Amid Outside Pressure, North Carolina Replaces HB2
The discussions to repeal HB2 heated up last week after it was learned that North Carolina would potentially be excluded from hosting any NCAA events through the spring of 2022 absent a repeal of the law. Coincidentally, only hours before the NCAA deadline, the North Carolina legislature introduced HB142 which would replace HB2. The primary difference between HB2 and HB142 is that the latter exempts schools from state regulation of access to bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms. The law also prevents local governments from enacting or amending any ordinances regulating private employment practice or regulating public accommodations. This provision expires on December 1, 2020. On March 30, 2017, the bill was passed by both the house and the senate and signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper.
Despite the political compromise, many groups on both sides of the argument feel the replacement is insufficient. Some LGBT groups have taken the position that this is nothing more than a “fake” repeal while some of the most harmful aspects of HB2 are kept in place. Jennifer Roberts, the Mayor of Charlotte, called the law a “false repeal.” Some advocates of HB2 have expressed disapproval asserting privacy rights and unhappiness with the ability of outside groups to sway elected officials’ decisions on matters of public policy.
It is too early to tell what impact, if any, this will have on bringing certain events and businesses to North Carolina. Mark Emmert, NCAA President, stated that the NCAA’s board of governors would have to decide whether the law “was sufficient.” Despite the compromise bill, as advocates on both sides remain unsatisfied the only thing clear is that the debate over this topic will continue.