Responding to intense pressure against the legislation from organizations and event professionals, North Carolina lawmakers have repealed the so-called “bathroom bill” the state adopted last year. The move came after the National College Athletics Association pulled seven championship events from the state immediately following the bill’s passage and threatened to relocate more if the legislature did not abolish the controversial bill.
North Carolina’s bathroom legislation, called HB2, allowed the state to mandate for every municipality that individuals were required to use the restroom corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate, irrespective of transgender status. The repeal of that legislation does leave a small provision in place that some event professionals find troublesome – a clause that local governments may not create their own anti-discrimination laws for the next several years. After 2020, municipalities would be able to enact local laws deemed protective to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community so long as those laws did not contain provisions regarding bathroom usage among those individuals.
North Carolina experienced the loss of millions of dollars in event revenue after the original bill’s passage as organizers either relocated planned events or passed over the state completely in the consideration process for future events. Several states and major metropolitan cities banned travel by public employees to North Carolina because of HB2, which caused meeting and trade show planners to look elsewhere for facilities.
Destination management officials estimate the legislation’s brief lifespan in North Carolina cost the city of Raleigh $24 million alone, though they are optimistic that business will return now that the legislation has been abolished.