After four years of controlling every branch of state government, Republicans in North Carolina are having a hard time understanding compromise and bipartisanship. They’ve passed legislation at will with very little successful resistance. That power led to overreach on bills like their voter suppression law and HB2. As voters tire of hyper-partisan rhetoric and gridlock, the GOP could pay a price for their intransigence.
Yesterday, Democrats in the House tried to move an HB2 repeal bill forward. It was a long-shot but at least they’re trying. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson offered an amendment to a banking bill that would have repealed HB2. Speaker Tim Moore said the amendment didn’t apply to the subject of the bill and ruled it out of order. Jackson appealed but his motion failed on a party line vote.
Republicans are trying desperately to shift the blame for the HB2 stalemate to Democrats but it’s not working. There are currently two bills filed in the House to repeal HB2. One is a clean repeal bill and the other is a so-called compromise bill put together by Republican legislator Chuck McGrady. Both bills are bottled up in the Rules committee, a place that bills go to die.
McGrady offered the bill initially as a starting point, but now it’s a take-it-or-leave-it option. That’s not compromise. Compromise happens when two sides of an issue get together and hammer out a solution.
If Republicans really wanted to get rid of House Bill 2, Speaker Moore should let the two bills move through the committee process. Maybe the legislators on the committees could find a solution. Maybe if the repeals bills got a little daylight instead of being shut up in a nonfunctioning committee, they would grow into something that could satisfy both sides—or at least get enough votes to remove our pariah status with businesses and entertainment groups.
Really, what do Republicans have to lose? They’re going to get the blame for lost business and revenue caused by HB2. They can’t credibly say that they have enough power to strip power from the governor and the court system and then say it’s Democrats’ fault they can’t pass a repeal bill.
Republicans haven’t needed Democratic support for four years. Now they do. They should learn how to compromise.