Politics & Government

Powerful Republican senator wants voters to decide the fate of House Bill 2

Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca is suggesting a voter referendum on House Bill 2.
Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca is suggesting a voter referendum on House Bill 2. hlynch@newsobserver.com

After a busy Monday of rallies at the legislature, Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca told an Asheville TV station Tuesday that he’s working on a possible voter referendum on House Bill 2.

Apodaca is the top lieutenant to Senate leader Phil Berger, and he told WLOS News 13 that staff attorneys are looking into a constitutional referendum that would make the controversial LGBT law permanent – or kill it.

“If it was up to me, I’d just put it out to a vote of the people – let them decide what they want to do,” Apodaca said. “Let’s put it on the ballot and get it over with once and for all. If the majority wants this, fine. If they don’t, fine.”

Berger – along with many other Republican lawmakers – has said he won’t support calls to repeal House Bill 2, despite mounting criticism from the companies, some of which are pulling jobs from North Carolina. Berger says he’ll consider Gov. Pat McCrory’s request to eliminate a provision that makes it harder to sue for workplace discrimination.

Polling has shown that voters’ views of House Bill 2 are largely split down the middle – and which side wins often depends on how pollsters describe the law and phrase the question.

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