Democrats submit 'clean' HB2 repeal bill

North Carolina Senate chamber

Democrats in the General Assembly on Wednesday formally submitted the first bill to repeal HB2 with no strings attached.

The proposal, Senate Bill 25, is sponsored by Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenberg), Angela Bryant (D-Halifax, Nash, Vance, Warren & Wilson) and Floyd McKissick (D-Durham & Granville).

The controversial HB2 requires people to use the restroom according to their biological sex listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools, and universities. The law also excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections and blocks municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination and living wage rules.

During December's short session, legislators floated the idea of a repeal, but the effort fell short after Republicans attached a six-month moratorium on cities passing nondiscrimination ordinances for LGBT people.

Senate Republican leaders, led by Phil Berger (R-Guilford & Rockingham), worried about the domino effect of what may happen if and should a full repeal be passed. "I'm concerned about some of the proposals that have been out there about full repeal of HB2 and not taking into consideration the consequences of what that repeal might be in terms of what other local governments might do," Berger told TWC News.

Most recently, Forbes Travel Guide ranked Raleigh as being one of the top 12 destinations to visit in the world. Also in 2016, Forbes ranks Raleigh as the number 2 place in the country to do business - all while conventions, businesses, and sporting events have canceled or postponed doing business in the state.

"Our economy is not going to recover until we're able to repeal House Bill 2," Sgro said.

NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds released the following response to Senator Berger's comments: "Each day it remains on the books, House Bill 2 continues to tarnish North Carolina's national image and cost us tourism, investment, and jobs. Between the Democratic and Republican caucuses, there are enough votes for a clean repeal - just as there were in December. After getting us into this mess, Speaker Moore and President Pro Tem Berger should show some leadership for once and put North Carolina first by finally repealing this bill."

Earlier this month, Governor Roy Cooper released the following statement:

I remain optimistic that HB2 will be repealed if Sen. Berger and House leaders allow a clean repeal vote on the floor. My conversations with legislators convince me that there are enough Republican and Democratic votes to reverse the hardship on North Carolinians who've lost income due to HB2. If there ever was a need for bipartisanship, it's now. We came too close in December for Sen. Berger to give up. Too many jobs, too much investment, too much of North Carolina's reputation are at stake. We must succeed.
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