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New governor of N.C. offers 'bathroom bill' repeal compromise

By Andrew V. Pestano
New governor of N.C. offers 'bathroom bill' repeal compromise
Roy Cooper, a Democrat, was elected governor of North Carolina in November, defeating Gov. Pat McCrory, who had battled the federal government over the state's Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, known as the "bathroom bill." On Tuesday, Gov. Cooper revealed a three-part proposal that would include the repeal of the bill. Photo by Official Office of Governor Roy Cooper.

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday proposed a compromise in an attempt to repeal House Bill 2, the so-called "bathroom bill," which requires people in schools and other government buildings in the state use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the sex they had at birth.

"It's time to repeal HB2 and end this discriminatory law once and for all," Cooper said in a statement on Tuesday.

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House Bill 2, passed by the legislature in March 2016 and signed into law by then Gov. Pat McCrory, also prevented local governments from passing broad anti-discrimination ordinances that affected the LGBT community, which caused a public backlash that led to several organizations, including the NBA, canceling major events in North Carolina.

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Cooper's compromise would fully repeal HB2 but impose tougher penalties for crimes committed in restrooms and locker rooms, and would also require that local governments give North Carolina's legislature 30 days' notice before voting on non-discrimination ordinances.

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Cooper said that local governments' requirement to give 30-day notice "makes sure these ordinances are carefully considered." The governor said he hopes the proposal will bring back jobs to North Carolina.

North Carolina could lose NCAA and ACC championship sports events for six years if HB2 is not repealed, which would cost the state millions of dollars, Cooper said.

The Human Rights Campaign criticized Cooper's compromise as "unnecessary."

"Today's proposal is yet another chance to fix this mess, but it adds unnecessary language addressing problems that simply do not exist. LGBTQ people are the ones at risk every day HB2 remains on the books, and transgender people especially continue to bear the brunt of this shameful politicking," HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof said in a statement. "North Carolinians deserve a full, clean repeal of HB2. When that happens, it will only be the beginning of steps needed to restore the state's deeply tarnished reputation and economy. It's far past time to move North Carolina forward."

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