Events late yesterday over a HB2 proposal between Governor Roy Cooper and General Assembly Leadership were reminiscent of Lucy holding out the football to Charlie Brown, only to snatch the ball away at the last moment.
Yesterday afternoon, Senate Leader Phil Berger and Speaker of the House Tim Moore held a press conference to announce that they had a House Bill 2 (HB2) repeal offer from Governor Cooper and his staff that just might work.
However, Governor Cooper is denying he has made any such proposal, however documentation that a repeal proposal from the Governor’s office was in the works on was circulated to media.
— Jon Camp (@JonCampABC11) March 28, 2017
During the press conference, Senate Leader Phil Berger indicated they had talked with the Governor several times about the proposal and was, “taken aback by the fact that the Governor disavowed ever having made the proposal.”
“The governor made a proposal late last week that we are prepared to agree to in principle, said Berger. “We called the governor on the way down here to let him know we agreed, but he now denies that he ever made the proposal, so we’ve got to figure out where we are.”
Report including portions of the press conference via ABC 11:
A statement was released from Cooper’s office by Spokesman Porter Ford:
“It’s frustrating that Republican leaders are more interested in political stunts than negotiating a compromise to repeal HB2. While Gov. Cooper continues to work for a compromise, there are still issues to be worked out, and Republican leaders’ insistence on including an Indiana-style RFRA provision remains a deal-breaker. Any compromise must work to end discrimination, repair our reputation, and bring back jobs and sports, and a RFRA is proven to do just the opposite.”
The statements references to a religious freedom amendment is at odds with the documentation about the alleged proposal at hand. That documentation does not include an “RFRA” provision.
It does include a ‘right of conscience’ clause. The email attached to the proposal does not indicate that the Governor’s office had an issue with that clause. The email and proposal documents are embedded at the end of this article.
Four main points of the proposal that was being discussed were listed in Senate Leader Berger’s website:
- Repeals HB2;
- Guarantees privacy in bathrooms and shower facilities by leaving regulation of multi-occupancy facilities to the state, returning to the status quo prior to passage of Charlotte’s bathroom ordinance that women and girls should not have to share bathrooms with men;
- Authorizes local governments to pass employment and accommodation non-discrimination ordinances, provided they are consistent with federal employment and accommodation non-discrimination law; and
- Protects the rights of conscience by allowing citizens to collect court costs and attorney fees if they successfully pursue legal action proving a violation of their constitutional rights, as protected by Article I Section 13 of the North Carolina Constitution and the First Amendment.
“We believe the four points in Gov. Cooper’s compromise proposal represent a path forward by repealing House Bill 2,” Berger and Moore said. “Protecting citizens’ privacy in bathrooms and changing rooms, authorizing local governments to adopt anti-discrimination ordinances consistent with federal law, and providing legal protections for violations of constitutional rights of conscience.”
“We believe if the governor can get Democratic legislators to support the principles outlined in his proposal, we can pass a bipartisan bill that will put the distraction of HB2 behind us once and for all,” said Berger and Moore.
Read the Proposal created by Cooper’s Senior Adviser, Ken Eudy and Cooper’s lead counsel, William McKinney: