North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger announced a proposal to repeal House Bill 2, better known as HB2 or the “bathroom bill.”
The Republican leaders claim that the bill came from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s office, and was met with approval by Republican leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly. A spokesman for Cooper denies that such a proposal ever existed.
If passed, the bill would repeal HB2, guarantee privacy in bathrooms and shower facilities by leaving regulation to the state, authorize local county and city governments to create their own ordinances on nondiscrimination and allow citizens to collect court costs and attorney fees if they pursue legal action proving a violation of their constitutional rights.
“It’s frustrating that Republican lawmakers are more interested in political stunts than negotiating a compromise to repeal HB2,” Ford Porter, spokesman for Gov. Cooper, said in a statement following the announcement. “While Governor Cooper continues to work for a compromise, there are still issues to be worked out.”
The repeal bill comes after a report from The Associated Press showed that North Carolina would lose $3.76 billion in business deals because of HB2, including those the Tar Heel State has already lost.
The AP released a report citing businesses and companies that have moved plans and events out of North Carolina as a direct result of the controversial bill.
Companies such as PayPal, whose CEO announced shortly after HB2 was signed that he would back out of a plan because of the law, are having a huge impact on the North Carolina economy. PayPal alone would have added $2.66 billion and over 400 jobs to the state. If the plan had gone through, the company would have built an operations center in Charlotte.
More than $196 million in events such as sports, conventions and concerts were reported to be lost across the state according to the AP report. The NCAA pulled games that were supposed to be played in Greensboro for the first and second rounds of the men’s NCAA March Madness Tournament and relocated them to Greenville, South Carolina, removing a $250 million benefit from the home state of several NCAA teams.
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who has been a supporter of the bill since then-Gov. Pat McCrory signed it into law, released a statement on Monday in reaction to AP’s analysis.
“The recent economic forecast reported by the Associated Press has no basis in fact and is another attempt to mislead and confuse the public through a bogus headline,” Forest said.
Forest then stated that the report is based off of figures of “one person’s guess” over a “12-year period”. During this time, according to Forest, “[North Carolina] will have a GDP of over $6 trillion.”
Still, the Associated Press stands by the information it put out on Monday, which estimates that North Carolina has missed out on over 2,900 jobs that were relocated elsewhere.
The bill also comes just two days before a deadline, set by the NCAA, to repeal the bill, or have March Madness Tournament games be scheduled elsewhere for the next 5 years.
“We believe if the governor can get Democratic legislators to support the principles outlined in this proposal, we can pass a bipartisan bill that will put the distraction of HB2 behind us once and for all,” Borger and Moore said during the press conference.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers are still working with Gov. Cooper to set up a compromise that could be passed before the NCAA deadline.