Two Republicans and two Democrats have introduced a bill that would repeal House Bill 2 but forbid cities and municipalities from regulating access to multiple occupancy bathrooms, to showers and to changing facilities.
Right under the section repealing HB2, House Bill 186 reads:
The regulation of access to multiple occupancy bathrooms, to showers, and to changing facilities is a matter of general, statewide concern and the entire field of regulation of such access is preempted from regulation except as provided by an act of the General Assembly.
McGrady said at an impromptu press conference (that he initially denied was going to be held) that he had been working on the bill for 10 months.
He said he did not have the votes for a straight-up full repeal of HB2, despite Democrats and Gov. Roy Cooper saying for months that there are enough votes if Republicans would just put a bill on the floor.
“[This is] certainly the best starting point we’ve had up until now,” he said.
Cooper presented a compromise last week to HB2 that Republicans scoffed at. McGrady said Wednesday that he would need Cooper to secure enough Democratic votes to pass HB186.
McGrady also said he did not run the bill by Cooper before filing it, adding “I don’t report to the governor.”
Cooper responded late Wednesday with concerns about HB186 and said he remains committed to repealing HB2.
“But I am concerned that this legislation as written fails the basic test of restoring our reputation, removing discrimination, and bringing jobs and sports back to North Carolina,” he said. “I will keep working with the legislature.”
When asked if HB 186 would appease the NCAA, ACC and other organizations that have refused to hold events in North Carolina, McGrady said he couldn’t speak for them but he didn’t see why it wouldn’t.
“I think we’ve hit the sweet spot,” he said.
HB186 would put in place a statewide non-discrimination law that does not include any language about sexual orientation or gender identity. In some places, it replaces the word “gender” with “sex.”
The bill would give cities the authority to adopt nondiscrimination measures to protect the LGBTQ community but it comes with caveats and a public referendum clause. Cities would have to wait 90 days to implement such a measure and if opponents gathered enough signatures against it, it would be put up to the referendum.
If a nondiscrimination measure was adopted, it would not apply to extraterritorial jurisdiction, bathrooms, showers or changing facilities, state or county entities or charitable organizations and religious institutions.
The bill also strengthens penalties for certain offenses in a public changing facility or a changing facility in a place of public accommodations.
Despite claims that the bill is “bipartisan” and constitutes a “full repeal” of HB2, many Democrats and human rights advocates are not pleased.
“H186 is in no way, shape, or form a repeal of the discrimination of #HB2. Don’t believe anyone who tries to say it is. #ncpol,” tweeted Rep. Grier Martin (D-Wake).
Equality NC Executive Director called HB186 a “train wreck” on Twitter and said the Democrats sponsoring the bill are doubling down on discrimination.
“.@ChuckMcGrady thinks your civil rights should be up for a vote, #lgbtq NC’ans. Do you agree? #ncpol,” Sgro tweeted.
The ACLU of North Carolina tweeted that the bill would make it harder for cities to pass LGBT protections.
House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake) also tweeted his disapproval of the bill.
“James Madison: Government should ‘protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.’ We cannot put NDO’s to a vote of the majority,” the tweet states.