North Carolina to Repeal HB2 – Political Turmoil in the Tar Heel State Continues

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory

In North Carolina, as part of a compromise between the Charlotte City Council and North Carolina legislators and outgoing Governor Pat McCrory, Governor-elect Roy Cooper has announced that a special legislative session on Tuesday will result in controversial House Bill 2 being repealed.

On Monday, the Charlotte City Council voted to repeal a non-discrimination “bathroom ordinance” that required businesses to allow patrons to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. The controversial ordinance was quickly addressed by a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly. The resulting bill, House Bill 2 (HB2), restricted North Carolinians to the bathroom corresponding to the specified gender on their birth certificates.

Further, HB2 in its current state shortens the statute of limitations for discrimination claims from 3 years to 1 year and prohibits cities and counties from setting minimum wage standards for private companies.

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Following the passage of the bill, several prominent organizations boycotted North Carolina:

  • The NCAA announced that it would be moving several 2016-17 events outside of the state;
  • Paypal canceled the opening of a new facility; and
  • Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and several other prominent music artists canceled tour stops in the state.

The controversial piece of legislation was central to the North Carolina Gubernatorial Election and many experts feel it is responsible for Gov. McCrory’s loss to challenger Roy Cooper.

In September, discussions were held between the Charlotte City Council and North Carolina state legislators in which Republican legislators offered to repeal HB2, provided the Council repeal its ordinance. Gov. McCrory has gone on record saying that a repeal of the ordinance should result in a repeal of HB2.

According to McCrory’s spokesman, Graham Wilson, ““This sudden reversal with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves this entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor’s race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state.”

Regarding the repeal of the Charlotte ordinance, Wilson stated, “As promised, Governor McCrory will call a special session.”

Following the repeal of HB2, Governor-elect Roy Cooper has vowed to work with LGBT groups to find a compromise with local and state officials. With a Republican-controlled, veto-proof legislature, Cooper will have to reach across the aisle to accomplish much of anything, especially following the passing of legislation that limits the power of the North Carolina Governor and grants more authority to the legislature.

Senate Bill 4 and House Bill 17, passed in another special session of the North Carolina General Assembly, reduce the incoming governor’s ability to make appointments to state election boards and key state agencies, and grants many of these appointments to the legislature.

Despite the political turmoil, many North Carolinians hold out hope that the repeal of HB2, a law that is overwhelmingly unpopular among the general population, is a sign of bipartisan cooperation.