Local legislatorsneed to lead inrepeal of HB2

State Rep. Ken Goodman, whose District 66 includes a small slice of Robeson County, knows that playing ball with House Bill 2 is politically risky, but he also understands the damage the legislation is doing to North Carolina in objective if hard-to-measure metrics, lost jobs and revenue tied to sporting events and prized entertainment, and to the state’s image, which will always be subjective.

But he decided to become a primary sponsor of a piece of legislation introduced last week that would repeal the “bathroom bill,” understanding that some battles are worth waging when the stakes are high, including the potential for backlash.

On Tuesday the attempt at repeal appeared to hit another wall as Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican lawmakers disagree on how much power local governments should have to expand rights afforded to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.

At this point the question has to be raised: Are there politicians in Raleigh who are willing to sabotage attempts to repeal this legislation because it might be politically advantageous for them to do so?

We wonder because almost everyone, those to the far right, far left and in between seem to agree that the legislation accomplishes nothing, and yet comes at a high cost to North Carolina.

Said Goodman last week: “Both the far right and the far left hate the bill,. The governor isn’t on board yet, and both Democrats and Republicans supporting the repeal are trying to get members of their party to support the bill.

“My hope is that we can put together something not everyone will love, but something we can all live with. If we can do that, the state will be better off.”

That would suggest that a repeal could be easily crafted, but the legislation, which will turn 1 year old this month, remains with us. In December, a compromise fell apart with Republicans complaining that then Gov.-elect Roy Cooper reneged on promises because there was more hay to be made at the expense of Republicans. We believe as well that Democrats in advance of the November General Election, while being critical of HB2, were actually encouraging boycotts, knowing that would help their party at the ballot box.

But Republicans are far from blameless.

This egg was laid by the Charlotte City Council, which adopted legislation that was not needed knowing that there would be a high price to pay for the state, and the Queen City would be hurt disproportionately. But the next biggest mess was made by Republicans who acted hastily and overreached with their legislation.

Goodman voted for HB2 and has said he regrets doing so.

Reps. Charles Graham and Garland Pierce also voted in favor, and they have been much more fuzzy on how they stand in regard to what it has done to the state. We call on them — along with Democrat Rep. William Brisson of Bladen County and Rep. Brenden Jones, a freshman Republican who represents Bladen County and wasn’t part of the problem but can be part of the fix — to work with Goodman and get this bill through the House and onto the Senate, where we would hope Sen. Danny Britt, also a freshman and Republican, could help push it through.

It is time for all our local legislators to join Goodman in his effort the repeal this debilitating and embarrassing legislation. Leadership doesn’t come from the sidelines.

— From The Robesonian, Lumberton