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Another effort at 'bathroom bill' fix fizzles

(MGNOnline.com photo)

RALEIGH - Another effort to craft legislation to get rid of North Carolina's "bathroom's bill" and halt more economic losses appears gone as Republicans and Democrats point fingers over whether an agreement ever existed.

The GOP-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper have been trying to find a way to repeal House Bill 2 before the NCAA decides to leave the state out of hosting championship events through 2022. The NCAA had mentioned a deadline this week.

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House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said Tuesday evening that they had agreed to a plan from Cooper's office that would repeal HB2 but include other provisions.

Berger said Cooper backed out of that plan.

The House Democratic leader said later there had been no formal offer and called the Republican leaders' news conference a stunt because the GOP lacks the votes to pass a bill.

In a statement, Gov. Cooper said:

"It's frustrating that Republican leaders are more interested in political stunts than negotiating a compromise to repeal HB2. While Governor Cooper continues to work for a compromise, there are still issues to be worked out, and Republican leaders' insistence on including an Indiana-style RFRA provision remains a deal-breaker. Any compromise must work to end discrimination, repair our reputation, and bring back jobs and sports, and a RFRA is proven to do just the opposite."

The following is the statement from Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore:

"The governor's proposal: -- Repeals HB2; -- Guarantees privacy in bathrooms and shower facilities by leaving regulation of multi-occupancy facilities to the state, returning to the status quo prior to passage of Charlotte's bathroom ordinance that women and girls should not have to share bathrooms with men; -- Authorizes local governments to pass employment and accommodation non-discrimination ordinances, provided they are consistent with federal employment and accommodation non-discrimination law; and -- Protects the rights of conscience by allowing citizens to collect court costs and attorney fees if they successfully pursue legal action proving a violation of their constitutional rights, as protected by Article I Section 13 of the North Carolina Constitution and the First Amendment. "We believe the four points in Gov. Cooper's compromise proposal represent a path forward by repealing House Bill 2, protecting citizens' privacy in bathrooms and changing rooms, authorizing local governments to adopt anti-discrimination ordinances consistent with federal law, and providing legal protections for violations of constitutional rights of conscience. We believe if the governor can get Democratic legislators to support the principles outlined in his proposal, we can pass a bipartisan bill that will put the distraction of HB2 behind us once and for all," said Berger and Moore.

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