Friday News: The aftermath of HB142


HB2 REPEAL DEAL WIDELY VIEWED AS BAIT-AND-SWITCH, NOT REAL COMPROMISE: The NCAA had threatened to remove all championship basketball games from the state through 2022 if H.B. 2 was not repealed by Thursday. Because the political and financial cost of such a move would dwarf the billions already lost to the law, on Wednesday night the state’s Republican leadership and the new Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, forged an unholy deal — a kind of bait-and-switch meant to keep NCAA games and their revenue in the Tar Heel State — and sent it to the legislature Thursday, where it was approved with bipartisan support and later signed by Cooper. “It’s not about principle, it’s about the money” was the overall take Thursday morning from the cafe gang of six, which included a real estate agent, an ironworker and a schoolteacher.

GOVERNOR COOPER IN HOT WATER WITH MANY OF HIS SUPPORTERS: The compromise was a bad deal for civil rights, the leaders of the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC told Cooper. They pleaded with him to oppose the measure and “do the right thing,” according to sources familiar with the conversation. As far as they were concerned, it did not end well. Now Cooper, like the lawmakers in both parties who supported the compromise that passed Thursday, finds himself at odds with some of his most loyal supporters. Like other Democrats who backed the compromise repeal, Cooper could face a backlash. “He’s a good man but this is bad policy, it’s not leadership,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC. “He’s going to have a lot of work to do to win back those supporters.”

NCAA WON'T DECIDE UNTIL NEXT WEEK IF NEW BILL DID THE TRICK: The NCAA's governing board would review North Carolina's law next week, President Mark Emmert said Thursday. "Everybody loves being in North Carolina for our games. It's a state obviously that in many ways is synonymous with college sport," Emmert said. "Nobody made the decision to leave North Carolina casually. It was a very, very difficult decision for the board to make. And I'm sure the next decision will be very difficult as well." Cities including Raleigh and Greensboro have submitted 133 bids to host NCAA championship events in such sports as golf, swimming and basketball through the 2021-22 academic year, with a potential economic impact of about $250 million, according to the North Carolina Sports Association.

EXPLORING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HB2 AND HB142: First: the law eliminates the state’s requirement that people in government facilities use the bathroom matching their birth certificate. North Carolina now rejoins 48 other states that have no explicit law about bathrooms and transgender people. Second: HB2 had blocked local ordinances in several cities that related to LGBT issues. With HB2 off the books, those existing laws now function again, according to Norma Houston, a UNC School of Government lecturer and a former General Assembly lawyer. Carrboro and Raleigh both had policies that anyone wanting to contract with the city government had to have a non-discrimination policy. Raleigh officials declined to comment, but Carrboro Town Attorney Nick Herman said the town’s ordinance is back in action. Herman said the change in laws “would then allow us to require contractors of the city to abide by non-discrimination ordinances,” as the town had done in the past.

ACLU AND LAMBDA LEGAL DENOUNCE NEW BILL, WILL INCORPORATE IT INTO ONGOING LAWSUIT: The new bill bars any protections for transgender people using restrooms or other facilities in schools or other state or local government buildings. This means schools, court houses, city halls, government agencies, and more cannot allow transgender people to use the right restroom. It also prevents cities from passing any protections for employment discrimination or discrimination by places of public accommodation — for LGBT people or anyone — until 2020. “This is not a repeal of HB 2. Instead, they’re reinforcing the worst aspects of the law,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU LGBT Project. “North Carolina lawmakers should be ashamed of this backroom deal that continues to play politics with the lives of LGBT North Carolinians.” The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal will continue to defend right of transgender people to use restrooms and changing facilities consistent with their gender identity, as federal law requires. The lawsuit, which includes claims for the damages inflicted by H.B. 2, will continue, and the legal team will seek to amend the lawsuit to challenge H.B. 142 as well.