Today, Governor Cooper held a press conference to discuss the repeal of House Bill 2. Full remarks as prepared are below:
Thank you and good afternoon. I just signed House Bill 142, which repeals House Bill 2.
For over a year now, House Bill 2 has been a dark cloud over our great state. It has stained our reputation. It has discriminated against our people. And it has caused great economic harm to many of our communities.
Today, we repealed House Bill 2. We begin to end discrimination. We begin to bring back jobs and sporting events. And we begin to repair our reputation. It is an important step, but it cannot be the only step.
We are a welcoming state. Our people are welcoming. HB2 was not. But today our laws are catching up with our people.
This law I’m signing today is not just about North Carolina’s reputation – or jobs and sports. It’s about working to end discrimination. Under HB2, North Carolina had zero LGBT protections. Today’s law not only provides for LGBT protections, but opens the door for more.
This is not a perfect deal or my preferred solution. It stops short of many things we need to do as a state.
In a perfect world, we would have repealed HB2 today and added full statewide protections for LGBT North Carolinians. Unfortunately, our supermajority Republican legislature will not pass these protections. But this is an important goal that I will keep fighting for.
House Bill 2 created a misguided, unworkable, and unnecessary requirement that individuals use bathrooms that matched the gender on their birth certificate. Today’s law immediately removes that restriction.
Now, transgender kids aren’t subject to a horrible requirement and embarrassment that could put them in even more danger of being bullied or preyed on.
HB2 stopped a number of businesses from locating or expanding in our state. Companies I’ve talked to who were hesitant or refusing to bring business to our state before passage of today’s bill are now coming.
Sports are coming back. The ticket takers, the housekeeping staff, and parking attendants working at arenas around our state will have more money in their pockets.
With HB2 in place, local governments could not pass protections for their LGBT employees. Now they can.
With HB2 in place, local governments could not pass laws to protect LGBT people in their contracting. Now they can.
Under HB2, a supposed bathroom bill, cities were prohibited from adding minimum wage requirements for companies they contract with. But now that restriction is removed.
With HB2 in place, people had only a short amount of time to sue for discrimination. Now, they’ll have three times longer.
Those are some of the protections local governments can add today because of the law I just signed.
And in 2020, our local governments will be able to pass stronger non-discrimination ordinances that protect more people.
Under House Bill 2, justice was permanently denied.
I wish it were sooner. I truly do. But while these additional protections may be temporarily delayed, they will not be forever denied. And I will work to make sure they are not.
This new law is a compromise. But we stopped Republican leaders from adding provisions that permanently placed LGBT rights subject to referendum or allowed people to use religious beliefs to discriminate. I made clear that was not going to happen and it didn’t.
This is not the end of our work to make North Carolina better. And I will continue pressing every single day to make our state a more fair and welcoming place.
Thank you and I will now take your questions.