Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed House Bill 2 repeal compromise Tuesday was the latest in a series of four bills introduced by Democrats in recent weeks.
All would repeal House Bill 2, the controversial LGBT law that threatens to cost North Carolina years of NCAA and other sports events. But three of the four proposals go beyond simply repealing HB2, with some adding provisions intended to attract Republican support.
So far, no Republican lawmakers have announced support for any of the proposals, so there’s a good chance none of them will get a hearing at the legislature. But the bills show a Democratic Party that’s united in opposition to HB2 yet divided on exactly how accomplish that goal.
Here’s a look at the four HB2 repeal bills:
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Who’s backing it: Sen. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte with six co-sponsors: Sen. Angela Bryant of Rocky Mount, Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham, Sen. Valerie Foushee of Hillsborough, Sen. Paul Lowe of Winston-Salem, Sen. Gladys Robinson of Greensboro and Sen. Joyce Waddell of Mecklenburg County
What it does: Repeals HB2 and restores local nondiscrimination ordinances that were struck down by HB2
Who’s backing it: The LGBT advocacy groups Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina held a news conference last week to introduce the bill. The primary sponsors are Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro, Rep. Susan Fisher of Asheville, Rep. Deb Butler of Wilmington and Rep. John Autry of Charlotte. As of Tuesday, 21 additional House Democrats had signed the bill as co-sponsors. And on Tuesday, an identical companion bill was filed in the Senate by Sens. Jay Chaudhuri of Raleigh, Mike Woodard of Durham and Terry Van Duyn of Asheville.
What it does: In addition to repealing HB2, it would create a broad statewide nondiscrimination law that would include sexual orientation, gender identity, military veteran status and other categories. It would ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations – including bathroom access for transgender people. The bill says “a place of public accommodation shall provide access to (bathroom) facilities based on a person’s gender identity.”
That provision is similar to the Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance that led to HB2 amid Republicans’ fears that sexual predators might use the provision to access the opposite gender’s bathroom facilities.
Who’s backing it: Rep. Cecil Brockman of High Point, with Rep. Larry Bell of Clinton and Rep. Yvonne Holley of Raleigh signing on as co-sponsors.
What it does: This bill also features a statewide nondiscrimination law identical to HB82, but it also adds tougher penalties for crimes committed in bathrooms – something Brockman says could help address Republicans’ safety fears. His bill includes longer minimum prison sentences for people who commit rape or other sex crimes while in a changing facility designated for the opposite sex.
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Who’s backing it: Cooper, House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson of Knightdale and Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue of Raleigh
What it does: In addition to repealing HB2, Cooper wants to require local governments to give the legislature 30 days’ notice before passing nondiscrimination ordinances. His proposal also includes tougher penalties for crimes committed in bathroom, including longer prison sentences.
N.C. Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse calls on Gov. Roy Cooper to find a compromise on House Bill 2 and criticizes Cooper and attorney general Josh Stein for their opposition to President Donald Trump's immigration order.