Well, here we go again. This afternoon, a group of lawmakers introduced a new bill to repeal HB2 to a swift round of criticism, including from Governor Roy Cooper.
One thing to know about the latest attempt at reconciliation, HB 186
, is that it's actually a bipartisan effort. The bill was sponsored by two Republicans, Rep. Ted Davis Jr., and Rep. Chuck McGrady, as well as two Democrats, Rep. Marvin Lucas
and Rep. Ken Goodman.
As written, the bill would repeal HB2 but would prohibit counties and cities from regulating access to public bathrooms. Cities would have to wait 90 days before implementing nondiscrimination ordinances, which could also be put to a referendum if opponents gathered enough signatures. The bill would increase penalties for crimes committed in bathrooms. Oh, and it would include statewide anti-discrimination protections for groups like women and military veterans — just not members of the LGBTQ community (in the text of the bill, the word gender is crossed out in some instances).
The bill is not a full repeal, as many opponents were hoping. McGrady said that's because he simply didn't have the votes. He also used that point to explain why LGBTQ people were not included in the bill's nondiscrimination portion. "I can't get the votes to go there," he said. "That would not allow me to pass a bill."
Whether the bill will have actually have
enough support to make it through is another question entirely, and critics immediately voiced their concern. In a press release, Roy Cooper (who offered a compromise last week to repeal HB2) said he remained "committed to repealing HB2" but was "concerned that this legislation as written fails the basic test of restoring our reputation, removing discrimination, and bringing jobs and sports back to North Carolina. I will keep working with the legislature.”
Rep. Grier Martin, a Raleigh Democrat, blasted the bill on Twitter, saying it was "in no way, shape, or form a repeal of the discrimination of HB2."
Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality NC, called the proposed legislation a "trainwreck," adding that the sponsors "double down on discrimination and reaffirm worst parts of HB2."
The ACLU also weighed in.