Our View: Won't anyone sit down to talk with governor?


Rocky Mount Telegram

Friday, February 17, 2017

Compromise has been described as the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody believes he got the biggest piece.

By that definition, we suppose, Gov. Roy Cooper's attempt to find a palatable way to repeal House Bill 2 has failed. His compromise proposal this week seemed to leave both sides spitting out the crumbs. No one asked for more.

Which is a shame for North Carolina. We all know the financial ramifications. We've lost enough companies, concerts and sporting events already. Cooper expedited his proposal in hopes of staving off more disappointing decisions by the ACC and NCAA regarding future playoffs and championships.

It's clear that Republicans have no intention of doing anything about House Bill 2 – the so-called bathroom bill – regardless of the stain it leaves on North Carolina's reputation.

The reasons seem far more political than practical. PolitiFact – a feature in The (Raleigh) News & Observer – reported last year that there had been only three provable offenses involving transgender women in public rest rooms in the entire country. And all of those occurred in states in which there was no law allowing transgender people to use facilities for the gender they most closely identified with.

Cooper's proposal would repeal the requirement that transgender people use public restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates. It would, however, toughen laws against assaults in public restrooms.

N.C. Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger has said he sees no point in going further with Cooper's plan because he doesn't believe the governor will enforce any such law. But if Berger were sincere about finding a solution, he could toughen the legislation to his own suiting. That’s what the legislature does.

Critics from the left don't like the idea of requiring cities to notify the legislature at least 30 days in advance of enacting ordinances to allow transgender bathroom rights. But surely ridding the state of the law as it stands is a better alternative to what we have.

Throughout history, tough solutions to far tougher issues have been created when reasonable leaders sit down and work out reasonable compromises. Cooper has shown a willingness since before he took office to sit down at that table.

Won't anyone join him?