It’s “repeal” in a mostly meaningless sense.
Late Wednesday night, for the second day in a row, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) and Senate leader Phil Berger (R) held a press conference announcing that they’d established yet another “compromise” to repeal HB2 with Gov. Roy Cooper (D). They are planning to force it through the legislature on Thursday. The “compromise” is not a clean repeal of the anti-transgender law, HB2. It would maintain much of the discriminatory aspects of the law its replacing.
The reason Republican lawmakers are rushing is that the NCAA reportedly set Thursday as a deadline for the state to repeal HB2 or risk losing the opportunity to host any championship games through 2022. This means that Thursday’s “compromise” effort is specifically geared toward making money off all those games, but if the NCAA’s concern was removing discrimination from the law, this effort doesn’t meet the standard.
Thursday’s “compromise” bill actually maintains many aspects of HB2. The law prohibited municipalities from establishing LGBT protections at the local level and mandated that in all public facilities, transgender people could only use facilities that match the sex on their birth certificate. The proposed “compromise” repeals HB2, but then immediately reinstates much of it:
- Only the state legislature would be able to pass any legislation related to the use of multiple-occupancy bathrooms. Thus, no city or public school could assure trans people that they can use facilities that actually match their gender identity.
- Municipalities would still be banned from passing any LGBT nondiscrimination protections until December 1, 2020.
Cooper agreed to the plan without consulting any LGBT groups. Cooper said he supports the “compromise,” explaining, “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”
LGBT group’s anger over the “compromise” has been directed as much at the Democratic governor who promised to repeal HB2 as the Republicans trying to hold onto it.
Businesses are opposing the “repeal” bill as well, since for all intents and purposes it isn’t really repealing anything. Naturally, the Republicans who are pushing SB6 think this is great.
“North Carolina appears to be replacing their original law with a new measure that is similar to our state’s SB 6, the Texas Privacy Act,” Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, the author of the Texas proposal, said in a statement. She added it’s “no surprise the Texas Privacy Act is seen as a thoughtful solution to protect everyone equally while allowing businesses to set their own policy.”
The Texas proposal includes some of the original restrictions that North Carolina is now repealing. Kolkhorst’s Senate Bill 6 would limit bathroom use in government buildings on the basis of “biological sex” rather than gender identity and would nix local anti-discrimination laws meant to allow transgender residents to use public bathrooms based on gender identity.
Meanwhile, tourism officials from big Texas cities have warned that the proposal could cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. Almost a week after Houston hosted Super Bowl LI, the NFL raised the prospect that SB 6 could impact future championship football games in Texas. And in a statement regarding Texas’ proposal, the NBA has indicated it considers “a wide range of factors when making decisions about host locations for league-wide events like the All-Star Game; foremost among them is ensuring an environment where those who participate and attend are treated fairly and equally.”
Pointing to the North Carolina vote, representatives for the Texas business community on Thursday indicated it should serve as another warning sign for Texas lawmakers.
“The turmoil of the past year, coupled with today’s action by North Carolina lawmakers, should send a loud and clear message to our own Texas Legislature: reject Senate Bill 6, a discriminatory and unnecessary bill that does nothing to address safety,” Texas Association of Business president Chris Wallace said in a statement.
The right answer is to not pass discriminatory legislation in the first place. And if someone else passes discriminatory legislation, don’t screw around with compromises. Repeal away. The Current and the DMN have more.