A proposed deal to repeal North
Carolina's House Bill 2 disappeared within minutes after it was
announced on Tuesday by Republican leaders.
At an evening press conference, Senate
President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore announced
that they had agreed in principle to a proposed repeal by Democratic
Governor Roy Cooper.
Cooper, however, has denied ever making
such a proposal.
House Bill 2 was approved last March
during a one-day special session. It blocks cities and
municipalities from enacting LGBT protections and prohibits
transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice in many
A recent AP survey estimated the cost
of lost business from the “bathroom bill” at $3.7 billion over
the next 12 years.
The proposal outlined by Moore and
Berger would keep many of the provisions found in the law, including
preventing cities from making bathroom access rules, limiting local
non-discrimination ordinances from exceeding federal guidelines –
federal law does not include LGBT protections – and allowing people
who claim their “rights of conscience” are being infringed to
LGBT rights groups criticized the plan.
“This is not a repeal proposal,”
said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro, “and it's not going
to do anything to address the discrimination contained in HB2 or
bring the NCAA and business back to our fine state. This is the most
blatantly transparent attempt they've made yet to shift the blame to
anyone other than themselves. Tonight's political stunt by Phil
Berger and Tim Moore is yet another unfortunate example that North
Carolina voters deserve more from their leaders.”
“They are literally proposing to pile
a 'super RFRA' on top of some of the most egregious parts of HB2,”
said Cathryn Oakley, senior legislative counsel at the Human Rights
Campaign (HRC). “It's outrageous, poorly conceived, and a divisive
distraction from the matter at hand – that Republican leadership is
refusing to allow the full and unequivocal repeal of HB2.”
The NCAA previously gave the state
until Thursday to repeal the law or risk losing events in the state.
warns North Carolina to repeal anti-LGBT law or risk losing