Deal reached to repeal and replace NC "bathroom bill"

North Carolina lawmakers Thursday are voting on a deal that would repeal the state's controversial "bathroom bill" - a compromise backed by the Democratic governor but decried by LGBT groups that say it would still allow for discrimination. Social conservatives would prefer to have House Bill 2 stay on the books. Berger indicated that the proposed changes to HB2 would allow local governments to enact ordinances but only with the protected classifications established in federal law.

"I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow", he said.

Lawmakers in North Carolina have appeared to reach an agreement to repeal HB2, just before crossing a deadline that would keep NCAA games out of the state until at least 2022.

The NCAA has said decisions would be made starting this week on events from 2018-22. North Carolina cities, schools and other groups have offered more than 130 bids for such events.

The NCAA issued a statement last week saying it would not change its stance on the "bathroom bill", which prevents transgender people from using public restrooms corresponding to the gender with which they identify, and had reportedly set Thursday as the deadline for a repeal.

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

The controversial measure, HB2, was signed into law a year ago and led to widespread backlash against the state.

Though HB2 was repealed in the late-night agreement, regulation of multi-occupancy toilets would be left up to the state, and local authorities won't be able to pass anti-LGBT-discrimination laws until December 2020.

Berger, the GOP Senate leader, said the temporary moratorium on such ordinances is created to "allow federal litigation to play out". But whether or not the deal struck by lawmakers will be satisfy the NCAA remains to be seen. "Instead, they're reinforcing the worst aspects of the law", James Esseks, director of the ACLU LGBT Project, said in the statement. They demanded nothing less than full repeal.

Its passage would seem to underscore the clout possessed by sports organizations who threatened to relocate billions of dollars' worth of events traditionally held in North Carolina if the state did not act to ensure a "discrimination-free atmosphere" for those events by Thursday.

"The initiative is not a repeal", Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, told CNN. Beach-Ferrara is also a Buncombe County commissioner for District 1. Cooper has said he supports the repeal bill.

Republican leaders stated their pleasure with the bill, after a months-long fight between both parties as to how to proceed in repealing the law. "That being said, we will not endorse any one bill; we simply seek a swift compromise that will allow us to begin to fix the reputation of our region and state".

Lawmakers came close to repealing HB2 in December of a year ago but the effort failed, in part because it barred local municipalities from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances for a 6-month period.

  • Larry Hoffman