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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
Republican leaders said late Wednesday that they have reached an agreement with Gov. Roy Cooper on repealing House Bill 2 but gave no details until a joint statement could be released later that evening.
No details had been released by 11 p.m.
"I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow," Cooper said in a statement Wednesday. "It's not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation."
The proposed committee substitution to HB 142 will be considered at 9:15 a.m. today, Senate leader Phil Berger said. The bill is in the Senate Rules Committee.
Legislators had been discussing proposals throughout the day and party leaders were negotiating with Cooper behind closed doors.
"It's been a very long day for all of us," House Speaker Tim Moore said.
The announcement followed a flurry of activity on repealing the law more commonly referred to as the "bathroom bill." Passed in a one-day special session last March, HB 2 limits LGBT nondiscrimination protections and requires transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.
The law already has prompted some businesses to halt expansions and some entertainers and sports organizations to cancel or move events, including the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte. An Associated Press analysis this week found that HB 2 already will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years.
The NCAA already removed championship events this year from North Carolina. The group has said North Carolina sites also won't be considered for championship events from 2018 to 2022 "absent any change in the law." The NCAA said decisions for those events are being made starting this week and it will announce them in a few weeks.
Adding urgency, an NCAA source said Tuesday the state had two days to repeal the law or lose years of NCAA championship events.
Berger and Moore held a press conference Tuesday afternoon saying they had agreed in principle to a proposal by Cooper, but that he later denied making any deal. Cooper's office said issues still needed to be worked out, including a religious freedom provision that Democrats would not accept.
That night, Cooper met at the governor's mansion for more than two hours with Berger and Moore.
The News & Observer reported leaks appeared to reveal a compromise that would repeal HB 2, prevent cities from regulating bathrooms and locker rooms and prevent local governments from adopting anti-discrimination ordinances for three years. According to the newspaper, sources said House Republicans narrowly approved the compromise in a closed-door caucus, but in numbers that would require Democratic votes on the floor.
The Senate is expected to vote at 9:15 a.m. with the House to follow.
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