RALEIGH, N.C. — A bill introduced by three Democratic senators would repeal House Bill 2.
The North Carolina law has been in the books for nearly a year and has grabbed national attention. It prevents local municipalities from passing non-discrimination ordinances, along with requiring people in government-owned buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate. That portion of the bill has upset advocates of the LGBTQ communities.
Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg) introduced the bill today, telling FOX8, “Repealing HB2 has to be a top priority. This is our first full week of session, let’s do the right thing — what most of the state wants us to do — and what I believe most legislators in North Carolina want to do is to repeal HB2 and get past this stain on our state’s history. Start bringing money back into the state, start bringing jobs back into the state.”
Last time the General Assembly tried to repeal HB2, Sen. Phil Berger proposed a repeal bill during the special session in December 2016 that had a moratorium attached where local governments could not pass non-discrimination ordinances until a period after the long session. Berger referred to it as a “cool down period,” citing a mistrust between the General Assembly and local city councils.
“I don’t think that that would happen, and clearly we’re going to be on a path to implementing non-discrimination ordinances in various cities across the state as those cities should have a right to do, but I don’t think it would be immediate. I think cities are going to engage the General Assembly assuming that HB2 is repealed and work out something that both sides can live with at least temporarily,” Jackson said.
A vote to repeal HB2 with the moratorium attached failed 32-16 in the Senate. Democratic lawmakers hope that a fresh session will give them a fresh chance at a clean repeal.
“I think we do have a chance at getting a clean repeal because the business community is putting an enormous amount of pressure on the Republican leadership to pass just that. If they start attaching strings and conditions to it, it’s not going to solve the economic problem that North Carolina is facing where we’ve basically been pushed out of the modern economy in different sectors because we have this discriminatory law on our books. Unless we do a full, clean repeal, there’s a chance we won’t be able to end the boycott we are facing, the implicit boycott.”
Shelly Carver, spokesperson for Sen. Berger, released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
“Sen. Berger and roughly half of our Republican caucus have already voted on a clean repeal of HB2, and it would have passed if Gov. Cooper had not directed all Democrats to vote against it. Sen. Berger has told Gov. Cooper that it will take compromise to move past the distraction of HB2 and that he should explain his position on whether women and young girls should be forced to share bathrooms and school locker rooms with men. We have not seen the media ask the governor to explain where he stands on allowing men into women’s locker rooms, and we will reserve further comment on HB2 until we see his position reported.”
Gov Roy Cooper’s spokesperson Ford Porter released the following statement Wednesday evening:
“The votes existed in both chambers in December, and legislative leaders could bring the bill to the floor to repeal this law today. Governor Cooper is hopeful that politics can be set aside in the interest of North Carolina’s economy, and he will continue to work with members of both parties to reach an agreement to undo the damage this law has caused.”