But for some, the action was too little, too late.
David McLennan, a political science professor at Meredith College, said in an email the governor’s unexpected action was an attempt to mitigate the damage from House Bill 2 on McCrory’s re-election.
“The governor is likely to discover that the damage to his campaign has already been done,” McLennan said.
He said according to poll numbers, the law was hurting the state’s ability to attract business — and McCrory’s reelection campaign is centered on his work to reinvigorate the state’s economy, prompting the executive action.
Mike Meno, spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, said the action essentially does three things: expands protections for LGBT workers who are state employees, affirms that private businesses can do what they want with their nondiscrimination policies and calls on the legislature to restore residents’ private right of action in state court.
House Bill 2 initially took away North Carolinians’ right to file a lawsuit in state court if they were terminated because of discrimination. Residents could only file in the federal court, a process that Meno said was more expensive, harder to find attorneys for and gives only a 180-day window to file — and now it’s up to the very legislature that passed the law to change it.
Sarah McBride, spokesperson for the Center for American Progress, said while protection of LGBT state workers is a step in the right direction, some of the most harmful aspects of the law are still present.
“It does nothing to protect North Carolinians who are transgender from discrimination. It does nothing to protect transgender UNC students from discrimination when they try to access bathrooms, and really it just doubles down on some of the worst aspects of HB2,” McBride said.