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N.C. Attorney General: Executive Order 'A Day Late and a Veto Short'

N.C. Attorney General: Executive Order 'A Day Late and a Veto Short'

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper

In a statement, Roy Cooper told Pat McCrory, "Governor, work to repeal HB 2." 

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is the latest critic to come out against a recent executive order from Gov. Pat McCrory amending select provisions of its controversial House Bill 2.

Signed into law on March 23, the legislation bars transgender people in the state from using restrooms and locker rooms that do not that correspond with their gender identity.

"Governor McCrory's executive order is a day late a veto short," the state's AG said.

"The sweeping nondiscrimination law he signed has already cost North Carolina hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue. I'm glad Governor McCrory has finally acknowledged the great damage his legislation has done, but he needs to do much more. The truth is, this executive order doesn't change the fact that HB 2 has written discrimination into the law," he continued.

In a video released Wednesday, McCrory said that he would be taking further action on HB 2, following widespread business backlash. According to the Human Rights Campaign, over 120 companies have come out against the North Carolina bill.

"After listening to people's feedback for the past several weeks on this issue, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, a lot of passion and frankly, selective outrage and hypocrisy, especially against the great state of North Carolina," McCrory said. "Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state's commitment to privacy and equality."

The updated version of HB 2 removes provisions that ban private individuals from suing North Carolina for discrimination, while allowing individual businesses to set their own policies on bathroom use.

It did not, however, remove language that blocks transgender people from using the public facilities that most closely correspond with their gender identity. In his statement, McCrory defended the bill's overall intent, saying that he would fight to "maintain common sense gender-specific restroom and locker facilities in government buildings and in our schools."

In a statement posted to Twitter, Cooper claimed that this proposed fix to the bill simply isn't enough--and urged HB 2's full repeal.

Cooper, the Democrat running against McCrory in the 2016 gubernatorial race, has previously said that he will not defend HB 2 in court, calling it a "national embarrassment."

"HB 2 is in direct conflict with our policy here at the North Carolina Department of Justice," Cooper stated in a March 29 press conference. "In order to protect our nondiscrimination policy and employees, along with those of our client, the state treasurer's office, part of our argument will be that HB 2 is unconstitutional. Therefore, our office will not represent the defendants in this lawsuit, nor future lawsuits involving the constitutionality of HB 2."

The Tar Heel State is currently being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal, and Equality North Carolina, who seek to challenge HB 2. One of the plaintiffs in the case is Joaquin Carcano, who works at UNC-Chapel Hill. In a statement, he called the bill "hurtful and demeaning."

"I just want to go to work and live my life," Carcano said. "This law puts me in the terrible position of either going into the women's room where I clearly don't belong or breaking the law."

The ACLU's opposition to HB 2 hasn't changed since Gov. McCrory's executive order was announced. Chase Strangio, a staff attorney for the ACLU's HIV/AIDS Project, told NBC News, "It's clear that this is a political ploy from the governor that does absolutely nothing to change or roll back many harms to the LGBT community [impacted by] HB2."

Sarah Preston, who serves as the executive director of the North Carolina ACLU, agreed.

"Gov. McCrory's actions... are a poor effort to save face after his sweeping attacks on the LGBT community," she argued in a press release, "and they fall far short of correcting the damage done when he signed the harmful House Bill 2 into law which stigmatizes and mandates discrimination against gay and transgender people."

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