Another effort to repeal House Bill 2 fell flat in the North Carolina General Assembly on Tuesday.
“What we did [Tuesday] is try to force a vote on House Bill 2 repeal – a clean repeal,” said House Democratic leader Darren Jackson at a press conference following Tuesday’s House session.
Jackson proposed an amendment to a banking bill that would repeal House Bill 2. That amendment was ruled out of order, but Jackson appealed for a vote by the full House, a de facto vote on a clean repeal of the law that advocates maintain is the worst piece of anti-LGBT legislation in the nation.
The appeal failed by a 74-44 vote along party lines.
Jackson said this was brought up Tuesday because of an impending deadline to host collegiate championship events in North Carolina over the next five years.
“I feel like this week is definitely the week that we have to get something done if we’re going to have any chance of saving the 130-some bids that we have out with the NCAA to bring some of these events back to North Carolina.”
The NCAA pulled the first two rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament out of Greensboro over HB2. The games, which will include the opening round matchups for both Duke and UNC, are now set to be played in Greenville, South Carolina. Multiple championship events across varying sports were also pulled from various locations in the Tar Heel state by the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference due to HB2.
Local House Democrat Graig Meyer said that Tuesday showed Democrats were prepared to repeal House Bill 2, but he blamed five House Republicans in particular for not following through on campaign promises.
“We have one Republican, Representative Chris Malone from here in Wake County,” Meyer said, “who used a campaign advertisement that called for a full repeal of House Bill 2 and said that he supports adding antidiscrimination protections for LGBT citizens to our state laws.
“Representative Malone has not made a single public statement nor taken any action to make this happen since we’ve been back in session.”
With the Democrats voting to repeal the law, officials said 16 Republicans would have to join them for a repeal to pass the House.
Jackson added that there was concern among Democrats that once the ultimate NCAA decision is made there will be less urgency among Republicans to repeal the law.
“That is the fear is that once the NCAA makes this decision that the urgency in the Republican caucus may die down, might go away,” Jackson said. “It’s not in our caucus. Our caucus is very united about wanting to get this repealed.”
The NCAA wrote in a letter to the Human Rights Campaign that was released on Tuesday that the organization was standing firm in its commitment to holding events in states where all patrons will be treated equally. Meaning North Carolina would likely not be awarded any events until a suitable resolution to HB2.