The N.C. legislature on Thursday passed a bill to repeal House Bill 2. Gov. Roy Cooper then signed it into law.
Time to celebrate, right? Pop the champagne, and welcome back the jobs and NCAA championships and NBA All-Star Game and all the concerts that left because of that anti-LGBT law, right? Right?
Not so fast.
HB2 may be finally off the books, but many people — especially in the LGBT community — are not happy with what replaced it because it still restricts local anti-discrimination ordinances.
Let’s break it down.
(Before we get started, if you need a refresher on what HB2 actually did, click here. Also, follow the links below to dive deeper into some great reporting about what went down Thursday.)
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican leaders in the legislature hammered out a deal to repeal HB2 Wednesday night and announced there would be a vote the following morning.
(1) Repeal HB2. (Translation: The part of the law that required people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate is gone.)
(2) “Preempt regulation of access to multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities by any State or local government.” (Translation: The state gets to regulate multiple occupancy restrooms, showers.)
(3) Put a moratorium on local ordinances “regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations” until Dec. 1, 2020. (Translation: No more ordinances like the one Charlotte passed last year that prompted all this for more than three years.)
The bill first passed the Senate by a 32-16 vote. It passed the House by a 70-48 vote, despite a push by some conservative Republicans delay the vote to next week.
The votes did not fall along party lines, though. Republicans and Democrats alike voted against the bill in the House and Senate.
Why did this happen so fast?
Two words: NCAA. Deadline.
Earlier this week, the NCAA gave N.C. a 48-hour deadline to get rid of HB2 or lose out on NCAA championship events through 2022.
It’s too soon to tell if this worked, though. The NCAA is expected to announce championship sites April 18. President Mark Emmert said the NCAA will review the HB2 repeal bill.
Mark Emmert: NCAA Board of Governors will determine whether HB2 repeal is “sufficient” change to return championships to North Carolina.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) March 30, 2017
After the vote, ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement: “The recently passed legislation allows the opportunity to reopen the discussion with ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships being held in North Carolina.”
The ACC had previously pulled championships out of N.C. because of HB2.
And NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said back in December the NBA All-Star Game could come back to Charlotte in 2019 if changes were made to House Bill 2.
So how do people feel about it?
Liberals and conservatives alike aren’t happy about the new bill.
On the right, you’ve got the N.C. Values Coalition telling the Observer, “Today’s repeal vote…leaves the state without a statewide public policy on privacy and safety in bathrooms, locker rooms and showers and simply kicks this debate three years down the road.”
On the left, you’ve got people like Progress NC Action Executive Director Gerrick Brenner calling the bill a “brutal compromise, the result of a Republican supermajority that is willing to hold North Carolina hostage and inflict economic damage on our state instead of extending dignity and respect to the LGBT community.”
Locally, we’re a city divided.
Democratic Mayor Jennifer Roberts is not a fan:
— Jennifer Roberts (@JenRobertsNC) March 30, 2017
The City of Charlotte said it’s “pleased” about the repeal:
City of Charlotte statement on HB142: pic.twitter.com/Tk4FI2nuoZ
— City of Charlotte (@CLTgov) March 30, 2017
But at least one council member isn’t happy about it.
— LaWana Mayfield (@lawanamayfield) March 30, 2017
And here’s what Charlotte City Council’s first millennial, Dimple Ajmera, had to say:
“We all have to understand that this is an important first step in the right direction,” she told C5’s Jonathan Lee. “This is the beginning and not the end so we will continue to have conversations to be sure we protect all our citizens.”
So yeah, it’s complicated.
Head over to CharlotteObserver.com for much more about the HB2 repeal, reaction and what’s next.
Photo: Chris Seward/News and Observer