North Carolina's Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill Might Finally Be Repealed
Late on Wednesday night, state legislators suggested North Carolina's Bathroom Bill might finally be repealed. Lawmakers reportedly announced they had come to an agreement to get rid of the controversial anti-trans bill, formally known as House Bill 2, during a news conference, according to The New York Times. Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger and House of Representatives Speaker Tim Moore announced the news to the public, though further details on the lawmakers' reported deal are unknown.
HB2, which was enacted in March 2016, has drawn nationwide attention because it targets transgender people by requiring them to use the bathroom that corresponds with their biological sex, as opposed to their gender identity. This piece of legislation, which is viewed as being discriminatory towards transgender individuals, has cost the state a great deal of business. In fact, according to an assessment by the Associated Press, HB2 could cause North Carolina to lose at least $3.7 billion by 2028.
On Thursday morning, the state Senate will vote on the repeal. If it passes the Senate, it will move on to the House, and then to Governor Roy Cooper's desk. The bill's opponents can expect Democratic Governor Roy Cooper to sign the repeal, as he's tried to reach a compromise with Republican lawmakers to get rid of the bill since taking office in January 2017.
Cooper released a statement following Wednesday night's announcement.
I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow. It's not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.
Those who have been paying close attention to North Carolina's state politics know this isn't the first time both sides of the aisle attempted to find common ground when it comes to getting rid of the bill. According to The Charlotte Observer, lawmakers held a summit on the matter late Tuesday night as well. After the efforts failed, Republican Senator Tommy Tucker even claimed the two political parties were "back at square one." But in less than 24 hours, that changed.
Though the potential of the bathroom bill being repealed is a step forward, there's still reason to be skeptical. Leader Berger and Speaker Moore, both Republicans, expressed that they are pleased the proposal still "fully protects bathroom safety and privacy." It's easy to understand why that raises concern among LGBTQ activists and allies.
Republicans oftentimes justify prohibiting transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice by claiming it violates other people's privacy. However, USA Today reported that the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, and the American Civil Liberties Union strongly disagree. Instead, these organizations suggest that bills such as HB2 actually put transgender people in danger. And to further debunk the GOP's reasoning, The New York Times reported that the FBI had concluded LGBTQ individuals are most likely to be targets of hate crimes.
Though the specifics haven't been released, the GOP is unlikely to go along with the repeal unless they receive something substantial in return. Still, the repeal agreement could go through additional changes if it doesn't pass the House and Senate.