Charlotte repeals ordinance that triggered H.B. 2

Jason E. Miczek—For The North State Journal
From left: Charlotte City Council member at large Julie Eiselt

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte City Council voted 9 to 0 Monday to repeal the controversial ordinance that triggered H.B. 2, and Governor-elect Roy Cooper has called for a special session to repeal the controversial law. The conflict was a focus of Cooper’s successful campaign to unseat incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory. During the campaign Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts refused a request to repeal the ordinance, saying at the time the state would have to repeal H.B. 2 first. Today, with Cooper’s swearing in as governor just two weeks away, he’s called for a special session on Tuesday for the legislature to address the controversial law.”Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte’s vote a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal H.B. 2 in full,” said Cooper in a prepared statement. “I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, H.B. 2 will repealed in full. Full repeal will bring jobs, sports and entertainment events back and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state.” Charlotte’s ordinance unleashed a firestorm over the past year that pushed N.C. and transgender bathroom use into headlines across the country. It originally passed in February at the urging of Roberts, making it unlawful to have any differentiation between sexes in public restrooms and changing facilities in the city. The N.C. General Assembly subsequently passed H.B. 2 requiring that individuals use the bathroom assigned to the gender listed on their birth certificate when using facilities in publicly-owned buildings.”If the Charlotte City Council had not passed its ordinance in the first place, the North Carolina General Assembly would not have called itself back into session to pass H.B. 2 in response,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) in a joint statement issued in September when the deal to repeal the ordinance fell apart. “Consequently, although our respective caucuses have not met or taken an official position, we believe that if the Charlotte City Council rescinds its ordinance there would be support in our caucuses to return state law to where it was pre-H.B. 2.”In a press release Monday morning, McCrory’s office indicated that the governor would call a special session to repeal H.B. 2 despite his disappointment in Charlotte’s sudden reversal being “all about politics,” and that earlier efforts at compromise “were always blocked by Jennifer Roberts, Roy Cooper and other Democratic activists.” Several versions of a compromise deal have been in the works for months, some offered by lawmakers, others by lobbyists — including the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association, who said they are working to stem what they say is collateral damage to the tourism industry in the wake of the law.Among the events moved because of the law, the Atlantic Coast Conference followed the NCAA in announcing it would move 10 college sports championships from North Carolina in protest. Their decision followed the NCAA’s announcement it would relocate seven championship sporting events. At the time, the decisions sparked outrage and accusations of playing politics ahead of the November gubernatorial election. Now, Cooper’s inauguration is just weeks away, and a controversial special session was completed on Friday.