Cooper Proposes Repeal of HB2 With Two Other Provisions
Democrats have another proposal to repeal HB2. This one offered by Governor Roy Cooper at a time when lawmakers are under a lot of pressure to do away with the law. Cooper calls it a "common sense compromise." Republican leaders and LGBT advocates have their doubts.
Republican State Senator Jeff Tarte of Mecklenburg County will tell you there's massive urgency to repeal HB2.
"Everybody is talking about it every day, whether we're here in Raleigh or back in our districts. It's top of mind with everybody," says Tarte.
Last week, the NCAA sent word that North Carolina could lose all its 133 bids to host sports events over the next six years, unless something is done with HB2 this month.
"We know there are implications of doing nothing, which are going to impact so many decisions and businesses and athletic events," says Tarte.
House and Senate Democratic leaders flanked Cooper as he made his proposal:
"There are some North Carolinians concerned about safety in public bathrooms. Regardless of whether I believe HB2 addresses that problem in any way, I want to say this: I hear you."
So part of the plan is to increase penalties for crimes in bathrooms and locker rooms. A deal to repeal HB2 fell apart in December when some Republican lawmakers said they worried municipalities would immediately pass non-discrimination ordinances. Cooper says his latest proposal would require communities to give the public and the legislature a 30-day notice before voting on such measures.
"It will address the concerns of those who worry about bathroom safety, security, and privacy, as well as those who have concerns about hastily passed local anti-discrimination ordinances. And this proposal will begin to repair the damage to North Carolina's reputation," said Cooper.
The initial plan didn’t go over well with many people on different sides. Senate Leader Phil Berger's spokeswoman referred to it as a "so-called compromise."
He She said it "does nothing to address the basic privacy concerns of women and young girls."
Another Republican, Representative Craig Horn of Union County said the notification period wouldn't do much to allay his concerns that every city would have a different set of rules.
"Notification, so what? I'm going to notify you 30 days ahead of time that I'm going to slug you. Well, wait a minute. I don't want to be slugged," said Horn.
Meanwhile, the LGBT advocacy group Equality NC called it a distraction from a "full and unequivocal repeal of HB2."