Senate Democrats last week filed a bill to fully repeal HB 2, a move cosponsor Jeff Jackson called "obvious" and "the biggest economic development deal of the year." If the claims made in a letter sent to the General Assembly by Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance executive director Scott Dupree are accurate, Jackson might just be right about the latter.
Dupree, citing "contacts at the NCAA," says North Carolina is in danger of facing a five-year extension of the NCAA's ban on holding championships in the state and that the "133 bids represent more than $250 million in potential economic impact." The NCAA's review and evaluation process, he adds, began in January, and the clock is ticking on the legislature to reverse HB 2; there are perhaps as few as ten days remaining before "all North Carolina bids will be pulled ... and removed from consideration," Dupree wrote
A Public Policy Polling survey conducted in mid-January—after the failed attempt at repeal during a bizarre special session held by the General Assembly just before then-governor Pat McCrory left office—found that "HB 2 continues to be very unpopular, with only 32 percent of people supporting it." PPP also found that nearly 60 percent of North Carolinians felt the law was hurting the state economically.
It turns out UNC's men's basketball coach Roy Williams is among those who think a repeal is overdue. At a postgame press conference Sunday, Williams lamented that he would not be coaching ACC Tournament games close to home because of "that stupid rule." He added, "I just think it's ridiculous and what it's doing to the reputation of our state."
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin applauded the NCAA on Twitter Monday, tweeting, "Thank you @NCAA for standing strong against discrimination. Past time GOP leaders showed same courage & repealed #HB2."
Whether Republicans will take seriously the bill filed last week by Jackson and others remains to be seen. Last month, however, Senate leader Phil Berger said there probably wasn't enough support to pass "outright repeal." So the smart money's on no.
This article appeared in print with the headline "HB Through?"