Supporters, opponents speak on bipartisan bill to repeal HB2

Supporters, opponents speak on bipartisan bill to repeal HB2

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - The two sides of the HB2 debate held separate news conferences Tuesday morning. This time they talked about the positives and negatives of another piece of legislation, House Bill 186. Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson) filed the bill last week, along with support from another Republican (Rep. Ted Davis) and two Democrats (Rep. Marvin Lucas and Rep. Ken Goodman), as a proposal to repeal HB2. 

The opponents say HB186 falls short of a remedy they can support, since it does not provide a clean repeal of HB2. They also voiced strong opposition to another provision contained in the bill. It provides for cities to pass anti-discrimination ordinances, but it also includes a waiting period where opponents could gather enough signatures to put the ordinance up for a referendum vote.

"I appreciate the efforts of those who are trying to put food for thought on the table," said Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham). "But this referendum provision will only lead to more strife, more debate, more polarization. More importantly, it is not going to remove the taint upon North Carolina. We will be engaged in these battles for many, many years to come."

"We demand a full repeal of HB2," said Jeanne Duwve, the mother of a transgender child and one of the speakers during the news conference. "Our children have the right to be who they were born to be and respected as they are. Human rights are not decided by popular vote. They are just rights."

An hour later, McGrady was joined at a second news conference by a larger group of local and state lawmakers, and industry leaders, who have voiced support for the bipartisan effort seeking compromise. Rep. McGrady said he has no plans to move the bill out of the Committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House, until he has 35 Republican votes and 35 Democratic votes to pass it. 

"I'm pretty close to getting into the 30s in my vote count with this bill the way it stands now," McGrady said in the news conference. "If changes are made in the bill to accommodate the Governor's concerns, that could affect my vote count with Republicans while gaining the Democratic votes."

McGrady said he knows the referendum piece is one area where divisions remain. He said among his three co-sponsors, Davis is strongly in favor of the provision while Lucas and Goodman are opposed to it.

"The referendum piece is one that gets me Republican votes and loses me Democrats' votes,"  McGrady said. "If I didn't believe I could get around that issue and can accommodate various people's interests, I wouldn't have put forward the bill, and I wouldn't have talked those three gentlemen into being primary co-sponsors with me."

The head of Charlotte's Chamber of Commerce expressed his encouragement last week for the bipartisan effort to find a compromise and repeal HB2. Appearing at the news conference with McGrady and other supporters on Tuesday, Bob Morgan suggested a possible negotiating session to craft a solution.

"Folks we need our state leaders to get in a room, figure out what the solution is that can garner the majority of the votes in both houses of the legislature, and help move North Carolina forward," Morgan said.

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