A bipartisan proposal to repeal House Bill 2 has emerged, but critics say it may not pass. 

Although previous repeal attempts have failed, House Bill 186 has received media attention as a potential way to repeal the law passed nearly a year ago. 

If passed, the bill would allow localities to craft their own nondiscrimination ordinances. However, voters could decide whether the ordinances should remain if they petition for a referendum. The bill would also create exemptions to nondiscrimination ordinances for religious organizations and impose tougher penalties for crimes committed in bathrooms and changing facilities.

“At the moment, [the passage of HB186] doesn’t sound likely,” said Pope McCorkle, associate professor of the practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy. 

McCorkle noted that the bill has been sent to the Rules Committee, commonly known as a “traditional burial ground” for legislation.

“When something is sent to Rules, it’s usually sent to die, or sent there to hang out and see if a consensus majority can get behind it,” McCorkle said. 

McCorkle speculated that a bill only undoing the original House Bill 2 would pass, but that Republican leadership has thus far refused to allow such a bill to receive a vote.

Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Democrat from Greensboro, N.C., agreed with McCorkle's assessment. 

“The problem is the Republican leadership doesn’t want to bring it up unless at least half of their caucus supports it,” Harrison, Trinity '80, said.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President pro tempore Phil Berger, both Republicans, did not respond to requests for comment. 

According to the News and Observer, Berger said he was pleased by the potential for compromise but faulted Gov. Roy Cooper for a failed December attempt to repeal the law.

Cooper, whose campaign promises included a repeal of House Bill 2, has stated that House Bill 186 would be an insufficient solution.

“I am concerned that this legislation as written fails the basic test of restoring our reputation, removing discrimination and bringing jobs and sports back to North Carolina,” he said in a February statement.

McCorkle described House Bill 186 as a failed attempt to satisfy both sides.

“They’re not addressing the problem that HB2 needs to die,” he said. “HB2 needs to go away and anything short of that is probably not going to help.”

Democrats in the legislature have filed bills that repeal and restore nondiscrimination ordinances struck down by House Bill 2 without stipulations attached. 

Harrison said these "clean" repeal bills would go a long way toward restoring North Carolina’s reputation, while HB186 “just continues to stain the state and brings us down.”

However, the chances of any sort of bill passing were “very slim,” she said. 

Harrison added that the NCAA is in the process of determining the location of its future tournaments. Without a repeal bill, North Carolina may not be able to host until at least 2022.

“Enough is enough,” she said. “Let’s repeal it. Let’s restore our state’s reputation. Let’s get our economy back on track. Let’s get these games back in the best state in this country.”