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Controversy abounds over HB2 repeal ‘compromise’

LGBTQ advocates call the bill ‘HB 2.0’

RALEIGH, N.C. — The controversy surrounding House Bill 2 (HB2) sees developments every day. The anti-LGBTQ legislation, which mandates public restroom use by birth sex and nullifies local non-discrimination protections, has had received massive pushback from advocates and allies. In the interest of keeping our readers informed, qnotes breaks down the avalanche of headlines and provides a comprehensive synopsis breakdown of HB2 news.

Feb. 16

In response to Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed HB2 repeal, which also doubles down on punishments for sexual assault in public facilities, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest released a statement saying, “If Governor Cooper’s proposed bill for repealing HB2 becomes law, it will create a state-sanctioned ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ policy in our bathrooms…As long as the man doesn’t touch them, assault them or film them, no legal protection would be afforded the offended woman or child.” Politifact rated this comment as a “pants on fire” lie.

The Charlotte Observer reported that newly-released emails show former Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB2 after receiving poll results showing that it would be popular with voters. Opponents of the law spoke out; “The realization that Pat McCrory poll-tested HB2 before signing HB2 shows that motives behind this discriminatory law were just crass politics to get re-elected, not a real concern for public safety,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director at Progress NC Action.

Feb. 22

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan discussed HB2 before a Charlotte audience. Moynihan said that the legislation is hurting North Carolina’s economy by preventing companies and organizations from bringing jobs, conventions and other events to the state.

An HB2 repeal bill, House Bill 186, was introduced by Republican Rep. Chuck McGrady in the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA). The repeal would not be clean; while it would repeal HB2, it would also limit local non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people by requiring that such ordinances undergo a referendum process. McGrady said “This is not a take-it-or-leave-it bill …This is the best starting point we’ve had up until now.” Equality North Carolina and the Human Rights Campaign called the proposal “HB 2.0.” The ACLU and Lambda Legal, serving as counsel for several lawsuits against HB2, came out strongly opposed to HB186.

Feb. 23

Progress NC Action organized a gathering of Triad business owners outside the Greensboro Coliseum to protest HB2. The demonstrators pushed for full repeal before the NCAA fulfills its threat to pull six years of games from the state. Small business owners are especially concerned by the economic impact of companies and organizations removing events from North Carolina.

Feb. 24

The NAACP announced a boycott against North Carolina and urged other organizations to do the same. Committing to moving its convention from the state, NAACP leadership cited HB2, as well as voting laws and the GOP’s efforts to dilute Gov. Cooper’s powers.

Rep. Rodney Moore (D-Mecklenburg) pulled his sponsorship of HB186. Moore told WRAL that prior to the bill’s introduction, his co-sponsors had “assured me there would be some negotiations on the referendum and other points.” The referendum process would require any potential non-discrimination protections to be confirmed by the majority; essentially, the process would put civil rights up to a vote. Moore has since received word that this provision is non-negotiable and hence pulled his sponsorship of “HB 2.0.”

Feb. 25

ACC Commissioner John Swofford released a statement saying that the organization felt encouraged by the bi-partisan nature of HB 186. Swofford said that “If legislation is passed that resets the law as it was prior to HB2, it will present the opportunity to reopen the discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships being in the state of North Carolina.”

Feb. 27

Rep. McGrady admitted his unwillingness to compromise on HB186 in a Facebook video: “I’m just going to stick with my bill and if the speaker or the pro tem tells me I need to make some changes I’ll consider it.” McGrady called on Gov. Roy Cooper, who already came out opposed to the referendum provision, to advance HB186.

Feb. 28

House Speaker Tim Moore told WBTV “In all candor, the governor should not be involved [in HB186]; this should be members of the legislature doing this.”

Equality North Carolina joined local business owners and Sen. Terry Van Duyn at the North Carolina General Assembly to push for a full repeal of HB2. Executives testified about lost profits and the need for a clean repeal.