Some voters may be wondering where their legislative representatives stand today on North Carolina's House Bill Two. A direct answer may be more elusive than you think.
WFAE recently requested interviews with Republican lawmakers from Mecklenburg County who helped pass HB2, and are running for reelection. Rep. Dan Bishop, a primary sponsor of the bill, didn't respond to multiple requests. Neither did GOP colleagues John Bradford and Rob Bryan.
We did reach Rep. William Brawley of Matthews, who said: "I do not want to be interviewed on that subject at this time." When asked why, he repeated: "I would prefer not to be interviewed on that subject at this time."
Republican legislators in the Charlotte and Raleigh areas are in a tough spot, according to NC State political science professor Andrew Taylor. "Not only do you have the suburban Republican voters who may be socially a little liberal," says Taylor. "Also, you've seen a disproportionate hit from decisions made not only by corporations but also the NCAA, ACC, to pull resources,events, etc. out."
Taylor adds that GOP legislators don't want to alienate a base of support from voters who favor HB2. What's more, he says, even calling for a repeal or major changes to the law now may not win the support of HB2 critics. "You're sort of damned if you do repudiate it and damned if you don't," says Taylor. "It's a no-win situation."
A handful of Republican lawmakers have called for a repeal and fresh start on House Bill Two. Rep. Bradford and Senator Jeff Tarte last month proposed a "full repeal," saying it's time to "start over." But the proposal hinged on a repeal of Charlotte's ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use the public restroom of their choice. That hasn't happened.
Senator Tarte also declined WFAE's recent request for an interview. His political consultant, Larry Shaheen, cited the "heated political climate," adding that any discussions beyond Tarte's repeal proposal in September "are not germane at this time."