Friday, December 3, 2021

Cooper: ‘I’m Ready to Compromise to Erase’ HB2

— Gov. Roy Cooper on Sunday urged Republican lawmakers to return to the negotiating table to work on a repeal to House Bill 2.

A bipartisan quartet of lawmakers on Wednesday filed a measure to repeal large swaths of North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2, the 2016 law that deals with LGBT rights and bathroom use.

The compromise, as drafted, would repeal the current law and replace it with legislation outlining the authority of local governments to pass and enforce nondiscrimination ordinances, requiring a referendum for those ordinances in cases of substantial opposition to them, and limiting what restrooms those governments can oversee. It also adds new, stiffer penalties for crimes committed in restrooms and changing facilities.

In a post on Medium, the governor took issue with the provision that would allow opponents to nondiscrimination ordinances to collect signatures to put the ordinances up for a vote in a referendum election.

“It subjects the rights of the minority to a vote of the majority. It would be like putting the Civil Rights Act to a popular vote in cities in the South during the 1960s. Except today, it would come with the perils of modern campaigns,” Cooper said in the Medium post.

Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, one of the Democrats who backed the effort, said Friday that he will no longer co-sponsor the bill amid raucous behind-the-scenes lobbying over the repeal effort.

Cooper asserted that the ability to put the nondiscrimination ordinances to a vote would keep North Carolina in the national news and hinder the state’s reputation.

Cooper suggested that cities be required to approve the ordinances by majority-plus-one votes instead.

“I’m ready to compromise to erase this damaging law. We just need Republicans to come to the table, too,” he said.

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