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North Carolina governor offers compromise to 'bathroom bill'

[JURIST] North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper [official website] proposed a compromise [press release] on Tuesday to repeal HB2 [text, PDF], also known as the "bathroom bill." The compromise strikes HB2 [USA Today report], imposes tougher penalties for crimes committed in restrooms and dressing rooms, and requires local governments to provide notice before adopting non-discrimination ordinances. HB2 provides that individuals must use the restroom based upon the sex indicated on their birth certificate in state or government buildings. Proponents have stated that this decreases crimes in these areas, while opponents are skeptical of such an impact. Cooper says that this compromise addresses the concerns of proponents for HB2 but details about the proposal have not been released. This is the second time an attempt to form a compromise has been announced after a deal collapsed in December [JURIST report].

North Carolina's "bathroom bill" has generated significant controversy. Last week, 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 2016 Cooper, then-North Carolina Attorney General, stated during a press conference that he would not defend [JURIST report] HB2, which he considers 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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