HB2 response deadline looms as Republicans convene for annual convention

Sen. Ralph Hise (R), Mitchell County.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – As more than 1,000 North Carolina Republicans convene in Greensboro Friday night for their annual convention, GOP leaders are faced with responding to the federal government, which has threatened the state with losing federal funding due to the passage of House Bill Two.

The U.S. Department of Justice says North Carolina is violating the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against the transgender community. The DOJ gave the governor until Monday to decide how the state will address the situation.

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore said that deadline is unreasonable and won’t be met. Gov. Pat McCrory says he will respond and some tell CBS North Carolina that the governor will formally disagree with the federal government.

“There is nothing in the works from the legislature or others that is going to change North Carolina’s stance on HB2,” said Sen. Ralph Hise (R), Mitchell County.

HB2 opponents point out that would put North Carolina at risk of potentially losing billions of dollars of federal funding.

“The federal government seems pretty serious and based on my conversations with folks in Washington, D.C., this is a pretty serious threat,” said Rep. Pricey Harrision, a Democrat from Guilford County.

If funds were cut, it would impact money that would go to the state’s schools and university system.

Supporters of House Bill 2 believe the federal government’s interpretation of the law is wrong.

“They think that they can push North Carolina to do what they want to do,” Hise said. “I don’t think you’ve ever seen that this legislature is one that responds well to those types of threats.”

While the loudest voices in the debate have come from the anti-HB2 forces, opinions in North Carolina are split.

“I respect the governor and the lieutenant governor’s position on it,” said Onslow County resident Sally Wilson.

CBS North Carolina has confirmed that the U.S. Department of Transportation is looking into whether HB2 violates its nondiscrimination policies for federal grants.

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