North Carolina Governor-elect Roy Cooper is working to undo the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2) (aka the “bathroom bill”). Under the law, multiple occupancy bathrooms for government agencies, public schools, and other public spaces were regulated so that those using them were forced to choose the restroom labeled for their “biological sex” or the gender marked on their birth certificate. HB2 means that transgender bathroom users in North Carolina can’t use the facilities based on their gender identity unless they have had it changed on their birth certificate.
Cooper announced that legislators would be holding a special session on Tuesday to repeal HB2. The announcement came after a Charlotte City Council meeting where members voted 10-0 to repeal the local ordinance that led to the controversial bathroom bill, according to the Charlotte Observer.
“Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte’s vote, a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal HB 2 in full,” Roy Cooper said in a statement. “I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 19, 2016
The controversial HB2 bill has caused a lot of problems for businesses in North Carolina. As a result of the anti-LGBT legislation, the state has lost out in hundreds of millions in revenue as many entertainers have refused to make tour stops in the state. Not to mention the upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend, which was originally slated for Charlotte but opted to move the whole event to New Orleans because of HB2. The state lost out on an estimated $500 million in revenue from the NBA All-Star Weekend move alone.
The current governor Pat McCrory has said he would call for the special legislative session if the city of Charlotte repealed their ordinance first. The plan to repeal has been met with disapproval from Republican leaders. They claim that the governor-elect is trying to take credit for the removal of HB2. Berger and Moore have said that when McCrory calls them for a special session, they will act just as they promised for months.
“Today Roy Cooper and Jennifer Roberts proved what we said was the case all along: their efforts to force men into women’s bathrooms and shower facilities was a political stunt to drive out-of-state money into the governor’s race,”
the Republican leaders said.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) December 19, 2016
“For months, we’ve said if Charlotte would repeal its bathroom ordinance that created the problem, we would take up the repeal of HB2. But Roy Cooper is not telling the truth about the legislature committing to call itself into session – we’ve always said that was Gov. McCrory’s decision, and if he calls us back, we will be prepared to act. For Cooper to say otherwise is a dishonest and disingenuous attempt to take credit.”
The unanimous council vote came on Monday after a round of late-night lobbying by Cooper. One of the council members claimed that the governor-elect called her and asked her to vote for the repeal at 10:30 p.m. It is believed that North Carolina has the best chance to repeal HB2 if it is done before new legislators come in next year, so they are trying to get everything set in motion before the end of the year.
While HB2 itself has been incredibly controversial, so has the decision to repeal it. Republican leaders claim that an offer to repeal the costly legislation has been on the table for months but Democratic leaders were interested in making that move after the Republican governor was replaced by the Democrat Governor-elect Roy Cooper and that it was political grandstanding that kept HB2 in place for as long as it was.
[Featured Image Toby Talbot/AP Images]