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North Carolina bill proposed to end 'bathroom bill' impasse

[JURIST] North Carolina lawmakers filed a bipartisan bill [text, PDF] on Wednesday aimed at breaking the impasse over the state's so-called "bathroom bill" (HB2) [text, PDF] that requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificate. The bill (HB186) would repeal HB2 while also permitting cities to pass nondiscrimination ordinances with 30 days notice to the legislature. HB186 also bans discrimination in housing. Some LGBT advocates have criticized the measure as not doing enough to protect their rights, and it is unclear if the measure could pass both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly [official website]. Last week North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper [official website] proposed a compromise [JURIST report] to address the HB2 impasse, the details of which have been incorporated in this bill.

North Carolina's "bathroom bill" has generated significant controversy. Earlier this month, six Democrats in the North Carolina House of Representatives filed a bill [JURIST report] to repeal HB2. Last May former governor Pat McCrory filed a complaint for declaratory judgment asking the federal court to weigh in on the legality of the bill, but withdrew [JURIST reports] from the lawsuit in September. In March Cooper, then-North Carolina Attorney General, stated during a press conference that he would not defend [JURIST report] HB2, which he considered to be discriminatory against the LGBT community. Earlier that week North Carolina individuals and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against McCrory, claiming that the bill was unconstitutional and discriminatory. Earlier that month McCrory signed the bill into law [JURIST report], preventing local governments from enacting their own nondiscrimination ordinances and making them unable to pass laws allowing transgender people to use the public restroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity. In February of that year, McCrory issued an executive order [JURIST report] clarifying that the intention of the bill was to prevent crimes in bathrooms and similar places.

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