Thursday, December 22, 2016

Once again, both sides are at fault on the HB2 mess that just cost North Carolina a couple thousand more jobs

"...Somebody in the General Assembly – it’s not clear who – noticed that Charlotte City Council had failed to repeal the entire ordinance that prompted HB2.

In February, the council amended three existing nondiscrimination ordinances. One covers “public accommodations,” including bathrooms and locker rooms; one covers passenger vehicles for hire; and one covers companies that do business with the city. The council added gender expression and sexual orientation as protected classes to all three ordinances. HB2 didn’t block the part covering contracting.

On Monday, council members repealed the changes related to public accommodations. That removed the controversial bathroom and locker room provisions. They believed that would satisfy the legislature.

But Tuesday, lawmakers noticed the discrepancy.

Alarmed the deal would fall through, City Council met again Wednesday morning and repealed all of the February ordinance. Council members also repealed a provision that would have restored their ordinances if the legislature didn’t repeal HB2 by Dec. 31.

...the original GOP plan was to file a repeal bill in the House. Shortly after convening Wednesday, Republicans recessed into a closed-door caucus. It was a pattern they repeated throughout the day.

The 75-member House Republican caucus was divided. Ten of the most conservative members even voted against the rules for the special session – a vote that’s typically a formality.

Along with the Charlotte re-vote, Republicans began seeing warning signs. If they were to repeal HB2, what would stop cities from passing ordinances like Charlotte’s? And there would be nothing to prohibit Charlotte from bringing back its nondiscrimination ordinance.

Sen. Jeff Tarte, a Cornelius Republican, pointed to Durham city councilman Charlie Reece, who had tweeted that repeal would mean cities “will be able to take actions currently prohibited by HB2 to prevent discrimination” and that “Durham will stand with our trans brothers and sisters and … against discrimination and bigotry in all forms.”

The city of Charlotte said it “is deeply dedicated to protecting the rights of all people from discrimination and, with House Bill 2 repealed, will be able to pursue that priority for our community.

...When the House failed to act, Berger introduced Senate Bill 4. It called for repeal of HB2 as well as a moratorium on local ordinances like Charlotte’s..."

"...The Senate GOP leader said he crafted a bill that would repeal the ordinance but impose a six-month cooling-off period during which all the interests could discuss the best way forward to address concerns about discrimination.

As word of that plan spread, Cooper contacted Senate Democrats and urged them to stick with the repeal-only deal, Cooper has acknowledged..."

Both sides to blame in HB2 repeal’s failure

"Republican and Democratic senators blame each other...

As far as we can tell, they’re both right.

...Senators on the left and right couldn’t agree on much, but they joined forces to obstruct a GOP-backed measure that would have taken House Bill 2 off the books.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, introduced legislation to repeal HB2 and set a six-month moratorium on cities and counties passing nondiscrimination ordinances or public accommodation rules like the one HB2 was enacted to invalidate.

When Democrats balked at the cooling-off period...

...Gov.-elect Roy Cooper and other Democrats equated the cooling-off period to a poison pill. They accused Berger of moving the goalposts after agreeing to repeal HB2 if Charlotte rescinded its ordinance...

...HB2 includes no penalties for violators and is more policy statement than law.

...There’s no practical way to enforce the bathroom ban, as a law enforcement officer would not have probable cause to demand identification or conduct a search based solely on a hunch that someone’s biological gender might not match his or her outward appearance. Such potty policing would treat the Fourth Amendment like, well, toilet paper...",78157

"...North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper — also the governor-elect who ousted McCrory in the November election — brokered an agreement by which both the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina were rescind their respective legislation. Charlotte rescinded its ordinance in full, not contingent upon HB2’s repeal, early Wednesday.  The “six-month cooling-off period” in a bill introduced by Republican Sen. Phil Berger late Wednesday afternoon, however, was not part of the deal.

...Berger argued that a continued ban on local municipalities passing certain measures is needed because Democrats and LGBT rights activists “have been saying as soon as HB2 is repealed they will work with other local governments [to pass new ordinances].”