N.C. GOP lawmakers say bathroom deal proves effort was a Dem ‘political stunt’

Protesters rally at North Carolina statehouse. AP/Gerry Broome.

Protesters rally at North Carolina statehouse. AP/Gerry Broome.

North Carolina just can’t seem to quit legislating. 

Four days after Republican lawmakers there hammered through measures in a special session designed to cripple incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, N.C. legislators are set to again return to Raleigh tomorrow.

The purpose? Supposedly to scrap the controversial House Bill 2, aka “the bathroom bill” that has roiled Tar Heel politics.

Veteran N.C. scribe Jim Morrill and his colleagues at the Charlotte Observer break down the rapid series of events that led to legislators being called back just before the holidays.

It started when the Charlotte City Council voted unanimously on Monday, without any prior warning, to rescind its LGBT-friendly ordinance that initially prompted the legislature to pass H.B. 2.

According to the Observer, Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper privately urged members of the council the night before to take a deal that had first been floated in May: Repeal the ordinance and the legislature will take back H.B. 2.

Council’s Monday morning vote came after late-night lobbying by Cooper himself. He called Democratic Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles at 10 p.m. Sunday and Democrat Julie Eiselt a half-hour later.

 He said “if we cleaned up our books, that the General Assembly was motivated to call a special session to repeal (the law), and we felt this was our best opportunity,” Eiselt told the Observer.

Phil Berger and Tim Moore, the legislature’s Republican leaders, were cynical about the deal, even as they were left to defend it:

“Today Roy Cooper and (Charlotte Mayor) Jennifer Roberts proved what we said was the case all along: their efforts to force men into women’s bathrooms and shower facilities was a political stunt to drive out-of-state money into the governor’s race,” the Republican leaders said. “For months, we’ve said if Charlotte would repeal its bathroom ordinance that created the problem, we would take up the repeal of HB2.”

If all goes as planned — never a sure thing in any state legislature — the impacts will be felt here, as lawmakers plan a January return and a potential for a renewed fight over so-called religious liberty legislation.

Watch ajc.com for more if and when North Carolina acts.

***
Also in the everything that was old is new again category, our colleague Maureen Downey, over at her Get Schooled blog, on Monday featured a column from University of North Georgia professor Matthew Boedy about the coming rematch over campus carry in Georgia.

Republican leaders in the state House appear determined to bring the measure back before the General Assembly in January. You’ll recall Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed similar legislation in May. We ran into Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, the main sponsor of that bill last year, in Athens earlier this month at the Biennial. Jasperse gave no details but assured us he’d be busy come January.

Boedy’s column is worth reading, but the gist is he wants his fellow academics to prepare to fight anew.

“Well, here we go again,” Boedy writes at the top.

From “religious liberty,” to medical marijuana, to education reform to, yes, campus carry, the coming session could look a lot like the previous one.

***

Johnny Kauffman over at WABE has a quick take on the possible ethical questions that could arise for the Georgia legislators who run for Tom Price’s 6th District congressional seat without giving up their seats.

A hospital lobbyist gives money to a state lawmaker running for U.S. Congress, and the candidate turns around and votes on a hospital bill in the Georgia state legislature.

There’s only one sitting state legislator who’s officially jumped into the race so far, Republican Sen. Judson Hill, but several others could join him before long.

***

Because we’re in the holiday spirit, check out our colleague Jennifer Brett’s taste test of Trump champagne. 

Reader Comments 0

1 comments
HowdyJune
HowdyJune

There was a time when the Legislature of North Carolina and the Governor debated how they were going to make education in North Carolina better, how they were going to build a better infrastructure with four-lane highways passing within close proximity of every resident, how they were going to link all schools in the State with a fiber optic "information highway", how they were going to build a stronger economy and duplicate the success of the Research Triangle Park, throughout the State.  Now this is what occupies the North Carolina Legislature - who can go into which bathroom, what they can do to limit what an elected Governor from the other party can do, and on and on.  This is a sad spectacle and I am sure that some of the great Legislators and Governors of the past are rolling in their graves.  We are seeing what they spent a lifetime achieving and building destroyed by a few years of very bad government.