North Carolina governor says HB2 tweak restores state discrimination laws

by WorldTribune Staff, July 19, 2016

Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation on July 18 that modified the HB2 law to restore the right of employees in North Carolina to sue for discrimination in state court.

“Today, we have restored the right to sue for discrimination in state courts, which I requested before this year’s legislative session began,” McCrory said in a statement.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory

“The issue of gender identity and expression in regards to access to bathrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities is a national issue that will be settled in the courts, in response to North Carolina and 21 other states challenging the federal overreach by the Obama administration,” the governor said.

North Carolina lawmakers say they unintentionally blocked the right to sue for discrimination in state court when they passed the HB2 law in March.

McCrory’s tweak gives people the right to file discrimination lawsuits in state court within one year of the alleged offense, which is shorter than the previous three-year limit. State Senate leader Phil Berger’s office said the one-year limit is similar to other statutes of limitation on state court claims.

The legislature and governor left intact the provisions of HB2 that requires transgender people in government facilities to use bathrooms matching the gender on their birth certificates rather than the gender they identify with.

LGBT activists and most Democratic legislators called for an outright repeal of HB2, but pro-HB2 lawmakers said they were trying to ensure women and children are safe in public restrooms.

Six North Carolina residents and the U.S. Department of Justice have sued to halt HB2. A federal judge will hear arguments next month on whether to block provisions of the bill while the lawsuits are pending.