NC lawmakers announce deal on HB2 standoff

A sign protesting a North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access. REUTERS  Jonathan Drake

Before the repeal is official, it has to pass through the House and and be signed by Cooper.

The Republican leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate in the state capital, Raleigh, reached the deal with Cooper, an outspoken critic of HB 2.

Basketball-mad North Carolina is hoping that its move to roll back its "bathroom bill" will help it avoid another costly hit as the NCAA selects four years of championship sites for a variety of sports.

Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland spoke Thursday as Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill.

"The NCAA is not only calling what legislation we pass but the timeframe we pass it in North Carolina". Those companies include PayPal, which had planned a 400-job expansion. PayPayPal scuttled plans to build a facility in North Carolina that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state's economy.

North Carolina lawmakers and the governor reached an agreement to repeal the state's controversial "bathroom bill", called HB2. The groups say the new measure still denies them protection from discrimination.

According to The Associated Press, the governor acknowledged that the compromise is not ideal and said it falls short of numerous state's objectives.

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Some conservatives also condemned the compromise, saying the current law should have been left in place.

The event was ostensibly to honor the winners of the annual Jerry Awards handed out by the Charlotte Regional Partnership - Bissell Cos. and Rodgers Builders took the prize - but much of the attention from attendees at the Charlotte Convention Center was focused on the action in Raleigh. North Carolina cities, schools and other groups have offered more than 130 bids for such events. The highly contentious bill struck down attempts to permit transgender individuals to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

Several LGBT activists decried the deal's provisions, including the bar on municipalities regulating employment practices and "public accommodations". The Senate approved the bill on Thursday morning, which now heads to the House.

It was sent to Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature.

Not everyone is pleased with the deal. "We encourage members of the House and Senate to support House Bill 142", said Lew Ebert, president and CEO of the N.C. Chamber.

Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, called the agreement a "shell piece of a legislation", on which the LGBTQ groups had not been consulted.

Cooper was narrowly elected with LGBT support on a platform that included repealing HB2.

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I applaud Governor Cooper's relentless efforts to find a compromise, even in the face of unprecedented obstruction by the General Assembly. The bill will now go to the House for a vote.

The pair announced the deal at an impromptu news conference. It now moves on to the Senate floor, where it must survive two additional votes before moving to the House for a final vote.

After the committee's approval, it will face a full vote Thursday by the Senate. It was hailed as a compromise by its authors but as a weak measure by others.

The new law would prevent local governments from passing new nondiscrimination protections for workplaces, hotels and restaurants until December 2020. Pat McCrory - all on March 23, 2016. It also continues to prevent transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice for the foreseeable future. "At worst it is a betrayal of principle", the Charlotte-area legislator said. Ringo Starr and Bruce Springsteen canceled concerts.

Ironically, the Senate vote was 32-16 against the first of a two-part vote on repealing HB2 - also featuring a moratorium component - during the December 21 special session.

The deal came as the NCAA said North Carolina wouldn't be considered for championship events from 2018 to 2022 unless HB2 was changed. Decisions would be made starting this week. Also, businesses canceled expansions or moves to North Carolina, the National Basketball Association withdrew its All-Star Game from Charlotte, and entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen canceled concerts.

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