March 30, 2017

ED MORRISSEY: Deal reached to flush NC bathroom bill?

North Carolina, the first battleground of the bathroom war, may finally have found some grounds for a truce. After several days of negotiation between the Republican legislative majority and new Democratic governor Roy Cooper, the controversial House Bill 2 law will get repealed, and just within a deadline from the NCAA on championship venue awards. However, it’s not a return to the status quo ante, but the status quo ante ante, so to speak:

North Carolina lawmakers could repeal House Bill 2 on Thursday under a deal struck late Wednesday night by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican legislative leaders. …

According to a statement from Berger and Moore, the bill would:

▪ Repeal HB2.

▪ Leave bathroom regulation to the state, essentially returning to the status quo before Charlotte passed a 2016 ordinance allowing transgender people to use the restroom of their gender identity.

▪ Enact a moratorium on similar ordinances until Dec. 1, 2020.

Readers will recall that the Republican-controlled state government passed HB2 in reaction to the city of Charlotte’s attempts to regulate bathroom access. Despite the above description, Charlotte’s city government had mandated that all public bathrooms, including those in private businesses, allow for transgender choice of access, a mandate to which many business owners objected. The state legislature passed HB2 and then-governor Pat McCrory signed it in part to reverse Charlotte’s action on transgender access, but also in part to create a uniform application of bathroom-access regulation. Under HB2, businesses could still have decided on their own to implement a more progressive access policy, but government did not force them to do so.

Allowing businesses to set their own policies so that customers might choose to do business with businesses which best suit their needs? Unpossible!

UPDATE: The deal looks real.

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