Under the Dome

NC GOP calls on Cooper to propose HB2 compromise, blasts Stein action on immigration

N.C. Republican Party leaders said Tuesday that Gov. Roy Cooper should stop pushing for a full repeal of House Bill 2 and instead propose a compromise that GOP legislators can live with.

NC GOP chairman Robin Hayes and executive director Dallas Woodhouse held a news conference following Monday’s news that the NCAA might block sports championships from being held in North Carolina through 2022.

“A simple repeal does not have a possibility of passing this legislature,” Woodhouse said. “It seems to us that it is up to Gov. Cooper ... to put forward something that can pass. If not, he’s just pounding his fist, and he’s helping determine North Carolina’s fate when it comes to the NCAA, the ACC and other issues.”

Cooper argued earlier Tuesday that the NCAA news shows “there is an urgency to get House Bill 2 repealed.” He stressed that if Democrats are included, the legislature has enough votes for a full repeal.

Asked about that scenario, Hayes said “I do not have the vote count.” Woodhouse dismissed the idea: “No legislature in America works this way.”

It’s rare for legislative leaders to allow votes on bills that don’t have majority support among their party’s caucus.

Hayes wouldn’t say what sort of compromise measure Republicans might support. “I can’t answer hypothetical questions,” he said.

Hayes said the NCAA’s upcoming decisions about championships show it’s “very important” to take action on HB2. “It can be done, it should be done,” he said.

The GOP also criticized N.C. attorney general Josh Stein for joining 16 other Democratic attorneys general in an amicus brief filed in support of Washington and Minnesota in the federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order.

“What a make-believe world this attorney general lives in,” Woodhouse said. He said that under Stein’s legal argument, a president legally “could blow up airports in the Middle East” but couldn’t “say three people can’t get on an airplane in the Middle East and come here.”

Trump’s immigration order affects more than three people. Stein argues that it “undermines the core American value of religious tolerance, and it makes us less safe.” Woodhouse disagrees. “He is using the courts to second-guess a commander in chief,” he said.

Asked if Republican legislative leaders should file their own brief in the lawsuit, Woodhouse said “it would be up to them.”

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter

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