Surprise Council Vote Throws Ball to Legislature On HB 2 Repeal
Governor-elect Roy Cooper says Republican leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly will call a special session Tuesday to repeal House Bill 2. That follows a surprise move from the Charlotte City Council, which Monday morning voted unanimously to repeal its own expansion of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. Joining host Nick de la Canal for more on this is WFAE’s David Boraks.
DE LA CANAL: Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and city council members considered a similar deal earlier this year. Governor Pat McCrory said he would consider calling a special session to repeal House Bill 2 if Charlotte repealed it’s expanded ordinance first. But the city ultimately rejected that deal. What’s changed? Why now?
BORAKS: Well, Nick, HB 2 is definitely still taking a toll in North Carolina, both in jobs and events, and the state’s reputation as well. Here’s state Senator Jeff Tarte of Cornelius:
TARTE: I think the big thing is let's just reset. Go back to where we were prior to both ordinances. And then let's move forward. Let's not necessarily just drop the topic. But let's get all the stakeholders around the table and work for a collaborative solution going forward that protects everybody appropriately.
Tarte is a state senator from Cornelius, and he thinks there is a will in the legislature to overturn HB 2, if all the stars are aligned right, here.
DE LA CANAL: Some people have objected to the way City Council held its vote on this issue this morning. Is that correct?
BORAKS: That’s right, it came up at a scheduled legislative briefing with members of the Charlotte-area delegation. But there was no advance notice that the ordinance would be discussed at this meeting. It was first reported by WBTV.
The last time this was discussed, many in the LGBT community urged the city not to repeal the ordinance. There was a feeling that we shouldn’t make the first move on this. But I think the needle has really changed on this.
City council member and Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles says the vote was necessary.
LYLES: Taking the action today was a pre-requisite to any change. And we needed this change. We have seen it from every level, from jobs to recruitment of new jobs.
BORAKS: She talked about people in the hospitality industry, for one thing, like at the arena or convention center, who’ve lost the jobs and their incomes. And she thinks it’s time to do something about that.
DE LA CANAL: Both Governor-Elect Roy Cooper and outgoing Governor Pat McCrory have issued statements on this morning’s votes. What have they been saying?
BORAKS: Minutes after the vote, Cooper issued statement saying both Tim Moore and Phil Berger - the legislative leaders - have promised to call special session for tomorrow. That suggests he knew about the vote beforehand
Governor McCrory’s office issued a statement criticizing the city council for the little notice, but said he has always advocated for a repeal of the Charlotte ordinance, and, as promised, he will now call a special session.