RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory met privately with a joint caucus of Republican legislators Wednesday morning, On Your Side Investigates has learned.
The meeting comes less than 24 hours after WBTV obtained a draft bill that seeks to walk back portions of the controversial House Bill 2, passed during a special session this spring restricting the rights of transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice.
House Bill 2 requires individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate, among other things. The bill was passed in a one-day special session and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory later that night.
Lawmakers said the legislation had to be pushed through the legislature before an ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council weeks earlier, which allowed individuals to use the bathroom of their choosing, took effect.
The bill's passage ignited a firestorm of controversy that has captured national attention and prompted discussion on how best to accommodate transgender individuals.
Among the draft bill's biggest changes is the creation of an official document that would recognize a person's gender reassignment. The new document, which is treated as the equivalent as a birth certificate in the draft legislation, is referred to as a certificate of sex reassignment.
The draft bill also amends portions of HB2 related to protections for employees by adding specific references to federal statutes that provide special protections for certain groups of people. Other changes in the draft legislation increase the penalties for suspects convicted of committing certain offenses in a multi-person bathroom or changing facility.
Tuesday, a source familiar with the inner workings of the House Republican Caucus, where legislation is typically discussed prior to being introduced for debate by the full body, said caucus members had not yet been briefed on the legislation.
The News & Observer, in Raleigh, reported that the meeting with McCrory and the Republican caucus was still happening at noon Wednesday.
The newspaper said McCrory emerged from a small conference room with Senate leader Phil Berger, then entered a larger room where House and Senate Republicans were meeting. Both declined to comment as they passed a gaggle of reporters. Applause could be heard from the room a few minutes later.
Some lawmakers and equality groups have said the draft bill doesn't do enough and House Bill 2 needs to be repealed in its entirety.