RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - House Republicans plan to include language to alter part of House Bill 2 in an upcoming technical corrections bill, On Your Side Investigates has learned.
The move comes days after WBTV learned that legislation drafted by leadership in the North Carolina House of Representatives will seek 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 and took away the ability of employees to sue their employers in state court for discrimination or wrongful termination, among other things.
The bill was passed in a one-day special session and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory later that night.
Friday, House Republican leaders said the change to HB2 that would happen this session would be to restoration the right to sue employers in state court.
The limited changes come at the end of a week of turmoil surrounding a larger bill that would have changed multiple parts of HB2.
On Your Side Investigates obtained and published the draft legislation Tuesday. The next day, a new version of the proposed legislation was sent to Republican house members following a lengthy meeting of legislative Republicans, including party leaders in both the North Carolina House and Senate as well as Governor Pat McCrory.
On Wednesday, House leaders made changes to the draft bill to 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 upcoming technical corrections bill is expected to be heard in the House Rules Committee Friday afternoon.
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 NBA released a joint statement with the Charlotte Hornets saying it did not endorse the proposed changes shown in the draft legislation.
"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." The organization said there has been no new decision made regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.