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HB2 might not have been fully repealed in compromise, NC House speaker says

NC House speaker responds to Charlotte mayor's resistance on HB2 reset

House Speaker Tim Moore responds to the Charlotte mayor's resistance to a 'reset' on HB2.
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House Speaker Tim Moore responds to the Charlotte mayor's resistance to a 'reset' on HB2.

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore offered some new details about a failed House Bill 2 compromise between the legislature and Charlotte leaders in a TV interview Wednesday night.

Moore spoke about HB2 with Tim Boyum of Spectrum News, formerly Time Warner Cable News. Legislative leaders had said they’d be willing to repeal HB2 this month but only if the Charlotte City Council first repealed its nondiscrimination ordinance, which would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their gender identity. Charlotte leaders refused to repeal the ordinance.

“There was substantial support in the House caucus to look at a reset” if Charlotte acted first, Moore said.

But the speaker indicated that some parts of HB2 would have remained in effect as leaders had planned to “get rid of most of those provisions and just make sure we kept in the bathroom piece and the other things.”

That admission prompted Boyum to ask if the plan wasn’t to vote on a “full repeal.”

Moore’s reply: “In a manner of speaking, it could have been, but we never got there because Charlotte wouldn’t negotiate with us.”

In a joint statement with Senate leader Phil Berger on Sept. 18, the legislative leaders said they were willing to “return state law to where it was pre-HB2.”

Moore noted that the legislature has the power to nullify the Charlotte ordinance itself, but Republicans wanted the city council to act first to “show that Charlotte wants to be a part of the process to move forward.”

The speaker said he doesn’t think anything will happen before the November election unless Charlotte leaders change their mind, but he indicated the legislature will likely revisit HB2 when it returns in January.

“I think it’s clear that this is an issue that’s not going away, it’s an issue that’s going to have to be dealt with next year,” he said. “Frankly, the way we deal with it is to get a number of stakeholders together and work through it.”

The full interview with Moore is available here.

Also Thursday, Democrat Roy Cooper’s gubernatorial campaign sent out a news release highlighting Commerce Secretary John Skvarla’s recent comments on HB2.

Addressing the economic backlash against HB2, Skvarla – who’d previously led the state’s environmental regulatory agency – said the issue is more challenging than overseeing coal ash clean-up efforts.

“Clearly, clearly, I'll go back to DENR and take coal ash all day long,” he told a tourism group. “Candidly, I can quantify coal ash. And I can measure it in boxcars and truckloads and get it out of here, whatever we're gonna do. This is not quite so simple.”

House Speaker Tim Moore responds to the Charlotte mayor's resistance to a 'reset' on HB2.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter