BURLINGTON, N.C. -- One month after the election, North Carolina now knows the next governor will be Roy Cooper. In his first press conference with the media since Gov. Pat McCrory conceded, Cooper stuck to a major campaign promise.
“I think we have to work to repeal House Bill 2 we have to work to fix this. We don’t need discrimination in our laws. We know it is hurting people in their pocketbooks,” Cooper said.
The Facilities Privacy & Securities Act, commonly referred to as House Bill 2, requires people in government buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate, among other things. Coopers promise to repeal is easier said than done.
“Cooper can stand against it, he can hold press conferences, he can meet with groups who are opposed to it,” said Director of the Elon Poll Dr. Jason Husser.
Dr. Husser says the governor has limited power with a Republican super majority in the General Assembly that can override a veto.
“He [Cooper] can try to strike some side deals to whittle away at HB2, but in terms of overturning HB2, the big goal of many Democratic activists, it’s going to be almost impossible for Cooper alone to do that,” Dr. Husser said.
The other tricky part, according to Husser, is the law is viewed as a moral issue and may be difficult for lawmakers to find a compromise.
“No I don’t think there will be a common ground because there are very passionate views on either side,” said Sara-Anne Caudle, who lives in Burlington.
Dr. Husser says the path to changing HB2 may be putting pressure on the Republicans with a special election coming up in November 2017 due to redistricting, trying to chip away at their super majority.
“If he can apply enough pressure, particularly on some of these more vulnerable Republican Senate and House seats, he may be able to shift things enough that Republicans finally just relent and say, 'OK we’re gonna repeal this legislation or at least modify it,'” Dr. Husser said.
Meanwhile House Bill 2 remains in the court system with a court date pushed back to May 2017.