N.C. voters favor HB2 repeal, blame Republicans for failure

Cooper continues to talk repeal with NCGA leaders

RALEIGH, N.C. — A recent poll by Public Policy Polling surveyed voters on key issues pushed by newly-elected Gov. Roy Cooper: HB2 repeal and Medicaid expansion. The poll found that 50 percent of voters oppose HB2 compared to 32 percent who support it.

Gov. Cooper has continued to push for repeal, and says that talks have continued with North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) leaders House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger. The GOP leaders, Cooper attests, want the majority of Republicans to support repeal before they bring it to a vote.

“My argument to them is that there are enough overall votes, even if you don’t have a majority [in the] Republican caucuses, to pass repeal,” Gov. Cooper said. “I’m urging them to do so. It’s too important to our state.”

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That importance is not limited to North Carolina’s LGBTQ population. The same NCDP poll found that 58 percent of voters think that HB2 is harming the state. The economic impact of HB2 has been well-documented, with recent numbers showing hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business from events and expansions canceled in protest of the discriminatory law.

The law came close to repeal in a December special session of the NCGA. The City of Charlotte had fully repealed the non-discrimination ordinance that was supposedly the trigger for HB2’s conception, in a show of good faith that NCGA would repeal the law. The state legislature failed to do so, after Republicans tried to add a stipulation banning local non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.

Who’s to blame for the failed repeal has been highly debated, with GOP leaders pointing to distrust of Charlotte. However, the NCDP poll found that 73 percent of voters blame the General Assembly, with 68 percent specifically naming Republican legislators.

These legislators’ support of HB2 has always been attributed to “commonsense” safety precautions for woman and children, who may supposedly be at risk for harassment in bathrooms. However, the poll found that only 26 percent of women think HB2 had made the state safer, and 52 percent of all voters believe it’s done nothing to promote safety.

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Meanwhile, Gov. Cooper has advised the City of Charlotte not to re-enact their ordinance, which some councilmembers had suggested.

“Charlotte has taken the step that Republican leaders wanted them to take,” Cooper said. “Now we need to keep pushing the legislature. The ball’s in their court. It’s time for them to act.”

Despite the ordinance repeal, Charlotte leaders have not wavered in their desire to protect the LGBTQ community.

“We want to figure out some way forward that repeals HB2 and also sets in place some way to recognize that everyone deserves protection,” Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said. “We have to let our cities be cities.”

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