CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Charlotte Hornets have issued a joint statement about an amended HB2 legislation first obtained by On Your Side Investigates.
"We have been engaged in dialogue with numerous groups at the city and state levels, but we do not endorse the version of the bill that we understand is currently before the legislature," the statement from the organizations read. "We remain committed to our guiding principles of inclusion, mutual respect and equal protections for all."
The NBA says it was continued to "believe that constructive engagement with all sides is the right path forward."
Tuesday, On Your Side Investigates obtained legislation drafted by leadership in the North Carolina House of Representatives which seeks to walk back portions of House Bill 2, which was 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.
A new version of the draft legislation was obtained by On Your Side Investigates, just one day after the original version was obtained and published.
Among the changes in the draft legislation obtained by On Your Side Investigates on Tuesday were a provision that created a 'certificate of sex reassignment,' another provision that created an anti-discrimination task force and language that restored workers' rights to sue their employers in state courts for discrimination.
A new version of the proposed legislation was sent to Republican house members on Wednesday afternoon following a lengthy meeting of legislative Republicans, including party leaders in both the North Carolina House and Senate as well as Governor Pat McCrory.
Changes to the draft bill include new penalties for trespassing in bathrooms and changing facilities and a blue ribbon commission to study discrimination, among others.
Language in the latest draft of the bill would make it a Class 2 misdemeanor—one level higher than the normal penalty for trespassing—to trespass in a multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility.
The updated bill also changes the anti-discrimination task force called for in the earlier version of the bill to a blue ribbon commission. The task force contemplated in the first draft would have been comprised of members appointed by legislative leaders while the blue ribbon commission would be created by the governor.
The bill's authors also made minor tweaks to the provisions re-establishing the right to file employment law claims in state court.
The draft legislation is the result of months of conversations between leadership in the state legislature, including the Speaker's office, and officials from the NBA, On Your Side Investigates learned.
Charlotte is set to host the 2017 NBA All Star Game, an event whose future has been uncertain since the passage of HB2 this spring.
A person with knowledge of the league's plans, who asked not to be identified to discuss details of the ongoing discussion surround the 2017 All Star Game's future in Charlotte, said passage of the proposed legislation would be a big step in helping the league to make the decision to keep the game in Charlotte.
The discussion have also included executives with the Charlotte Hornets, leaders from the City of Charlotte and other legislative leaders, the person said.
"What the league is looking for is for anyone to be able to use, at any All Star venue, the bathroom associated with their gender identity," the person said, adding that that goal extends to all venues used by NBA teams.
Thursday, the organization said there has been no new decision made regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.