Lawmakers in North Carolina have appeared to reach an agreement to repeal HB2, just before crossing a deadline that would keep NCAA games out of the state until at least 2022.
At a press conference late last night, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore announced they had brokered a deal with Governor Roy Cooper. House Bill 142, which initially dealt with occupational licensing boards, has been rewritten and will be heard this morning in the Senate Rules Committee.
“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,” it reads, “except in accordance with an act of the General Assembly.”
But, like a previous effort at compromise, the bill bars local governments from passing legislation addressing discrimination in employment and housing until 2020. Berger and Moore say that would give time for lawsuits to be addressed in the courts, but LGBT advocates claim its a deal-breaker.
“Lawmakers must reject this disgraceful backroom deal that uses the rights of LGBT people as a bargaining chip,” said Sarah Gillooly of the ACLU of North Carolina. “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.”
HRC’s Chad Griffin blasted the bargain and said, “Any lawmaker who supports this proposal cannot call themselves an ally of the LGBT community.”
Once HB142 clears committee it still has to pass on the Senate floor and return to the House for a final vote before coming to Gov. Cooper for signing.
“It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” Cooper said in a statement.
Former Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed HB2 and whose loss at the polls last year has been tied to his continued support for it, signaled his support for this latest compromise.
“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.