This article first appeared at American Lens News on February 14, 2017.
In a press conference held earlier today, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper proposed a three-step process for repealing House Bill 2 (HB2).
The Governor offered a compromise consisting of the following points as detailed in the press release on the Governor’s website:
- A full repeal of House Bill 2
- Tougher penalties for crimes committed in restrooms and dressing rooms
- A requirement that local governments give the legislature 30 days’ notice before voting on non-discrimination ordinances
Lt. Governor Dan Forest’s office issued a statement in response:
“If Governor Cooper’s proposed bill for repealing HB2 becomes law, it will create a state-sanctioned ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ policy in our bathrooms. Heterosexual men will be able to access women’s showers and bathrooms by simply posing as a transgender individual. They will be able to watch women and children shower, or shower next to them. As long as the man doesn’t touch them, assault them or film them, no legal protection would be afforded the offended woman or child. Nothing. As a husband and father of four, the concept of ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ as a meaningful response to HB2 is a sad commentary on how far the progressive movement and the elected officials beholden to it, will risk the safety of our people to achieve a radical social policy agenda.”
The Lt. Governor also tweeted out his response and added the hashtag #LookButDontTouch.
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) responded to the Governor’s HB2 press conference by blasting Cooper’s lack of action in the past as Attorney general. The statement also pointedly asks, “does he [Cooper] believe men should be able to go into women’s bathrooms and shower facilities?”
Full statement from Senator Berger’s office via Amy Auth:
“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. 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.’ 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. 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?”
Cooper insists this repeal is now “urgent”, yet while running for Governor, Cooper was was exposed as being actively involved in orchestrating economic blackmail on the state and to be using HB2 as a campaign weapon.
Point of fact, it seems the Governor is still engaging in economic blackmail to get his way, telling business leaders at state’s annual CEO Forum, “I want you as businesses to help me fight it, get rid of it.”
Cooper maintaining that the repeal of HB2 is “urgent” should be contrasted with his recent statements that he will not reverse his predecessor’s Executive Order number 93, which clarified HB2 for businesses.
Democrats in the state of North Carolina are 0-4 in their ability to repeal HB2. Prior to winning the governorship, Roy Cooper was behind two of those failed attempts.
The most recent attempt was in December 2016. Shortly after that failed attempt, it was noted by multiple sources that Governor Cooper personally called the democrat senators and specified they should vote ‘no’ to the repeal bill being debated.
The complaint by opponents of HB2 then became that the bill was not a ‘clean repeal bill’, meaning it had a moratorium or ‘cooling off’ period written in that would bar municipalities from writing a Charlotte style-ordinance which prompted the creation of HB2 in the first place.
It’s worth noting that the Charlotte City Council and the democrat senators were apparently all aware of the ‘cooling off’ period built into the repeal bill and had no issue with it. Cooper appears to have been the driving force behind rejection of the proposed cooling off period.