Cooper says he and GOP leaders 'had it out' over HB2

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Roy Cooper said he has had some spirited talk with GOP leaders.

It's been almost a month since the deal fell apart to repeal House Bill 2. And Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper signaled he is still actively negotiating with Republicans on a new deal.

But in conversations with both sides of the contentious debate, there's the sense that there are still a lot of politics in the way of a compromise.

At an MLK Day appearance in Charlotte, the governor detailed his talks with the top two Republicans in the legislature on a deal to repeal HB2.

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"We had it out a couple times. We talk and they certainly want to move forward in some way," Cooper said.

Cooper told reporters that Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore won't put HB2's repeal on the floor for a vote, because a majority of Republicans won't support it.

Cooper wants to repeal it with a majority of Democrats along with a smaller group of like-minded GOP members.

"My argument to them is there enough overall votes even if you don't have a majority of Republican caucuses to pass repeal," Cooper said.

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Wake County Republican State Rep. Nelson Dollar weighed in on Cooper's comments. Dollar said Charlotte is to blame for passing its anti-discrimination ordinance allowing transgender citizens to use the public restrooms of their choice.

"Charlotte didn't have the authority to act as they did," Dollar said.

Even after the Queen City rescinded its ordinance to appease Republicans in Raleigh, last month's effort to repeal HB2 collapsed when Democrats balked at a GOP provision barring cities and towns statewide from passing their own anti-discrimination rules.

Dollar says the moratorium remains a big point of contention.

"A majority of Republicans would certainly want some assurances that other municipalities and Charlotte would not be going back to ordinances which could be very problematic to the process." Dollar said.

The governor continues to press the economic argument against House Bill 2; citing the flood of lost sporting events, companies, and entertainers refusing to come to the state.

But Cooper says he is also advising Charlotte city leaders not to re-enact their anti-discrimination ordinance for fear of provoking the Republican-led legislature.

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