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Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger refuses to repeal HB2

Maryam Mohamed
  Staff Writer

 

Phil Berger and other Republican officials in the House announced that they were not planning to repeal HB2, defeating NC Governor Roy Cooper’s latest attempt at a deal.

 

HB2 advocates have claimed that it protects women from sexual predators in the bathroom, despite no evidence of their scenario’s occurrence.

 

“Roy Cooper, Jennifer Roberts, and anyone else actively fighting the common-sense bathroom safety bill needs to explain why they think what this man put this woman through in a Charlotte bathroom this week [July 2016] should be legal,” Berger said in a Charlotte news release.

 

On Tuesday, February 14 Governor Roy Cooper, as well as Democratic party leaders Dan Blue and Darren Jackson, stated that this new proposal would meet the needs of both parties. However, Berger expressed his extreme disapproval regarding Cooper’s proposed legislation.

 

“Gov. Cooper’s press conference is the first we’ve heard of his so-called compromise, so if he has a list of members willing to support his proposal, he should make it public now,” Berger said. “Given that Gov. Cooper’s refusal to enforce existing criminal trespass laws as attorney general was a major reason legislators were forced to pass HB2 in the first place, it is difficult to take seriously his pledge on strengthening penalties.”

 

Cooper’s proposal stated that the cities and counties who create new LGBTQ non discrimination laws must inform the state legislatures’ within a 30 day notice. Additionally, crimes that were committed in bathrooms and locker rooms would result in a harsher punishment.

 

“This proposal protects all kinds of people in public restrooms and dressing rooms,” Cooper said. “It sends a strong signal that the state is not going to tolerate these crimes.”

 

Governor Cooper is aware of the stigma that this legislation has left on North Carolina.

 

“I know North Carolinians are tired of hearing about this,” he said. “HB 2 has divided us and stained our reputation,” Cooper said.

 

Human Rights group Equality NC director Chris Sgro explained that the HB2 bill is negatively affecting the state of North Carolina and its consequences are destructive.

 

“We all know that transgender people do not pose a public safety risk and should be protected from discrimination, not made the targets of it as HB2 does. Let us be very clear about what’s going on. Tim Moore and Phil Berger are acting against the best interest of our state and the LGBTQ community,” Srgo stated. “They are treating our economy like a political football and trying to cast blame on everyone else for their failure to actually repeal HB2 in December.”

 

Berger’s spokeswoman, Amy Auth voiced her own opinion on Cooper’s recent proposal.

 

“Given that Gov. Cooper’s refusal to enforce existing criminal trespass laws as attorney general was a major reason legislators were forced to pass HB2 in the first place, it is difficult to take seriously his pledge on strengthening penalties,” Auth declared.

 

Auth added that  the new proposition still neglects the alleged underlying issue.

 

“This proposal does nothing to address the basic privacy concerns of women and young girls who do not feel comfortable using the bathroom, undressing and showering in the presence of men, and as we saw in Charlotte last year, it does not require an assault to make a woman feel violated,” Auth began. “Gov. Cooper continues to dodge the question, but North Carolinians deserve to know his position on the key HB2 issue: does he believe men should be able to go into women’s bathrooms and shower facilities?”

 

To add even more controversy, people who support the repeal of HB2 were still not satisfied with Cooper’s new proposal.

 

“No member of the LBGT community is a risk to public safety in a public restroom or anywhere else, and that conversation is, frankly, a distraction from the real issue,” Sgro said. “At this point, we all know what the answer is — full repeal of HB2. Only a full repeal of HB2 will fix our state, allow businesses to come back and allow for the safety of LGBTQ North Carolinians.”

 

Executive Director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance Scott Dupree, applauded Cooper’s effort to offer a new proposal for HB2.

 

“There may be other proposals that could also get us back into the business of hosting major events, but I am confident the governor’s proposal would almost certainly do it,” Dupree said.

 

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