RALEIGH, NC - Just a couple of days shy of the one-year anniversary of HB2 becoming law, a new repeal has been filed.
Senator Joel Ford filed SB332 Tuesday, which would repeal HB2 with a 30-day cooling off period or moratorium. Ford's bill looks similar to a bill filed by Senator President Pro-Tempore, Phil Berger (R) in December of 2016.
Berger's bill called for a six-month cooling off period, preventing local government's from passing ordinances regulating employment practices or regulating public accommodations or access to restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.
Cooper urged Senate Democrats to vote no on the moratorium portion of the repeal bill, saying it violated a deal with the GOP for a clean repeal of the bill. While Democrats followed the order, Republicans were split, with 16 voting no to repeal and 16 voting yes.
Now, three months later, Ford's new repeal calls for only a 30-day moratorium. On Twitter, Ford wrote," While my first choice would be a clean repeal, hopefully the opportunity for a do over will present itself."
In a phone interview with News 2, Ford said, "This is the most realistic opportunity and realistic bill that stands a chance of passing the Senate and hopefully the House. My understanding is that this is a push that everybody can agree to."
In an email to News 2, Berger sentiments were slightly less optimistic that both Democrats and Republicans would agree on the repeal effort.
“While I have not yet seen his proposal, I appreciate Sen. Ford’s efforts and his willingness to work toward compromise. I’ve always thought a cooling off period was a reasonable and necessary part of any HB2 repeal proposal, and that’s why I voted for that in December," Berger's statement read. "I’m just not sure there’s enough support within either the Republican or Democratic caucuses at this time to pass a similar proposal to what failed in December.”
Progress NC Action released a statement in response to Ford's repeal.
“Sen. Ford opposed the Senate’s moratorium proposal in December because it went back on the deal Republican leaders made with the City of Charlotte to fully repeal HB2,” said Progress NC Action executive director Gerrick Brenner.
"Sen. Ford is now proposing an almost identical bill, which means he’s siding with Phil Berger against Charlotte instead of the other way around," the statement from Progress NC Action read.
Ford responded, "No, that's not what I'm doing. I'm siding with the people of North Carolina who want to repeal House Bill 2. It is now time to stop playing political games and repeal House Bill 2. The people have had enough."
The NCAA, NBA and ACC, pulled games from the state, citing HB2 as the reason. The bill has been called anti-LGBTQ.
A spokesman from Cooper's office emailed the following statement to News 2.
"Any compromise must achieve the basic goal of bringing jobs and sporting events back to North Carolina. Governor Cooper will continue to work to bring legislators and business leaders to the table to get this done.”
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