To Appease Lawmakers, City Council Re-Does Its Repeal
It’s been another day of surprises with House Bill 2, Charlotte, and the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. The Charlotte City Council met again Wednesday morning to take action aimed at convincing state lawmakers to repeal House Bill 2.
That’s what council did Monday, too. Whether it’ll work still isn’t clear.
On Monday, the council deleted three ordinances still on the city books, but which have been superseded by state laws. They included the cable TV ordinance, the business license tax, and the non-discrimination ordinance - which expanded protections to LGBT people.
The latter was part of a deal with Republican legislative leaders to help win repeal of the controversial House Bill 2, which overturned the ordinance.
Monday's vote did leave in one part of the nondiscrimination ordinance that the city attorney says was not overturned by the state’s House Bill 2 – a section dealing with how city contractors treat their customers and suppliers.
That upset some Republican lawmakers and threatened to scuttle the deal to repeal HB 2. They said the city failed to fully repeal its nondiscrimination ordinance, and accused the council of trickery
So the council met again to cancel Monday's unanimous action, and adopt a broader - and simpler - repeal.
City council member Vi Lyles says the council has been acting in good faith:
LYLES: What I would hope is that we see trust developing between Raleigh and Charlotte.
Q: Can you say what you were thinking on Monday, I mean did you believe you were keeping up the arrangement?
LYLES: I absolutely believe that we acted with positive intent.
But two council members - Lawana Mayfield and Al Austin – cast “no” votes on the repeal re-do Wednesday. Mayfield says it lacked a key ingredient in Monday's resolution: a deadline for lawmakers to repeal HB 2.
“I did not feel this morning that the efforts made were in good faith being reciprocated by General Assembly. And also there was no language in there stating a December 31 deadline,” Mayfield said.
One more thing: HB 2 did have a benefit - it established the first statewide non-discrimination policy, though one that didn’t include sexual orientation. If HB 2 goes away, so do those statewide protections.
But not in Charlotte. The way the council re-did its ordinance repeal, city rules are now back where they were in February before it was expanded.
City of Charlotte web page on the non-discrimination ordinance, with city statements and revised ordinance text, http://charlottenc.gov/NonDiscrimination/Pages/default.aspx