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North Carolina considers changes to HB2

Proposed modifications will not touch the section requiring transgender citizens to use public restrooms consistent with birth certificates

North Carolina considers changes to HB2
Photo via Darrenjackson.org
Representative Darren Jackson speaks on the North Carolina House floor during a 23 March 2016 debate on HB2

Politicians in North Carolina are looking to modify HB2, the anti-LGBTI law that has placed the US southern state in the middle of a national conversation over gay rights.

The law removes local legal protections for LGBTI people and prohibits transgender residents from using public facilities corresponding to their gender identity.

State Representative Darren Jackson, an opponent of the law, told The News & Observer that he has seen a rough draft of revisions that could be introduced in the legislature next week. The provision blocking transgender residents from using public restroom consistent with their gender identity remains.

There is an exception made for residents from states that don’t allow changes to birth certificates.

Jackson added another addition is the ability to use state courts to sue for employment discrimination.

HB2 blocks residents from using state courts as a remedy. Instead they are forced to the federal court system (a more complicated process).

There are also harsher penalties for crimes in bathrooms. Cities and counties are still blocked from writing their own nondiscrimination laws, but state’s statutes will come closer to federal regulations.

Organizations who have railed against HB2 are displeased with these fixes.

‘We are shocked that at a time when our lawmakers should be fighting for statewide protections for all people, they are instead attempting to get away with compounding their discriminatory mistake,’ Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, said in  a statement. ‘This latest effort to perpetuate the harm that HB2 is wreaking on all North Carolinians is legislative malpractice, pure and simple.’

‘We’ve seen this show before and we know how it ends,’ said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. ‘If these reports are true, the actions of these legislators are about to make the mess they’ve created even worse. By doubling down on this mistake, they will continue to harm residents and visitors as well as alienate businesses who want to see HB2 repealed and replaced with statewide non-discrimination protections.’

North Carolina’s legislative session is scheduled to end right before 4 July. It resumes late 2017 January.

Presently the state and federal government are suing each other over the law.


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