It took one year to pass legislation repealing HB2 — and it might take another three for its most disturbing legal effects to dissipate. Let’s count the hours.
In March 2017, after 12 months of enormous national pressure, North Carolina’s Republican-majority legislature passed, and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper signed, Session Law 2017-4. In doing so, they sent Session Law 2016-3, better known as HB2 (which excluded gender identity and sexual orientation from anti-discrimination and public accommodations protections and restricted public bathroom use by birth certificate-assigned gender) into the void.
One can see it right there in the first section of Session Law 2017-4: “S.L. 2016-3 and S.L. 2016-99 are repealed.”
At first, this looks like a simple story: Social justice warriors win! Whole phalanxes of conservative culture hoplites abandon their shields and flee.
Except when one reads all the way to sections three and four of the new law, things start looking a lot less triumphant for the rainbow-colored forces: “No local government in this State may enact or amend an ordinance regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations,” until Dec. 1, 2020, says the text of S.L. 2017-4.