North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday signed a law repealing the so-called “bathroom bill,” potentially lifting restrictions on publicly funded travel that California placed on his state at the start of this year.
The California ban on public-funded travel to North Carolina and three other states applies as long as laws remain in effect that allow exemptions to anti-discrimination measures protecting gay and transgender people.
North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” also known as HB2, made that state the most prominent one on California’s banned list. HB2 overturned local anti-discrimination measures and required people to choose restrooms in government buildings based on their gender at birth.
It met widespread protest, causing the NCAA to cancel tournaments it planned to host. A recent Associated Press analysis suggested that the law cost North Carolina as much $3.76 billion in lost business.
In North Carolina today, critics from the left are questioning whether the repeal goes far enough to protect gay and transgender residents. It restores bathroom access to pre-HB2 standards, but bans local governments from adopting their own anti-discrimination measures through 2020.
“After more than a year of inaction, today North Carolina lawmakers doubled-down on discrimination,” said a statement from Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
“This new law does not repeal HB2. Instead, it institutes a statewide prohibition on equality by banning non-discrimination protections across North Carolina and fuels the flames of anti-transgender hate. Each and every lawmaker who supported this bill has betrayed the LGBTQ community,” he wrote.
The California Office of Attorney General is charged with evaluating which states should be on the prohibited travel list, but as of Thursday nothing had changed. It keeps a roster on its website.