Premium Partners

North Carolina Governor Signs 'Bathroom Bill' Rollback

AthleticBusiness.com has partnered with LexisNexis to bring you this content.

Copyright 2017 Gannett Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

USA TODAY

 

Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law Thursday a compromise bill to roll back HB2, the measure on bathroom access and discrimination that colored the state's image and sparked bickering among residents and political leaders after it was passed a little more than a year ago.

The compromise measure, approved earlier in the day by the state General Assembly, repeals the law but keeps some aspects of HB2 in place in a different form, disappointing LGBT rights groups who led much of the opposition to the bill and wanted a complete repeal.

But legislators supporting the bill approved Thursday said both sides had to compromise to remove the shadow HB2 casts over the state and end moves by the NCAA and some entertainers and corporations to avoid North Carolina. Cooper called the measure "the best deal that we could get."

"If we're going to move forward, we have to take it a step at a time," said Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake.

The bill passed the state Senate 32-16 and the House 70-48 with members of both parties split. Cooper, a Democrat, worked out the compromise with leaders of the Republican-dominated legislature.

Some legislators voted against the bill because they wanted to keep HB2 on the books. Others voted "no" because it falls short of a full repeal.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said Thursday evening at a Final Four news conference that the NCAA's board of governors have to determine over the course of the next few days whether the bill "was sufficient change in the law" and added that the NCAA "doesn't consider itself an entity that has any business telling a state what their laws should be." ACC commissioner John Swofford said the legislation creates an opportunity to "reopen the discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships in North Carolina" and said the discussion "will take place in the near future."

Based on what the NCAA's board of governors outlined in September when it decided to relocate championship events from North Carolina, HB142 does not appear to meet the association's requirements on discriminatory measures.

The legislature adopted HB2 in March 2016 in response to a move by Charlotte City Council to ban discrimination against LGBT people in public accommodations and employment. HB2 said local governments could not take such actions and that people must use the bathroom or changing room that corresponds to the sex listed on their birth certificate, a provision that was especially troubling to transgender people.

In response, entertainers like Bruce Springsteen canceled plans to perform in the state and companies including PayPal reversed plans to expand in North Carolina. HB2 was a major issue in last year's gubernatorial campaign, in which Cooper narrowly unseated Republican Pat McCrory, who had signed HB2 the same day it passed the legislature.

There have been sporadic attempts to repeal the law over the past year. The NCAA is making decisions now over where tournaments and championships will be held over the next several years, a process that created more urgency for legislative action.

Cooper credited the NCAA's concerns with playing a major role in prompting Republican legislative leaders to act and said they might not have agreed to any changes otherwise. But he said more was at stake than sporting events in this college basketball-crazy state.

"House Bill 2 was wrong in and of itself," he said.

The NCAA moved some games in the early rounds of this year's men's basketball tournament out of North Carolina because of HB2. Its influence on the debate rankled HB2 backers, who said HB2 is necessary to keep men out of women's restrooms.

The compromise bill says state law will govern access to restrooms, showers and changing facilities built to accommodate more than one person, but it removes the HB2 language about who may use which restroom. It prevents local governments from regulating private employment practices or public accommodations until December 2020, when that provision will expire.

Cities and counties would then be able to enact non-discrimination ordinances if they choose.

Read More of Today's AB Headlines

Subscribe to Our Daily E-Newsletter

 
March 31, 2017
 
 
 

 

Copyright © 2017 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy
AB Show 2022 in Orlando
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Learn More
AB Show
Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide