ACC commissioner encouraged by new bipartisan bill to replace HB2

ACC Commissioner John Swofford
ACC Commissioner John Swofford ACC

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford said Saturday he’s hopeful North Carolina could once again host ACC tournaments if newly proposed bipartisan legislation replaces House Bill 2.

“It’s encouraging that a bipartisan effort has been initiated in the North Carolina General Assembly regarding HB2,” Swofford said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. “If legislation is passed that resets the law as it was prior to HB2, it will present the opportunity to reopen the discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships being in the state of North Carolina.

“The ACC is pleased the legislature is dedicated to resolving this important issue,” Swofford said.

Two Republicans and two Democrats teamed up on a new proposal to repeal HB2 that also would bar cities and counties from regulating bathroom access in private facilities.

Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Hendersonville Republican sponsoring House Bill 186 in the state legislature, has urged fellow legislators to act before HB2 causes more economic damage. The NCAA is reviewing bids for championship events in North Carolina and could blacklist the state over the law.

HB2, approved in March, blocks local governments from giving anti-discrimination protection to LGBT individuals and requires transgender people to use the restrooms and locker rooms of the gender on their birth certificate in government buildings. It was a response to a Charlotte ordinance that added LGBT protections, including allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

The law has led to lost jobs and sports and entertainment boycotts. The NBA pulled its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.

The ACC pulled its football championship game and several neutral-site events from the state last fall, soon after the NCAA pulled opening weekend men’s basketball tournament games and other championship events from North Carolina.

The tourism industry says the measure has cost the state’s tourism industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak