Republican leaders announce HB2 repeal proposal

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RALEIGH, N.C. — House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger announced Tuesday they have agreed in principal to a proposal they say came from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.

The bill has four components. It repeals House Bill 2, a preemption of the bathroom and locker room facilities giving the state authority to regulate occupancy facilities. Berger says this will guarantee privacy and safety, and would return things to “the status quo.”

It gives local governments the power to pass employment and non-discrimination ordinances as long as they are consistent with federal law, along with protecting what’s called “the rights of conscience” by “allowing citizens to collect court costs and attorney’s fees if they successfully pursue legal action proving a violation of their constitutional rights,” Berger said.

Berger claimed to have emails from Cooper’s staff proposing the repeal.

Berger also said he made a call to Cooper about this proposal, saying the governor denied this proposal came from his office.

Berger says, “We think the way to solve this issue is through the governor’s proposal with Republican and Democratic votes.”

This comes just two days before an NCAA deadline, determining final locations for championship events through 2022. The NCAA has said it won’t consider North Carolina’s 131 bids unless lawmakers repeal House Bill 2.

House Minority Leader Darren Jackson held a press conference minutes after the Republican leadership, saying Democrats have been left out of the loop on this proposal, calling this a “stunt.”

“I think it stinks,” Jackson said. “They want to pass a bill, make the governor veto it, and lay the blame at his feet.”

Jackson says some of the points can be compromised upon, but is skeptical if the NCAA, ACC, NBA and other business agencies have signed on to this proposal.

“The rug got pulled out from under us again,” Jackson said. “This is all about laying blame and not about fixing the problem.”

Cooper’s spokeman, Ford Porter, released the following statement after Berger’s press conference:

“It’s frustrating that Republican leaders are more interested in political stunts than negotiating a compromise to repeal HB2. While Governor Cooper continues to work for a compromise, there are still issues to be worked out, and Republican leaders’ insistence on including an Indiana-style RFRA provision remains a deal-breaker. Any compromise must work to end discrimination, repair our reputation, and bring back jobs and sports, and a RFRA is proven to do just the opposite.”