RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper attempted to fulfill his campaign promise to repeal House Bill 2 with what he called a compromise.
Democrats filed a bill in the House Tuesday that called for a repeal of HB2, but sought some compromise with Republican leaders. Under the proposal, the penalty for crimes committed in places like bathrooms and locker rooms would increase.
The proposal would also require local governments to give the General Assembly 30 days notice before passing any non-discrimination ordinance. In return, Republicans would agree to repeal HB2.
“I know North Carolinians are tired of hearing about this,” said Gov. Cooper.
The pressure is mounting for the state to decide how to move forward, after the NCAA threatened to remove championship events from North Carolina for the next six years if HB2 remains.
“House Bill 2 has not recruited a single sporting event to North Carolina. House bill 2 has not recruited a single job to North Carolina. House Bill 2 has not made a single North Carolinian safer,” said Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake), who filed the bill.
Other Democratic leaders called the bill a “common sense compromise”, but GOP leaders disagreed.
Senate Pro Tempore Phil Berger said he thought the “compromise” fell flat.
“I don’t see this as a compromise,” he said. “I don’t see this as anything different then what he(Cooper) has been saying all along.”
House Rules Chair Rep. David Lewis (R) said if a repeal were going to happen, it would need to be soon.
“if there’s going to be any action taken that the time frame is probably pretty close at hand,” he said.
Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro was unhappy with the proposal set forth by democrats because he said all that should happen is a complete repeal of HB2.
“No member of the LGBT community is a risk to public safety in a public restroom or anywhere else,” Sgro said. “That conversation is frankly a distraction from the real issue at hand.”
Lt. Governor Dan Forest released a statement in opposition of the compromise, saying:
“If Governor Cooper’s proposed bill for repealing HB2 becomes law, it will create a state-sanctioned ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ policy in our bathrooms. 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 HB2 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.”
On Tuesday, a three judge panel also ruled that Senate confirmation hearings for Cooper’s appointments could continue. Cooper had been fighting the new law, saying no other governor in the state has had to get Senate approval.