ACC Commissioner: 'Encouraged' to see bipartisan effort behind p - | WBTV Charlotte

ACC Commissioner: 'Encouraged' to see bipartisan effort behind push to repeal HB2

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)
RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -

The head of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has issued a statement calling new legislation that seeks to repeal the state's controversial House Bill 2 "encouraging."

In a statement released Saturday, ACC Commissioner John Swofford said he was encouraged that "a bipartisan effort has been initiated in the North Carolina General Assembly regarding HB2."

House Bill 186 was introduced with bipartisan support Wednesday in the North Carolina House of Representatives. It was filed by two Republicans and two Democrats. Thursday, 15 additional lawmakers signed on as sponsors of the bill; three additional Democrats and twelve Republicans.

The bill seeks to fully repeal HB2 and update the state's non-discrimination laws to match federal protections. 

State colleges and universities, along with some other organizations, would have the option to expand their non-discrimination policies beyond those spelled out in the bill. 

WEB EXTRA: Click here to read House Bill 186

"If legislation is pass that resets the law as it was prior to HB2, it will present the opportunity to reopen discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships being in the state of North Carolina," Swofford continued. "The ACC is pleased the legislature is dedicated to resolving this important issue."

In September, the ACC pulled all of its "neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year," including the football championship in Charlotte, over House Bill 2.

RELATED ARTICLE: ACC pulling championships from North Carolina over House Bill 2

“As members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC Council of Presidents reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination," a release from the council said. "Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites."

"We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year," the statement continued. "All locations will be announced in the future from the conference office.”

The move came two days after the National College Association of Athletes (NCAA)'s announced it would pull all championship events from North Carolina over issues surrounding House Bill 2, as well.

The bill looks to pre-empt access to multi-occupancy bathrooms, showers, and changing facilities. It allows cities to regulate single-occupancy bathrooms. Sponsors hope the bill if passed, would keep people from pointing to a law in North Carolina and say it is discriminatory regarding bathroom usage.

PREVIOUS ARTICLE: Bipartisan bill to repeal HB2 filed in General Assembly

The legislation requires cities who want to pass their own, broader, non-discrimination laws to take extra steps before enacting such ordinances. There will be limitations on those ordinances, according to the proposed bill, including that ordinances cannot apply outside of the territorial jurisdiction, can't use contracting power to impose ordinance provisions, can't apply to bathroom access or religious organizations.

The proposal would allow cities to provide nondiscrimination for its own employees. It also seeks to add increased penalties for crimes committed in a bathroom "regardless of motivation."

Friday afternoon, Representative Rodney W. Moore from Mecklenburg County's District 99 dropped his support of the new legislation. Moore was one of the five Democrats sponsoring the bill and the only local Democrat listed,

RELATED ARTICLE: Mecklenburg Co. Democrat pulls support from new bill aiming to repeal HB2

"Given the Speaker's inflexibility on the issue of referendums on HB 186, I can no longer support the bill," Moore tweeted Friday afternoon.

As of 9 p.m. Friday night, Moore was still listed as one of the 19 lawmakers who are sponsoring the bill. The House clerk's office told WBTV they had not heard from Moore as of late Friday afternoon.

Five local Republican lawmakers are still listed as sponsors on the new legislation: representatives John R. Bradford, III (District 98),  Andy Dulin (District 104), Linda P. Johnson (District 83), John A. Fraley (District 95), and D. Craig Horn (District 68).

PREVIOUS ARTICLE: More lawmakers join push for proposed legislation that would repeal HB2

HB2 was passed after the Charlotte City Council passed its own non-discrimination ordinance that allowed transgender individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. The Council repealed its ordinance in December as part of a would-be compromise deal that was expected to see the repeal of HB2 by the Republican-controlled legislature.

Lawmakers failed to repeal the controversial law, though, during a special session called four days before Christmas.

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