ICYMI: Thursday’s HB2 vote was NOT full repeal
A procedural vote tied to a larger bill that leaves parts of HB2 in place indefinitely can under NO circumstances be considered a full repeal
RALEIGH — After breaking their word by refusing to allow a clean vote on full repeal of HB2, Republican lawmakers are now blaming Democrats for not going along with the GOP plan to leave parts of HB2 in place indefinitely.
Instead of fully repealing HB2, Republicans proposed to indefinitely extend the provision of HB2 prohibiting local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances. Although Senate Democrats introduced a clean bill that would fully repeal HB2, Republicans blocked it and never allowed a clean HB2 repeal bill to get a floor vote.
After blocking the full repeal bill, Senate leader Phil Berger split the Republican bill into two procedural votes — one vote on repealing HB2, and one on the “moratorium” on local ordinances. He assumed that Democrats and a minority of Republicans would support the repeal provision, and Republicans would pass the “moratorium.” That way, the Senate could pass a bill which a majority of senators opposed.
But even Republican Sen. Ralph Hise argued that lawmakers who opposed the full bill should vote “no” on both provisions, since both were required to succeed for the bill to pass. There was no way to pass one provision without the other, so Democrats joined Sen. Hise and other Republican senators in defeating the bill.
“A bill leaving parts of HB2 in place indefinitely is clearly not a bill which fully repeals HB2,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC. “It is extraordinarily dishonest for Sen. Berger to blame his failure on Democrats after he refused to allow a clean vote on full repeal of HB2. Lawmakers agreed to fully repeal HB2 if Charlotte repealed its LGBT ordinance, and Charlotte repealed its ordinance in full. Republicans have no excuse. Yesterday’s sham session shows exactly why Charlotte was hesitant to make any kind of deal with Republican leaders in the first place.”
The deal which led to yesterday’s special session was simple: If Charlotte repealed its LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, lawmakers would fully repeal HB2 with no strings attached. Charlotte repealed all parts of the ordinance which were affected by HB2, namely the LGBT provisions. They also included an escape clause in case lawmakers went back on their deal — in hindsight for good reason.
But lawmakers said that wasn’t good enough, so on Wednesday the Charlotte City Council repealed its entire nondiscrimination ordinance — including provisions concerning discrimination based on race or religion. As a sign of good faith, they also removed the escape clause. This means that even though lawmakers refused to keep their end of the deal, Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance is still dead — including the provisions on race and religion.
“Republicans have super-majorities in both houses of the General Assembly, so they have the votes to do what they want,” said Brenner. “They passed HB2 last spring, and refused to fully repeal it with no strings attached just before Christmas. They claimed their hang-up was the Charlotte ordinance, but that is now gone. Republicans have no excuses, and they totally own the damage that HB2 has brought to North Carolina.”