The Latest: NC will ask companies to return after HB2 repeal

Raleigh (AP) – The Latest on a compromise proposal to overturn North Carolina’s “bathroom law” (all times local):
4:40 p.m.

North Carolina’s commerce secretary says he’ll start calling companies that have avoided North Carolina now that the state has repealed its “bathroom bill.”

Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland spoke Thursday as Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill. The American Civil Liberties Union and gay and transgender activists have complained that the new law still denies them certain protections from discrimination.

In an interview after remarks at the Charlotte Regional Partnership awards banquet, Copeland told The Charlotte Observer he would contact companies that publicly canceled plans to expand in North Carolina. Those companies include PayPal, which had planned a 400-job expansion.

He says the department will try to get back every company that wouldn’t locate or expand in North Carolina because of the bill known as HB2. But he says the transformation of North Carolina’s image won’t happen instantaneously.

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4:10 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he has signed into law a measure that rolls back the state’s “bathroom bill.”

The Democratic governor signed the bill Thursday despite criticisms from the transgender rights community. The groups say the new measure still denies them protection from discrimination. They demanded nothing less than full repeal.

Cooper acknowledges that it’s not a perfect deal and stops short of many things the state needs to do.

Some conservatives also condemned the compromise, saying the current law should have been left in place.

The law known as House Bill 2 cost the state dearly in business projects, conventions and basketball tournaments.

After a year of backlash, the compromise plan was announced Wednesday night. It was worked out under mounting pressure from the NCAA, which threatened to take away more sporting events.

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1:35 p.m.

A bill rolling back North Carolina’s contentious LGBT “bathroom bill” has passed the General Assembly and is now headed to the governor’s desk.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has said he supports the measure. Republican legislative leaders announced a compromise with the governor late Wednesday night and the measure passed quickly in both the Senate and the House on Thursday.

Not everyone is pleased with the deal. Social conservatives would prefer to have House Bill 2 stay on the books. Gay rights groups believe the replacement bill still allows discrimination.

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1:10 p.m.

LGBT and civil rights activists in North Carolina are decrying a deal they say replaces one discriminatory law with another.

Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro said Thursday that legal challenges may follow if state legislators approve a measure replacing House Bill 2.

Sgro says the proposed legislation doesn’t change the fact that the law excludes LGBT people from state anti-discrimination protections. He says if the General Assembly’s Republican majority and the Democratic governor enact their negotiated deal, it will postpone LGBT protections for four years until local governments could be allowed to tackle changes.

North Carolina NAACP President the Rev. William Barber says the new bill is convoluted and is a furtherance of discrimination.

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11:45 a.m.

A measure repealing North Carolina’s contentious LGBT “bathroom law” has cleared a key hurdle when senators gave the bill approval.

Two-thirds of the chamber’s 50 senators approved the bill Thursday. The bill will now go to the House for a vote.

One of the sponsors of House Bill 2, Sen. Dan Bishop, spoke out against the new deal.

The law limits LGBT nondiscrimination protections and requires transgender people to use restrooms in schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.

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10:15 a.m.

A compromise to end North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” has crossed an early hurdle when it was approved by the state Senate rules committee.

After the committee’s approval, it will face a full vote Thursday by the Senate. Then the House will vote on it.

The law limits LGBT nondiscrimination protections and requires transgender people to use restrooms in schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.

Social conservatives prefer keeping HB2 while gay rights groups say only a complete repeal will do.

A version of the bill released Wednesday night would prevent local governments from passing new nondiscrimination protections for workplaces, hotels and restaurants until December 2020.

A transgender man who works at the University of North Carolina, Joaquin Carcano, spoke against the deal during the committee meeting.

Carcano says this proposal doesn’t repeal House Bill 2 but only replaces it with a “new form of violence” against LGBT people and is sacrificing “our lives and our safety for the sake of basketball.”

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9:20 a.m.

Gay rights activists are across the street from the Executive Mansion, protesting a deal to repeal a North Carolina law known as the “bathroom bill.”

The demonstrators tried to get the attention of Democratic lawmakers as they made their way to a caucus meeting held by the governor. Others held placards and pleaded with lawmakers to oppose the measure.

One of the protesters, the Rev. Jimmy Creech, a longtime pro-LGBT activist, said the bill was just a repackaging of House Bill 2 and would still hurt gays, lesbian and bisexual and transgender people.

The law limits LGBT nondiscrimination protections and requires transgender people to use restrooms in schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.

The new law would prevent local governments from passing new nondiscrimination protections for workplaces, hotels and restaurants until December 2020.

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8:55 a.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union opposes a plan to replace North Carolina’s law dealing with LGBT rights.

The ACLU issued a statement urging lawmakers to vote against the plan announced late Wednesday by Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat.

The statement issued Thursday says the proposal would keep anti-LBGT provisions of the law in place and continue to single out transgender people. The ACLU also says Cooper should veto the measure if the Republican-dominated legislature approves it.

Legislative leaders and Cooper hope the version to be voted on Thursday will remove obstacles to expanding business and attracting sporting events.

About a dozen protesters gathered outside the Executive Mansion in Raleigh early Thursday, calling on Democratic lawmakers to vote no. Cooper was hosting Democrats, urging them to support the plan.

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3:45 a.m.

Republican legislative leaders in North Carolina and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper say they have an agreement to end the state’s “bathroom bill” that they hope removes any obstacles to expanding businesses and attracting sporting events.

But they’ll have to get enough votes for a proposal set for debate Thursday so the replacement measure for the law known as House Bill 2 can pass. Social conservatives prefer keeping HB2 while gay rights groups say only a complete repeal will do.

The agreement announced Wednesday night comes as the NCAA has said North Carolina sites won’t be considered for championship events from 2018 to 2022 “absent any change” in HB2. Decisions would be made starting this week.

HB2 has caused some businesses to halt expansions in North Carolina and entertainers to cancel concerts.

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