North Carolina’s General Assembly is in a special session Wednesday discussing whether to repeal House Bill 2, the controversial state law that restricted LGBT protections. The repeal effort was thrown into question after reports surfaced that the Charlotte City Council left some portions of its ordinance that started this fight intact. There's been a lot of confusion around what city council did, so here's a primer.
City council on Monday did not repeal everything it added in February when it expanded its non-discrimination ordinance. On Monday, city council did repeal all the parts concerning hotels, restaurants and other places of public accommodations, as well as taxis and limousines. City attorney Bob Hagemann says that action covered the controversy over House Bill 2, including which bathrooms transgender people were allowed to use.
But the city council did not repeal something else it added in February: what’s called the commercial part of the non-discrimination ordinance. That concerns businesses that contract with the city, and the council added language in February preventing those businesses from discriminating against their vendors or customers because they’re LGBT. The city attorney has said all along that House Bill 2 did not invalidate that change.
"That ordinance being left in place had absolutely no effect on public accommodations or the restroom, locker room or changing facility issue," Hagemann told city council Wednesday morning. That's why council left it on the books on Monday.
But this morning, the city repealed that too to prevent lawmakers from saying Charlotte did not uphold its end of the bargain. The city has now repealed everything it added in February.
The city insists it was not trying to play tricks. Leaders thought the part they left on the books on Monday was not part of this House Bill 2 fight.