Bipartisan bill to repeal HB2 filed in General Assembly

HB2 repeal effort by lawmakers
Updated: Feb. 22, 2017 at 6:42 PM EST
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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - New legislation filed by Republicans in the North Carolina House of Representatives seeks to make changes to House Bill 2, commonly referred to as the "bathroom bill."

The new bill, House Bill 186, includes both Republican and Democrat co-sponsors.

It would fully repeal HB2 and update to 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.

Republican representatives Chuck McGrady and Ted Davis Jr. are listed as sponsors of the bill, along with Democratic representatives Ken Goodman and Marvin W. Lucas.

McGrady, who sat down with WBTV after introducing the bill, said getting two Democrats to co-sponsor the bill was "critical."

"This is the first bipartisan bill of this type. We've had bills introduced in the past and its all the Republicans or all the Democrats," he said. "This is the first time we have a bill that Republicans and Democrats - at least some of us - can come together on."

WEB EXTRA: Click here to read House Bill 186, which was filed Wednesday

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.

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."

About two hours after HB186 was filed, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper issued a statement with concerns about the bill.

"We must repeal House Bill 2 and I remain committed to getting that done. But I am concerned that this legislation as written fails the basic test of restoring our reputation, removing discrimination, and bringing jobs and sports back to North Carolina. I will keep working with the legislature."

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.

EXTENDED COVERAGE: Click here for extended coverage on House Bill 2

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

The new legislation comes after weeks of discussions amongst Republican lawmakers about how to address HB2 in a way that would settle the issue for organizations like the NBA and NCAA.

Both leagues announced they were pulling major sporting events from Charlotte in 2016 after HB2 was passed and multiple compromise efforts to repeal the legislation failed.

McGrady said he thinks the bill does enough to get the NBA and the NCAA back into North Carolina.

"Yes. Why put forward a bill that doesn't solve the problem?" he replied.

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