The bill they’ve filed (SB4) does repeal HB2, including its restrictions mandating what bathrooms transgender people may use. However, it also creates a “Six-Month Cooling-Off Period,” in which no municipality in the state may pass any laws related to employment or public accommodations, specifically noting “access to restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.”
The Charlotte City Council had agreed to a dark bargain this week, in which they repealed their LGBT nondiscrimination protections ordinance in exchange for state lawmakers repealing HB2. Governor-elect Roy Cooper brokered this agreement, proclaiming that the legislature would “repeal HB2 in full.”
It’s possible members of the Council assumed that they could repass their LGBT protections as soon as lawmakers held up their end of the bargain. But now, they will have to wait six months before they can act. That’s another six months that LGBT people in Charlotte will have no explicit legal recourse at the state or local level if they experience discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations.
In other words, state Republicans broke the deal. HB2 prohibited municipalities like Charlotte from passing such protections, and if that ban remains in place, then HB2 isn’t fully repealed.
Cooper seems to have the same impression. After the bill’s language was revealed, he apparently started telling Democrats to oppose supporting the repeal bill because of the 180-day moratorium.
Rep. Chris Sgro (D), who is also executive director of Equality North Carolina, called the repeal bill “HB2.2.”
Republican state lawmakers have been underhanded in their approach to debating the HB2 repeal all year. They have blamed Charlotte’s attempt to protect LGBT people for the massive economic backlash the state has faced for their attempt to impose discrimination on LGBT people. Twice they offered Charlotte the same “compromise,” but later admitted that they would never have fully repealed HB2.
The third time was apparently not the charm, either.
UPDATE: The North Carolina GOP is now continuing its attempts to politically manipulate the situation. After lawmakers failed to offer up a clean repeal bill, NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse attacked Governor-elect Roy Cooper for flip-flopping on his support for repeal. He argued that the repeal bill “simply has teeth.”
So twice before the election Roy Cooper kills a repeal/Repeal Deal. Now after being against a repeal deal, after the election he was for it. Now he is against it again because the repeal simply has teeth, to make sure our “long national Nightmare is over.”
It is clear Coopers only motivation here is political, first last and always. And the people of North Carolina who support repeal should know Cooper sold them down the river with a wink and a nod, to radical leftists who were waiting for the repeal and start this destructive fight all over.
UPDATE: After recessing much of the afternoon, it seems lawmakers might be abandoning any attempt to pass anything. It seems that without the support of Democrats, there were not enough Republican votes to actually pass the repeal bill that includes a “cooling off period.” If that holds true into the evening, the NC GOP will have not only failed to pass a shoddy HB2 repeal bill; they will have failed to pass any repeal bill at all.
UPDATE: At 6:20 p.m., the Senate approved an amendment to the repeal bill extending the six-month moratorium on local protections until the end of the 2017 legislative session. In other words, the deal got worse, because North Carolina Republicans refuse to vote for a bill that will still allow cities to protect LGBT people from discrimination.
UPDATE: The Senate’s last attempt was to consider two separate bills, a clean repeal of HB2 following which they’d consider the moratorium on municipal protections. The repeal bill was defeated 16–32, so the Senate adjourned.
Author: Zack Ford