RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper told North Carolina legislators to repeal the state’s House Bill 2, saying the law is “the dark cloud hanging over our state of promise.”
The new governor made the comments Monday night while giving his first “State of the State” address to a joint session of the House and Senate in Raleigh.
The GOP-controlled legislature passed the law last year that limits LGBT rights and which restrooms transgender people can use in schools and other government buildings.
At least two compromises to do away with HB2 have fallen apart since December amid partisan rancor.
Cooper said North Carolina citizens are sick of hearing about the law and said it drains energy from the other work elected officials should be doing.
In a response to Cooper’s speech, the Republican leader of the North Carolina Senate called Cooper’s vision for the state a “mirage” that would return the state to “our troubled past” of excessive government spending and high jobless rates.
Senate leader Phil Berger has led the chamber since 2011. He pre-recorded a Republican response to Cooper’s State of the State address that highlighted GOP accomplishments and blasted Cooper, liberal interest groups and the media.
Berger says Cooper talks a lot about compromise but blames Cooper for urging Democratic lawmakers to oppose recent legislation to do away with House Bill 2.
Cooper said those bills either wouldn’t work or fell short of what was needed.
Berger also derided the Left for organizing “vulgar rallies” and for criticizing Republicans as dishonest, immoral and bigoted.