Excerpt From: News & Observer. Written By: Craig Jarvis.
Gov. Roy Cooper reached out to Republican legislators in his first State of the State address on Monday night, emphasizing their shared interests and not the high-profile skirmishes of his first 2 1/2 months in office.
Although the governor’s tone was conciliatory as he proposed his path to a better state, he drew the line at giving up ground over the repeal of House Bill 2, the law rolling back LGBT discrimination protections.
The state’s economy and reputation have been damaged by the widespread reaction that has played out since former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill into law a year ago. Cooper, a Democrat, said if the legislature approves a straightforward repeal of the law he will sign it the same day.
HB2 struck down local nondiscrimination ordinances and requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate while they are in schools and other government facilities. Supporters of the law cite fears of safety and discomfort in restrooms. Opponents say it is discriminatory, and it prompted cancellations by businesses and entertainers.
The governor said there is common ground to be found on education, health care, drug abuse, creating jobs, raising the age for juvenile court proceedings, and disaster recovery.
“We will find this agreement because too much is at stake if we don’t,” Cooper said.
“I also raise this issue at the beginning because HB2 is the dark cloud hanging over our state of promise,” Cooper said in remarks provided ahead of time. “It drains the energy from what should be our work for the people of this state. Citizens from Cherokee to Chocowinity are sick of it and they are wondering when we’re going to cut away this heavy anchor weighing us down. Let’s do it this week. It’s time to move on.”