And there will be no repeal of HB2 in North Carolina.
Before the great wailing and gnashing of teeth from liberals begins, it will be helpful to get the full background on the day’s events.
Earlier this week, Governor-elect Roy Cooper laid claim to a deal he had very little to do with: full repeal of HB2 – the bathroom bill.
In actuality, Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly were willing, as they always were, to have a special session to repeal HB2, on the condition that the Charlotte City Council repeal the ordinance that resulted in the need to quickly pass HB2 into law, in March 2016.
For those who need a refresher, the Charlotte City Ordinance was a broadly worded mistake from liberal Democrats who wanted to use Charlotte as a testing ground for social engineering, and the citizens were the lab rats.
The ordinance would have flung the doors of bathrooms in businesses and schools open for anyone who claimed to identify with the opposite gender to gain admittance to whatever restroom or locker room they wanted.
The bathroom law has caused a lot of controversy and outside activists have flooded the state, demanding Governor McCrory’s head on a platter.
The new agreement would be basically be a reset, putting things in the state back to where they were before the Charlotte City Ordinance. However, the faithlessness of North Carolina’s Democrats would not allow such a thing.
As reported, on Tuesday night, the Charlotte City Council met behind closed doors, in violation of meeting protocol, and decided that one third of the ordinance repealed, while leaving the rest in place would be enough.
This was in violation of the original agreement, so when the General Assembly met today, it was a long and contentious day, indeed, with Democrats demanding full, total, and immediate repeal, in spite of Charlotte’s faithless move. Republicans, on the other hand, were still willing to repeal, but were seeking safeguards, due not only to Charlotte’s double dealing, but council members from Durham and other liberal cities openly proclaiming their intentions to fling open their bathrooms, once HB2 was repealed.
Republicans presented SB4, proposing a full repeal, after a 6-month cooling off period, in order to allow for those cities eager to write their own ordinances to come to their senses, I imagine.
However, Republicans went into Wednesday’s special session deeply divided, spending the bulk of the day meeting behind closed doors.
The North Carolina Senate failed to pass their bill that would have repealed HB2 on its first reading. HB2’s fate is now in limbo since the special session is over. The General Assembly is back in session on January 11th.
“This wasn’t the deal,” said Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat. “This bill breaks this deal. Charlotte would have not repealed its ordinance if this was the deal.”
Charlotte only repealed their ordinance after they were found to have fudged on the original agreement. A hastily called meeting on Wednesday morning resulted in their finally repealing the ordinance in full.
At that point, because of their actions, Senate Republicans owed nothing to Democrats.
The Senate vote was taken after legislators agreed to split Senate Bill 4 into two pieces: one, a straight up or down vote on HB2, and then a separate vote on a so-called “cooling off period.”
Republicans first proposed a 6 month ban for any municipality passing their own anti-discrimination ordinances, the so called “cooling-off” period has now been extended to the entire duration of the 2017 legislative session plus 30 days.
I watched the live feed of the proceedings and Democrats were beside themselves, desperate for a full and immediate repeal, unwilling to accept a 6-month waiting period.
Why not wait the 6-months? What difference would it make?
A likely explanation is that the same reason they refused to a mutual repeal in September stands now.
In September, the Charlotte City Council was prepared to repeal the ordinance, and Governor McCrory was willing to call a special session for the repeal of HB2.
It was later discovered that Roy Cooper and several Democrat lawmakers talked city council members out of the agreement, because they felt they could use it as a talking point to take down McCrory in November.
McCrory was ousted (although HB2 likely only had a very small part in that), so belaboring the issue seems like a winning strategy. North Carolina has special elections in 2017 and the mid-term in 2018.
Let’s face it: 6-months and then a full repeal is a pretty good deal, if repeal was ever the goal.
Democrats intend to use this issue to end the majority hold Republicans have in the General Assembly, or at least, that’s their hope.
For the time being, however, HB2 stands, and that’s a victory for decency in North Carolina.