It is a failure of epic proportions as North Carolina legislators were unable to repeal the controversial HB2 law in a special session on Wednesday.
A bipartisan agreement had been brokered to repeal the law with the backing of both Governor-Elect Roy Cooper and lame duck Governor Roy McCrory as the both called for the special session on Monday. Instead of an up and down vote to simply repeal the law, the season ended in deadlock as both Republican and Democratic legislators were unable to come to an agreement. Legislators on both sides of the aisle seemed more concerned about their holiday break than actually getting anything accomplished.
Republicans in the North Carolina Senate were deeply divided and sent spent most of Wednesday meeting behind closed doors. They also accused the Charlotte City Council of being deceptive after it was revealed that two pieces of the city ordinance they repealed on Monday were still in place. The Charlotte City Council argued that the two pieces in question had nothing to do with HB2, however they held an emergency meeting to repeal the entire ordinance on Wednesday morning.
The move was not enough to facilitate the repeal as Republican lawmakers came back looking to add a “cooling off” period, with first a proposal for six months, then for the entire 2017 legislative period plus 30 days. The cooling off period would have prevented any municipality from passing any anti-discrimination ordinances, thus giving the appearance the law was repealed, but with the same provisions remaining in place.
The deadlock exposes what many see as the root of the issue in not only North Carolina, but the rest of the country. Politicians appeared more concerned about the effect it would have on their future election campaigns rather than actually getting something done. In the end, both the North Carolina House and Senate adjourned their sessions with no hope for a repeal in sight.
HB2 requires people to use restrooms according to the biological sex listed on their birth certificate. The law also excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections while blocking municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination rules. The controversial law has brought devastating repercussions to North Carolina due boycotts and loss of revenues from businesses pulling their operations out of the state in response to the law. Pundits agree that Republican Pat McCrory lost his election campaign over HB2, even though Donald Trump won the state in the general election.