Tweets may have doomed HB2 repeal deal

Posted December 23, 2016

— The tenuous compromise state Democratic and Republican leaders crafted last week to rescind a controversial law limiting LGBT rights may have collapsed under the weight of some ill-timed social media posts.

State lawmakers met for almost 10 hours Wednesday in a special legislative session aimed at repealing House Bill 2 but wound up leaving town without accomplishing anything – aside from getting so frustrated that they blamed each other for their failure.

Now, they could have a new target: Twitter.

"The words in social media by the mayor of Charlotte were not helpful. They hurt the process," Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said Friday. "Other council people in other cities hurt the process during the day, and I think it was very unfortunate."

House Bill 2 was passed in March to nullify a Charlotte ordinance that would have required businesses to allow transgender people to use the public bathroom of their choice. The Charlotte City Council voted this week to roll back its ordinance with the understanding that lawmakers would then repeal the state law.

But lawmakers said Charlotte hadn't completely rescinded its ordinance on Monday as officials said they had – the City Council held an emergency meeting early Wednesday before the legislative session to complete the city's side of the bargain – so Republican legislative leaders insisted on a moratorium on new local nondiscrimination ordinances statewide.

"I don't trust them," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said of Charlotte leaders Wednesday night, explaining the reason for the moratorium.

That essentially killed the deal, with Democrats saying the GOP had reneged on its promise of a repeal-for-repeal deal.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts' personal and official Twitter accounts don't currently contain any posts from Wednesday, although some may have since been deleted. But Dollar also pointed to Durham City Councilman Charlie Reese's Twitter posts as helping to poison the House Bill 2 repeal deal.

"I think it was very clear from social media that other council members in other communities were saying they were preparing to act," Dollar said.

Reese tweeted Monday, when Gov. Pat McCrory called the special session, that communities would soon be able to take action to prevent discrimination.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell said Friday that the City Council had no plans to adopt any nondiscrimination ordinance if House Bill 2 was off the books, and he said he wished local officials would have kept quiet during the sensitive negotiations over House Bill 2.

"When you hear that there are other council members raising issues about what they would do after it's repealed, it's really concerning, and I don't think it's very responsible," Bell said. "I'm not saying that's the reason they didn't repeal it. They had a lot of reasons, but you don't want to give them something to add on to it."

Reese declined to comment, referring to subsequent tweets in which he laughs off the notion that he was responsible for the deal's collapse.

Although distrust on both sides still lingers, Dollar said state leaders plan to continue working on a way to move past House Bill 2, which has led to national scorn for the state and numerous lost conventions, concerts and athletic events, when the General Asseembly reconvenes in January.

"I also believe that people can continue to try and work on this issue to get the appropriate resolution," he said.


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  • Benjamin Kite Dec 27, 2016
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    Because tweets matter.

  • Rick Nolte Dec 27, 2016
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    When will these local communities learn? The winger and bagger state government is going to make it legal to discriminate no matter what! The second you try to bring in human rights, the right goes nuts.

  • Brian Shumack Dec 24, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    I would guess since the Charlotte city coucil couldn't keep their agenda to themselves and put it out their for everyone to read, they took the opportunity to read the relevant information.

  • Linda Reiter Dec 24, 2016
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    Why were they reading tweets and social media instead of focusing on the bill? Sounds like a bunch of middle school kids not wanting to do their classwork.

  • Brian Shumack Dec 24, 2016
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    Glad to see that HB2 still stands. There is no need for an anatomical man to be in the rest room or dressing room with a girl, no matter what he identifies with. No one needs to put my 9 y/o daughter in a room with any nude man. Any other place and a nude man would be arrested for any number of charges.

  • Matt Clinton Dec 24, 2016
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    Well at least Twitter is good for some things!

  • Linda Tally Dec 24, 2016
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    I really don't give a flip whether the Raleigh legislative members are Republicans or Democrats. What I do care about is getting rid of any and all of them who refuse to repeal HB2 totally and quickly. Just flush and get a better crew.

  • Melanie Lane Dec 24, 2016
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    no - republicans using culture wars doomed HB2. Put the blame where it belongs. They have held this state hostage for a year, losing millions in revenue. Losing thousands of jobs. They demanded that Charlotte do a clean bill removing their protections of all their citizens and they still won't remove it.

    President Elect Trump is out tweeting basically wanting to provoke Nuclear war
    and he's fine. He's threatening to remove first amendment rights and that's okay but hey let someone tweet they want to keep civil rights and they can blame others
    They demand being the party of personal responsibility yet take none themselves.

  • Pete Muller Dec 23, 2016
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    The Democrats were not needed to repeal this damaging legislation. Just another excuse by the deplorables in the GA.

  • Carl Keehn Dec 23, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Or, more likely the Legislature went back on their word. The Senate reneged on the agreement, refusing to repeal the act and kicking it down the road.