There wasn’t much action in the N.C. Senate Wednesday – the body came to order briefly, eulogized their recently deceased former colleague Ruth Samuelson and gaveled out until Thursday.
Afterward, on the Senate floor, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) took some questions from reporters.
Berger said he expects to have a process in place by next week to vet Gov. Roy Cooper’s new cabinet nominees by next week and spoke broadly about goals for the new General Assembly session.
He also took a number of questions on the possible repeal of HB2.
“I think it’s possible for there to be some arrangement to address that issue,” Berger said. “I think it’s going to take compromise on both sides.”
The General Assembly failed to repeal the controversial last month in one of several hastily convened extra sessions just before Christmas.
Berger said the Senate held an up-or-down vote on HB2 repeal and Democrats were urged by Cooper to vote no. The truth is significantly more complicated.
Berger went on the offensive against Cooper over HB2 again Thursday.
“One of the real issues that’s still out there is what is Gov. Cooper’s answer,” Berger said. “What is the answer as to the question of whether we should allow men into women’s restrooms, whether or not we should allow boys and girls to share locker facilities in schools?”
“Unless we are able to address that particular issue in a way that is consistent with how the people of North Carolina feel, I think it’s going to be very difficult for us to reach a compromise,” Berger said.
When asked whether he made a distinction between men in women’s restrooms and transgender women in women’s restrooms, Berger deflected the question.
“I think all of that is part of the discussion that we’ll have to have,” Berger said.
In the federal lawsuit over HB2, the state made has made its position on the issue clear: there are no transgender people – just delusional, mentally ill people who shouldn’t be encouraged.
In filings on the suit the state relied on expert testimony from the vice president of the American College of Pediatricians – a right wing splinter group of the mainstream American Academy of Pediatrics that opposes same-sex marriage, adoption and considers homosexuality itself to be a disorder requiring “reparative therapy.”
Democrats continue to call for full and unequivocal repeal of HB2.