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Council Disappointed, Pessmistic After HB 2 Repeal Fails

Mayor Jennifer Roberts
David Boraks

Charlotte city officials say they're disappointed that lawmakers failed to repeal the state's controversial House Bill 2 during Wednesday's special session of the legislature. The repeal could come up again during the General Assembly's regular session next month, but some city council members aren't holding out much hope.

An official statement from the City of Charlotte calls lawmakers' failure to follow through on a deal to repeal HB 2 unfortunate. Here’s Mayor Jennifer Roberts.

“I am extremely disappointed; we did everything that the Republican leaders in the General Assembly asked us to do,” Roberts said.

The city’s statement pledges continued cooperation with the General Assembly. But individually, some council members are pessimistic

“Yesterday was the best chance we had to resolve  this issue. But hopefully it's not the last chance. But my hope on ending this macabre chapter in the state of North Carolina diminishes a little bit more every day,” said Democratic council member John Autry.  

John Autry
John Autry

He voted for the city council's end of the deal with legislators this week, to repeal Charlotte's nondiscrimination ordinance. It was only symbolic, since the ordinance was overturned by HB 2.

Autry says the council acted in good faith, but got a busted deal from lawmakers in return.

“They apparently are fine with the economic havoc that HB 2 continues to wreak upon North Carolina and obviously appreciate the concept of to continue to be the butt of late-night comedians' jokes,” Mayfield said.

Credit Courtesy of Lawana Mayfield
LaWana Mayfield

Council member LaWana Mayfield voted for the repeal Monday, but changed her mind Wednesday when council voted again to repeal its non-discrimination ordinance. Mayfield says she doesn't trust Republican lawmakers. If they really wanted to repeal HB2, she says they could do it on their own their own, since they have a supermajority.

“They didn't need Charlotte when they rushed to create this legislation. They didn't need Charlotte to repeal this legislation,” Mayfield said.

Some lawmakers think HB 2 repeal could come again up during the full session that begins January 11.

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.