Governor Cooper signs North Carolina's HB2 compromise bill

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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Governor Cooper signs North Carolina's HB2 compromise bill
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Governor Roy Cooper

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- A controversial compromise bill that replaces HB2 has passed the North Carolina General Assembly and has been signed by Gov. Roy Cooper. At a news conference Thursday evening, NCAA President Mark Emmert told reporters that the association's board of governors will have to discuss the new legislation before deciding whether they're comfortable hosting neutral-site championships in the state again.

HB2: The latest

  • 6:30 p.m.: NCAA says board will review the law before deciding on games
  • 4:10 p.m.: Gov. Cooper announces he has signed HB142
  • 1:32 p.m.: Bill passes the House, moves on to the Governor's office to be signed
  • 11:53 a.m.: House called into session
  • 11:37 a.m.: Compromise bill clears second vote, third reading in Senate. Bill moves on to the House

WATCH: Gov. Cooper speaks after signing HB2 compromise bill

Governor Roy Cooper

HB142 cleared all of its hurdles Thursday in the General Assembly despite sharp criticism from activists and community leaders.

MORE: Who's against North Carolina's HB2 compromise bill

The vote came down to the wire before the state could have potentially lost the ability to host NCAA athletic championships for several years. The NCAA was one of many prominent organizations to sanction North Carolina in the aftermath of HB2, which was signed by Republican former Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last year.

HB2 was designed to block a Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance, part of which allowed transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with and required people to use the restroom according to their biological sex listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools, and universities.

HB2 had also restricted local governments' ability to enact nondiscrimination ordinances. Under the new measure, local governments can't pass new nondiscrimination protections for workplaces, hotels and restaurants until December 2020.


That moratorium, according to GOP leaders, would allow time for pending federal litigation over transgender rights to play out.

But LGBT rights groups blasted the compromise agreement, saying it doesn't go far enough.

"I understand that Roy Cooper thinks that he's well intentioned, but this bill didn't offer any repeal of HB2. It still leaves our community being discriminated against and I don't think fixes the reputation of North Carolina," offered Chris Sgro, Executive Director, Equality NC.

And while the left wasn't happy with the deal, neither was the right. Republican Sen. Dan Bishop, a primary sponsor of HB2, denounced the new deal on the Senate floor, where it was approved 32-16, with nine of 15 Democrats among the yes votes.

"This bill is at best a punt. At worst it is a betrayal of principle," the Charlotte-area legislator said.

Democratic Senator Dan Blue said the bill takes North Carolina to a pre-2016 (HB2) state when it comes to public restroom use.

Republican Senate Leader Phil Berger called the new deal to repeal HB2 a "significant compromise."

But LGBT rights supporters said Cooper should have held out for a full repeal.

"He could have done more to move Republicans on this issue to get around Tim Moore and Phil Berger because there was a coalition of Democrats and Republicans on that floor that would have voted for full repeal if he had really taken his case to the people of North Carolina instead of consistently sitting down at the negotiating table with people who don't have the best interest of the state of North Carolina in mind," Sgro charged.

At a news conference Thursday night, Governor Cooper said while the deal isn't perfect, he did the best he could given the situation.

"The Republican majority leadership had complete control on what went to the floor and what didn't, so they had to be the final arbiters on what was going to go on the floor," he explained.

That wasn't good enough for Sgro.

"Cooper didn't run for governor of North Carolina with the understanding that he would have a perfect legislature, he ran with the understanding that he would be the leader that we needed and face a difficult legislature and stand up to them and he didn't stand up to them. He made campaign promise that he was going to repeal HB2," he said.

WATCH: Thursday morning news conference with HRC, Equality NC and ACLU

HRC, Equality NC and ACLU announce they are against the HB2 compromise bill during news conference Thursday morning

Senate leader Phil Berger said the compromise is just that: a compromise.

"This is a significant compromise from all sides on an issue that has been discussed and discussed and discussed in North Carolina for a long period of time," Berger said. "It is something that I think satisfies some people, dissatisfied some people, but I think it's a good thing for North Carolina."

Conservative groups, such as the NC Values Coalition, also condemned the bill saying that HB2 should stand.

Legislative leaders and Cooper hope the version will remove obstacles to expanding business and attracting sporting events.

RELATED: Lawmakers reach deal with the governor on HB2

The Associated Press estimates that HB2 will have cost the state nearly $4 billion in lost business revenue over a span of 12 years.

RELATED: AP: HB2 estimated to cost North Carolina $3.76B

The NCAA already removed championship events this year from North Carolina for the law known as the "bathroom bill", which limits LGBT nondiscrimination protections and requires transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.

Scott Dupree, Executive Director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, said Tuesday that if North Carolina didn't repeal HB2 by Thursday, it would lose NCAA championship events through 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report