North Carolina lawmakers vote to undo 'bathroom bill'

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said he has signed the repeal measure, which he said is "not perfect" but is "an important step forward". "I'm going to fight every single day for LGBT protections", Cooper said. Both Cooper and the Republican House speaker said they expected the NCAA to once again schedule events in the state, even though the organization had yet to make a statement.

They also object to this language: "No local government in this state may enact or amend an ordinance regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations" until December 2020.

HB2 supporters argued that the bathroom law was needed to preserve people's privacy and protect them from sexual predators.

"This law does not repeal HB2, it doubles down on discrimination", said Cathryn Oakley HRC Senior Legislative Counsel at a press conference in Raleigh Thursday morning before the votes.

"But it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to fix our reputation", he said.

The deal leaves regulation of bathrooms exclusively in control of the state, meaning that cities and local governments can't pass their own anti-discrimination laws until December 2020.

It curbs legal protections for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people and, in perhaps its most contentious measure, requires transgender people in public buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate.

The NCAA already pulled championship events from the state this year because of HB2.

Cooper, who was elected governor last November with support from LGBT forces and on a platform that included a complete repeal of HB2, said in a release that he supported the compromise unveiled Wednesday shortly before midnight by GOP lawmakers. "This is not a repeal of HB2".

Republican Sen. Dan Bishop, a primary sponsor of HB2, denounced the new deal on the Senate floor, where it was approved 32-16, with nine of 15 Democrats among the yes votes.

"HB2 was hastily passed without any input from the LGBTQ community just one year ago", said Chris Sgro Equality NC Executive Director.

The NCAA hasn't commented yet, but recently it noted in a statement and on Twitter that "The NCAA Board of Governors relocated NCAA championships because of the cumulative impact HB2 had on local communities' ability to ensure a safe, healthy, discrimination-free atmosphere for all those watching and participating in our events".

The Republican-controlled legislature passed HB2 in response to a Charlotte ordinance that allowed transgender people to use restroom aligned with their gender identity.

The passage of HB2 past year triggered a massive outcry and prompted businesses, entertainers and sports leagues to boycott the state.

According to Moore and Berger, the bill leaves regulation of "multi-occupancy facilities to the state" and puts in place a "temporary moratorium on local ordinances similar to Charlotte's until December 1, 2020, to allow federal litigation to play out". Moreover, the vote on HB142 comes mere hours ahead of an NCAA decision that would result in the state losing the chance to host future championship games, should HB2 stand.

The NCAA already removed championship events this year from North Carolina.

Cohen, who was student manager under legendary UNC coach Dean Smith in the late 1970s, said he is disappointed that GOP and Democratic leaders haven't found a compromise to save the state's college sports events. Opponents said that was nonsense and that the danger was imaginary. The proposed bill comes days after the release of an Associated Press report, which estimates HB2 would cost North Carolina almost $4 billion in lost business revenue by 2029.

  • Joanne Flowers