After a failed attempt to repeal and replace North Carolina’s discriminatory “bathroom bill” in December, the Charlotte Observer reports that lawmakers have reached a new deal to pull the legislation back.
HB 142 will repeal HB2, the law that bans local municipalities from allowing nondiscrimination protections for gender identity or sexual orientation, and requires people use public bathrooms that correspond to the gender identity assigned at birth. NBC reports that the compromise was brokered by two Republicans, House Speaker Tim Moore and state Senate leader Phil Berger, and Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat who opposed the original bill.
However, under the new bill, HB142, the state will retain control of the regulation of multi-occupancy bathrooms under state agencies (including public schools like UNC). It doesn’t allow local government to change ordinances—including the addition of nondiscrimination clauses—until December 1, 2020.
“It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” said Cooper.
Critics of the bill argue that it’s a lighter version of the existing bill which continues to discriminate against trans people. “The initiative is not a repeal,” Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro told CNN. “It’s doubling down on the discrimination that HB2 exacts—it’s HB2.0. It doesn’t allow municipalities to protect people from discrimination till 2020.”
HB2, which was signed into law by former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory one year ago, has been wildly unpopular with pretty much everyone who is not a Republican. The AP estimates that HB2 will cost the state at least $3.76 billion in revenue over the next 12 years due to boycotts from entertainers, businesses, and tourists.
The Senate Rules Committee will vote on the repeal Thursday morning, after which the vote will go to the Senate floor.