The push to get the latest House Bill 2 repeal bill through the House continued in the legislature on Tuesday with press conferences from both proponents of the bill and opponents of the measure.
HB186 would repeal HB2, give the state the preemptive power of regulating access to changing facilities and places of public accommodation such as public restrooms and showers, and install a 90-day period before any new nondiscrimination ordinances went active. It also would allow municipal voters to collect signatures on a petition to force a referendum on the new ordinance if 10 percent of the voting populace signed a petition. The proposal would also increase penalties on several crimes if committed in changing facilities and bathrooms.
Gov. Roy Cooper, over the weekend, called for legislators to drop the provision from the bill that would give citizens a say when cities pass nondiscrimination ordinances through a referendum.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Democrats and social movement leaders gathered to speak against the compromise bill.
Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham) spoke out HB186, calling for a full repeal of HB2 with no strings attached.
“A clean repeal of HB2 is the way to go,” he said. “There’s no more communal place in American than our restrooms and why anybody should face discrimination when they go into one is beyond me.”
In a separate press conference later the same morning, proponents of the compromise gathered with community and business leaders who are in support of the bill.
Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), who is running the bill in the House, expounded on his plan for passing the bill, which has draw opponents from the edges of the political spectrum on both the left and the right.
“I don’t intend to move the bill out of [the] Rules [Committee] until I know I’ve got the votes to do that. The mathematical formula is rather simple: I need to get about 35 Democrats and put them with about 35 Republicans to give me enough of a margin of error to move the bill in the House,” McGrady said.
Joining the proponents of HB186 during the press conference were members of the Charlotte City Council, Sen. Joel Ford (D-Mecklenburg), members of the House, and representatives of statewide industry associations and business groups that support the bill.
Included in attendance were representatives of the:
- NC Chamber of Commerce
- Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
- Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce
- NC Travel Industry Association
- NC Realtor Association
- NC Restaurant and Lodging Association
- NC Commercial Real Estate Development Association
- Charlotte Sports Foundation
- Charlotte Hospitality & Tourism Association
- Full House Productions
In addition to those, a number of organizations have expressed their support for the bipartisan effort to repeal HB2, including the:
- The University of North Carolina System
- Atlantic Coast Conference
- Asheville Chamber of Commerce
- Mayor of Asheville, Esther Manheimer
- Charlotte Executive Leadership Council
- Research Triangle Regional Partnership
- President of the John William Pope Foundation, John Hood
- Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
- Cary Chamber of Commerce