Thanks to the combined efforts of then-candidate-for-governor Roy Cooper and key Democrats in the state legislature and the Charlotte city council, HB2 repeal efforts have gone down in flames four times to date. And according to GOP leaders, the latest attempt may be on the ropes, thanks again to – you guessed it – Gov. Cooper:
— A.P. Dillon (@APDillon_) February 28, 2017
HB 186 was filed last week by a mix of Republican and Democratic House members. It would repeal HB2 and allow cities and counties to adopt their own anti-discrimination protections, as Charlotte did a year ago in allowing people to use the public restroom that fits their gender identity rather than their sex at birth — before HB2 blocked that law. Under HB 186, however, local governments would not be able to extend anti-discrimination protections to privately owned restrooms, only to city-run facilities.
The new bill would allow opponents of extended protections to vote on them through referendum elections if they collect enough voter signatures. Cooper, a Democrat, issued a statement and video on Sunday opposing the referendum provision, saying that would prolong the HB2 debate with political campaigning in every referendum, continuing to damage the state’s image, and would be akin to putting the Civil Rights Act on the ballot in Southern states in the 1960s.
[House Speaker Tim] Moore (R) on Monday said the referendum provision was copied from the charters of Raleigh, Greensboro, Asheville and others.
When all else fails, you can count on Democrats to play the race card. Except in this case, it kinda falls flat. The Raleigh News and Observer, not exactly friends of NCGA Republicans, published this piece which back up Moore’s claims about Raleigh, Greensboro, and Asheville.
So unless Cooper finds the referendum options that exist in the progressive cities which helped propel him into office no better than the one that exists in HB 186, he should kindly put a lid on it and stop urging members of his party in the state house and senate to back away from supporting compromise efforts. Cooper should well understand from the decades of Democrat dominance of the state legislature that it’s the minority party that has to do more bending, not the majority party.
Maybe he’s not used to that yet. But it sounds like Rep. Chuck McGrady, the bill’s chief sponsor, isn’t afraid to remind him of it:
To pass H 186, I need 30+ Democratic votes and 30+ Republican votes. W/o @NC_Governor bringing Democratic votes, there is no path forward
— Rep. Chuck McGrady (@ChuckMcGrady) February 28, 2017
With the ACC signaling they are on board with compromise efforts, along with many in the Charlotte business community and beyond, it might be time for Cooper to reassess his priorities. Will the needs of the state outweigh the Governor’s desire to pay back the radical left wing groups who paved the path to his victory in November?
As they say, stay tuned.