Friday, March 31, 2017

North Carolina Repeals "Bathroom Law", But Pre-Empts Local Regulation

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper yesterday signed into law House Bill 142 (full text), a compromise bill that repeals H.B. 2, the state's controversial "bathroom law" that restricted use of restrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government offices by transgender individuals. (See prior posting.) The new law also repeals Session Law 2016-99, and thus apparently eliminates any private action under state law for employment discrimination. The new law prohibits local governments, state universities and state agencies from enacting their own regulation of access to multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.  It also prohibits local governments until Dec. 1, 2020 from enacting or amending any ordinance regulating private employment practices or public accommodations.  In his remarks (full text) in signing H.B. 142, Gov. Cooper said in part:
This law I’m signing today is not just about North Carolina’s reputation – or jobs and sports. It’s about working to end discrimination. Under HB2, North Carolina had zero LGBT protections. Today’s law not only provides for LGBT protections, but opens the door for more.
 This is not a perfect deal or my preferred solution. It stops short of many things we need to do as a state.
 In a perfect world, we would have repealed HB2 today and added full statewide protections for LGBT North Carolinians. Unfortunately, our supermajority Republican legislature will not pass these protections. But this is an important goal that I will keep fighting for.
Washington Post reports on these developments.