North Carolina hopes 'bathroom bill' deal saves NCAA events

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper holds a press conference at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh N.C. Thursday to announce that he signed a HB142 a compromise replacement bill for HB2
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02 April, 2017

Equality Federation condemned North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper for signing HB 142, a law that legislators attempted to frame as a repeal of the famously discriminatory HB 2.

HB142 has now eliminated HB2's requirement that transgender people use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings.

The ACC announced that it would once again consider North Carolina in a release Friday afternoon. "Once again, the North Carolina General Assembly has enshrined discrimination into North Carolina law".

Cooper said the new law is "not a ideal deal and it is not my preferred solution" as Republicans hold a supermajority in the Legislature and opposed the wide open transgender access in bathrooms, locker rooms and schools as activists have called for.

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said the repeal bill was a "disaster" which only "doubles down on discrimination" of LGBT people in the state. The NCAA had said it would refuse to hold championship events in North Carolina through 2022 unless the law was changed. Those second and third provisions upset members of the LGBT community, and the first provision upset members of the religious right. This inadequate, necessary replacement for a stupid, unnecessary law - repealing HB2 itself but extending restrictions on local anti-discrimination laws through 2020 - helps the latter far more than the former. It was expected to be written off the books in December, under the guidance of new Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, but that repeal effort failed at the last minute. Emmert said the NCAA Board of Governors will meet within "the next handful of days" to determine if the ban will be lifted. "Today", he said, "we begin to end discrimination".

The New York Times Editorial Board, "North Carolina's Bait-and-Switch on Transgender Restroom Law": "Getting employers and organizations to steer business and jobs to North Carolina should require more than window dressing".

North Carolina's struggle over HB2 offered an unexpected opportunity for neighboring SC, where recent college basketball tournament games that would have been played in Greensboro and Raleigh went across the state line.

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CNN is reporting that North Carolina's Greensboro Coliseum Complex lost over $72,000 when the Atlantic Coast Conference chose to relocate the 2017 ACC Swimming and Diving Championships. "It is something that I think satisfies some people, dissatisfies some people, but I think it's a good thing for North Carolina".

And GOP Rep. Carl Ford said: "If we could have props in here, I'd take a basketball covered in money and roll it down the middle aisle there".

"Everybody loves being in North Carolina for our games", Emmert said.

For the ACC's part, Swofford said in a statement that the new legislation allows the ACC's presidents to "reopen the discussion" about holding neutral-site events in North Carolina. They are the ones that need to come to a way to fully and cleanly repeal HB2 so that business will come back to our state.

FILE - Hedy Weinberg, right, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, speaks at the Legislative Plaza regarding a Tennessee transgender bathroom bill, April 13, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. And it's had a ripple effect, from the NCAA to civil rights groups. There had been economic pressure - for example, the NCAA threatened a complete pullout from North Carolina without repeal, and there was pressure from its National Basketball Association team, the Charlotte Hornets. Next year, the NCAA's coveted Final Four will be played in San Antonio. Donald Trump won North Carolina comfortably.

"This is what folks were looking for, and North Carolina has a long and storied history of both collegiate and professional sports", Lassiter said. "They were the ones that were agitating for a repeal", he noted.

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