There’s a new compromise on the table to repeal HB2, and it comes from Governor Roy Cooper. But the proposal has already drawn criticism by the Senate’s top leader.
Cooper offered what he called “common sense” compromise that includes a repeal, tougher penalties for crimes committed in restrooms and dressing rooms and a requirement that local governments give the legislature 30 days’ notice before voting on non-discrimination ordinances.
In a press conference, Cooper was joined by Democratic Legislative leaders Representative Darren Jackson and Senator Dan Blue. Cooper’s says the compromise would wipe House Bill 2 off the books while taking major steps to address all stated Republican concerns.
“I know North Carolinians are tired of hearing about this. HB 2 has divided us and stained our reputation. I’ve proposed a common sense compromise that will get HB2 off the books and address concerns on both sides. It’s time for Republican leaders to step up and lead their members because February needs to be the month we get this done,” said Governor Cooper in a statement.
Meanwhile, The office of Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) responded to Governor Roy Cooper’s latest press conference on HB2.
“Governor Cooper’s press conference is the first we’ve heard of his so-called compromise, so if he has a list of members willing to support his proposal, he should make it public now,” according to a statement from Berger’s spokeswoman Amy Auth.
Cooper went on the say: “House Bill 2 is currently the biggest obstacle facing our economy and it must be repealed. Despite their supermajority, legislative Republicans have refused to offer a viable solution that will bring jobs and sporting events back to North Carolina. This proposal requires some compromise by Democrats – but it addresses every single one of legislative Republicans’ reported concerns surrounding HB2 and we’re willing to come together to get the job done,” said Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue.
“HB 2 has already cost our economy thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars. We now have a very short window to take action before the NCAA removes tournament games for six years. We must act. With this compromise, every single Republican justification for House Bill 2 will be addressed. It’s time for Republican leaders to have the backbone to put our economy first and repeal this disastrous law,” said House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson.
Berger’s spokesperson Auth responded: “Given that Governor Cooper’s refusal to enforce existing criminal trespass laws as attorney general was a major reason legislators were forced to pass HB2 in the first place, it is difficult to take seriously his pledge on ‘strengthening penalties.’ This proposal does nothing to address the basic privacy concerns of women and young girls who do not feel comfortable using the bathroom, undressing and showering in the presence of men, and as we saw in Charlotte last year, it does not require an assault to make a woman feel violated. Governor Cooper continues to dodge the question, but North Carolinians deserve to know his position on the key HB2 issue: does he believe men should be able to go into women’s bathrooms and shower facilities?”