State Republican leaders responded to Gov. Roy Cooper’s comments on an HB 2 repeal proposal by saying that this is the first they have heard of any compromise.
The bill would repeal the existing HB 2 and beef up punishments for offenders who commit crimes in public restrooms or changing areas. The measure would also requiring a 30-day input period before any locality could pass any anti-discrimination ordinances.
But Lt. Gov. Dan Forest says the proposal is not even close to a compromise and puts women and children at risk.
“If Governor Cooper’s proposed bill for repealing HB 2 becomes law, it will create a state-sanctioned ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ policy in our bathrooms,” he said. “Heterosexual men will be able to access women’s showers and bathrooms by simply posing as a transgender individual. They will be able to watch women and children shower, or shower next to them. As long as the man doesn’t touch them, assault them or film them, no legal protection would be afforded the offended woman or child. Nothing.
“As a husband and father of four, the concept of ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ as a meaningful response to HB 2 is a sad commentary on how far the progressive movement, and the elected officials beholden to it, will risk the safety of our people to achieve a radical social policy agenda.”
Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger’s (R-Rockingham) office said that the press conference was the first that Republicans had heard of the proposed legislation.
Amy Auth, spokeswoman for Berger, said “Gov. Cooper’s press conference is the first we’ve heard of his so-called compromise, so if he has a list of members willing to support his proposal, he should make it public now. Given that Gov. Cooper’s refusal to enforce existing criminal trespass laws as attorney general was a major reason legislators were forced to pass HB 2 in the first place, it is difficult to take seriously his pledge on ‘strengthening penalties.’
“This proposal does nothing to address the basic privacy concerns of women and young girls who do not feel comfortable using the bathroom, undressing and showering in the presence of men, and as we saw in Charlotte last year, it does not require an assault to make a woman feel violated. Gov. Cooper continues to dodge the question, but North Carolinians deserve to know his position on the key HB 2 issue: does he believe men should be able to go into women’s bathrooms and shower facilities?”
The vast majority of the bill deals with ensuring that the named “protected status” classes of a “person’s race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veteran status, or genetic information” are protected in everything from housing and hiring practices to in public and public charter schools.
Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca said in a statement to the media: “I don’t believe the 30-day notice will be enough for proponents of the original legislation to repeal HB2. In essence 30-day notice is about the normal length of period for proposing and passing local ordinances. The legislative proposal was for a longer moratorium period to allow for considered legislation to address the impasse.”