Another effort at 'bathroom bill' fix fizzles

Senate leader Phil Berger and House of Representatives Speaker Tim Moore announced the news to the public, though further details on the lawmakers' reported deal are unknown.

GOP leaders announced the new legislation would be debated and voted on Thursday, but it was unclear whether there were enough House and Senate votes to pass it.

Gov. Roy Cooper reportedly cleared his schedule to focus on negotiations for a House Bill 2 repeal.

Among the voices of support for the compromise is former N.C. Governor Pat McCrory, who sent out a tweet late Wednesday urging the General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper "to finally stick with this deal that still respects privacy and let Supreme Court resolve issue for our nation".

The new law would prevent local governments from passing new nondiscrimination protections for workplaces, hotels and restaurants until December 2020.

On Thursday morning, the state Senate will vote on the repeal.

The announcement came after the NCAA said North Carolina sites won't be considered for championship events from 2018 to 2022 "absent any change" in House Bill 2, which it views as discrimination.

Its largest city, Charlotte, lost the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star game, which was moved to another state.

And even though the state says it's now planning to do away with it, LGBT groups say it's a "repeal" in name only.

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said: "At its core, it's a state-wide prohibition on equality". The state's bathroom ordinance required that all persons use restrooms that correspond to their assigned gender at birth.

In fact, under the deal, private businesses will still be allowed to deny trans people the bathroom for their gender identity - and local governments will be powerless to stop them from this kind of discrimination.

The American Civil Liberties Union released a statement opposing the repeal of HB 2.

LGBT groups immediately criticized the deal, saying it's a "repeal" in name only - with one advocate calling it "HB2.0" - and that it fails to protect transgender people from discrimination.

"There can be no compromise on civil rights, and HB2 has proven this over the previous year", she said.

Jackson said the Republican evening news conference was part of an effort to pass a bill and "make the governor veto it and lay the blame at his feet when they can't fix it".

He said he supported the compromise. That session was called after Charlotte abandoned its nondiscrimination ordinance, an action that was aimed specifically at clearing the path for state legislators to then scrap H.B. 2.

"Last year, the NCAA Board of Governors relocated NCAA championships scheduled in North Carolina because of the cumulative impact HB2 had on local communities' ability to assure a safe, healthy, discrimination free atmosphere for all those watching and participating in our events".

A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access adorns the bathroom stalls at the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina May 3, 2016.

  • Leroy Wright