The North Carolina Republican state legislator who voted in favor of the state’s now-infamous “bathroom bill” is trying to back away from the monster she created.
According to WRAL News, state Sen. Tamara Barringer — faced with plunging poll numbers — is now calling for the “full and complete” repeal of the controversial law, a move her Democratic opponent has called politically opportunistic.
Barringer told WRAL that the law — which ordered trans people to use public facilities corresponding to their birth gender rather than their expressed gender and made it illegal to sue cities for employment discrimination — has had “unintended consequences.”
“I did not realize the consequences of this bill, that it would have worldwide consequences, and they just keep piling up,” the lawmaker said. “So, at this point, I’m willing to stand up and say, ‘Let’s put the brakes on it. Let’s get together and find a common solution that we call can live with and move forward.’”
House Bill 2 was passed in a rushed 12-hour session with Republican lawmakers overriding the objections of Democrats and rights activists. Since its passage into law and implementation across the state, multiple touring performers have canceled their North Carolina shows and just this week, the NCAA announced it will withdraw seven college championship games from the state.
Barringer is the senator for Wake County. Her district will lose a projected $2 million in revenue due to the NCAA decision.
Statewide, Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republicans are finding themselves faced with a rising tide of negative public opinion. According to Public Policy Polling’s August numbers Democratic state Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper is edging ahead of McCrory as the governor’s approval ratings remain “underwater.” Some 47 percent of voters view the Tea Party governor unfavorably versus 41 percent who say he’s doing a good job.
“Voters overwhelmingly think [H.B. 2] is hurting the state,” said PPP. “58% say it’s hurting North Carolina to only 22% who think it’s helping. Specifically on the issue of the economy 58% say it’s hurting the state to just 8% who think it’s helping.”
Democrats say that Barringer’s about face on the law is just cynical political maneuvering in the face of plummeting poll numbers for Republicans statewide.
“A vote is a vote. When she voted for HB2 in March, Sen. Barringer knew what she was doing,” said Dustin Ingalls — campaign manager to Barringer’s challenger, Democratic state school board member Susan Evans. “Only now that she’s in danger of losing her seat does she waffle. Her latest change of mind is certainly not a change of heart. It’s a purely political move designed to make voters forget that she is responsible for the loss of jobs and millions of dollars in economic investment in her district.”
Thus far, no other state Republicans have joined Barringer’s call to repeal the law. When WRAL asked her if she consulted with the state party before making her announcement, she said, “I have not talked to leadership, and I’ve not talked to other Republicans. But I do hope that they will listen because this is important. It’s important to North Carolina, it’s important to our citizens. We need to fix this, work this out and move forward.”
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