender of it even as Cooper rode calls to repeal it to election as governor in November, said via Twitter late Tuesday that he hopes the deal succeeds.

"I urge #NCGA & @NC_Governor to finally stick with this deal that still respects privacy and let Supreme Court resolve issue for our nation," McCrory tweeted.

This is the latest in a string of repeal deals to pop up in the General Assembly since December, but none has gone anywhere.

On Tuesday, Berger and Moore announced that they had agreed to a proposal Cooper made last week, only to say that Cooper flatly denied making any proposal.

But the two sides continued to negotiate through the night and into Wednesday.

There was a lot of hurried movement at the General Assembly Wednesday afternoon as Republicans and Democrats caucused behind closed doors and legislative leaders darted between one another’s offices.

The House repeatedly delayed session until Moore adjourned for the night at about 7 p.m.

Cooper also reportedly cleared his schedule Wednesday afternoon to focus on repeal negotiations.


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  • George Brown Mar 30, 2017
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    Jamaica? No she left on her own. fyi

  • Edwin Duncan Mar 30, 2017
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    There will always be a friend or relative that is different. Considering all the articles there is no background to this story detailing the discrimination needed to be stopped. The locker room argument and sports team gender mixing is not going to sell well for boy Trans (need a pronoun here) as the male equipment, testosterone, musculature and aggressiveness is still there. Also girls usually want to have some shelter from males and aggressiveness. At least in my day there was a lot of physical harassment in the locker room. Also there is a lot of teasing and verbal harassment. Whether boy or girl any unwanted contact could quickly turn into unwanted sex charges or Trans harassment lawsuit. It actually seems cruel that a parent would allow their child vulnerable as being different to be exposed to that environment. So, what are the real problems for Trans people? What is the vision for their desired outcome? How do they get there - realistically? Any web links for that?

  • William Sherman Mar 30, 2017
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    I suggest that you read some of the existing laws covering discrimination in all its forms. I believe you will find that federal and state laws do cover the situations you listed. The problem is that they seek enhanced , special considerations due to their lifestyle choices. Alcohol use is a lifestyle choice. Should they be immune to enforcement of existing laws? Tattoos are a lifestyle choice--is that grounds for special rights protecting people who have tattoos from those who do not like them. ? As I said, governmental dictates do not and will not grant legitimacy of their chosen lifestyle and will not compel the larger society to accept them.

  • Laura Wenzel Mar 30, 2017
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    Some friends of mine, who are not gay, and who wanted to share a 2 bedroom apartment, were denied a lease because the landlord
    *thought* they were gay. Discrimination against anyone ultimately affects everyone.

  • Phyllis Jernigan Mar 30, 2017
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    Based on this law, they are not protected under anti-discrimination laws. If someone finds out you are gay, they can fire you for that. They can refuse to rent an apartment to you. I do not mean only in the private sector but the government sector as well. If they are fired or penalized based on their religion, ethnicity, or gender, then, yes, they are protected. But aspects of their personal lives that do not impact their working lives can cause them to become unemployed. As stated below, that's 11,000,000 people--no small number.

    The bathroom aspects of this bill are to actually protect transgender people from very rampant violence and assault against them. Many, many transgender students are beaten up in the bathroom and have faced terrible repercussions. The average lifespan of a transgender person is 35 due to the abuse they suffer. Education administrators have sought to seek help for these children for years.

  • William Sherman Mar 30, 2017
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    [quote=16615145]Post by Phyllis Jernigan[/quoteb To be clear, I am not seeking extra or special rights. My point is that the alphabet soup crowd is asking for special rights over and above those granted to all citizens. The seek special provisions in which they either are allowed to use restroom facilities, dressing rooms, etc. according to how they identify themselves rather than according to their biological identity, They seek special provisions of law which protect them from discrimination based on their gender identity. There already exists adequate and ample number of equal protection laws covering all areas of personal interactions in our society--including all the areas mentioned in your posting. The alphabet soup crowd is seeking a level of governmental protection not available to regular , normal citizens. Again, they ask for inclusion in our normal society, but at the same time they claim that they are different and special deserving of special consideration.

  • Tom Bundick Mar 30, 2017
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    This new bill is confusing. One line clearly states that SL 2016-3 (the law version of HB2) is repealed. But there is a muddy paragraph about preemption that I don't understand. Could someone explain what that means and does?

  • Phyllis Jernigan Mar 30, 2017
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    Seriously, I am asking because I hear this argument on a regular basis: what special rights are being asked for that you do not enjoy? You have, civilly speaking, the right to own a home, keep your job without discrimination against you based on anything other than merit, purchase goods and services, and, yes, get married and enjoy the financial, tax, and healthcare benefits that come from our secular government when you are married. I have not met or seen in the news anyone who was asking for more than what you are allowed, and we are all contributing to society. I honestly have not had anyone explain to me why they view these as special rights.

  • John Archer Mar 30, 2017
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    This "compromise" is nothing but smoke and mirrors to try to get back lost revenue. It does nothing to reverse the discrimination of HB2. The state will remain in the mudhole of backwoods thinking and continue to lose not only special events revenue, but business growth will suffer and jobs will go elsewhere. It's very sad that so many people in the state would rather enshrine their bigotry in law than keep us moving forward.

  • Phyllis Jernigan Mar 30, 2017
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    The Constitution reads "We, the people," not "We, the people who define ourselves only by ethnicity, religion, and gender." Our national motto is "E pluribus unum," which is "out of many, one." Civil rights are not equivalent to the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement was, largely, about racial inequality, but civil rights (small letters) is defined as "the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality." LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Buying a home and keeping a job are not "special" rights--having access to shelter and income to feed yourself are basic rights. This group makes up 3.8% of the US population, as reported by Gallup in 2015. That is 11,020,000 people, roughly. Imagine your stance if 11,000,000 people were out of a job or living on the street. That would be an incredible burden on our economy and taxpayer dollars. In short, discrimination is bad for all.