House and Senate leadership late Wednesday announced a compromise deal to repeal House Bill 2 — and the deal has the support of Gov. Roy Cooper as well.
The General Assembly passed the bill 32-16 in the Senate and 70-48 in the House.
The bill repealed HB2 and gave the General Assembly authority over regulating the use of “multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.” It would also put a nearly four-year moratorium on local governments enacting or amending ordinances regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations.
Section three of the bill, which includes the moratorium, expires Dec. 1, 2020.
In a joint release, Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said the deal protects privacy in bathrooms and shower facilities by leaving regulation of multi-occupancy facilities to the state and also returns to the status quo that existed prior to Charlotte passing its bathroom ordinance last year.
The four-year moratorium on local ordinances is meant to give federal litigation on the issue time to play out.
“Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy,” Berger and Moore said.
Nine Democrats joined with 23 Republicans in support of the bill. With 48 senators voting on the bill, Republican leadership could not have passed the measure without some Democrat support.
None of the state leaders involved have had much to say about the measure, a stipulation of the deal with Cooper, according to Moore.
“I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow. It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” Cooper said in a written statement.
The deal has already drawn ire from two left-leaning non-profits active in the state, Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
Chris Sgro, executive director if Equality NC, said, “This proposal is a train wreck that would double down on anti-LGBTQ discrimination. North Carolinians want a clean repeal of HB2, and we urge our allies not to sell us out. Those who stand for equality and with LGBTQ people are standing strong against these antics. We’ve got less than 24 hours before the NCAA deadline. There is no time to waste – our leaders must fight for what’s right, and that is full repeal.”
On Wednesday, HRC President Chad Griffin said, “The rumored HB2 ‘deal’ does nothing more than double-down on discrimination and would ensure North Carolina remains the worst state in the nation for LGBTQ people. The consequences of this hateful law will only continue without full repeal of HB2. Sellouts cave under pressure. Leaders fight for what’s right.”
The bill being used to run the repeal began life as an occupational licensure oversight bill but was gutted and changed with a proposed committee substitute Thursday morning.