With much media fanfare, NC Governor Roy Cooper held a press conference on Tuesday to unveil his own proposal to repeal House Bill 2, North Carolina’s bathroom privacy and safety law. Cooper announced that his proposal had three components: (1) the repeal of House Bill 2; (2) a requirement that local governments provide 30 days’ notice to the General Assembly before they adopt local nondiscrimination ordinances; and (3) enhanced penalties for certain crimes committed in bathrooms, showers and locker rooms.
The following is NC Family’s analysis of this proposal:
First, NC Family does not believe House Bill 2 is broken and in need of repeal. We have written and discussed ad nauseam why HB2 is a common sense bill that protects the privacy, safety, dignity and religious liberties of all North Carolinians, and why the media hype surrounding the bill is based on inaccuracies, misleading information and bogus claims.
Secondly, upon review of the Governor’s proposal, NC Family has determined that the 30-day “notice requirement” could be interpreted to apply only to counties and not to cities. While the notice requirement would be added to an area of the law concerning “Cities and Towns,” the provision specifically states, “this section applies to counties.” This means that hundreds of cities across the state, like the City of Charlotte that initiated actions prompting HB2, may be exempt from the notice requirement altogether. Even with notice, under the Cooper bill, cities and counties would be authorized to adopt the same types of ordinances that have been used in localities across the country to attack people of faith who are simply trying to live their lives and operate their businesses in a peaceful manner that is consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Thirdly, NC Family believes the enhanced penalty section of the proposal is simply an admission by the bill sponsors that they expect crimes to increase in intimate settings if the protections provided by House Bill 2 are repealed and men are allowed full access into girls’ and women’s bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms. The bill proposes to increase penalties for the following crimes: second degree forcible rape, second degree forcible sexual offense, indecent exposure, secret peeping, taking indecent liberties with children or a student, stalking, and assault. If the bill sponsors did not expect these crimes to increase, of if they did not see a need to create a greater deterrent for these crimes, there would be no need for this section of the bill.
Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue (D-Wake) and House Minority Leader Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake) accompanied the Governor at his press conference and subsequently filed the following bills in their respective chambers: Senate Bill 93 and House Bill 107.