Controversies

North Carolina lawmakers announce plan to repeal 'bathroom bill'

FILE - In this May 17, 2016, file photo, a new sticker designates a gender neutral bathroom at Nathan Hale high school in Seattle. A federal judge in Texas is blocking for now the Obama administration's directive to U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

FILE - In this May 17, 2016, file photo, a new sticker designates a gender neutral bathroom at Nathan Hale high school in Seattle. A federal judge in Texas is blocking for now the Obama administration's directive to U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)  (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

North Carolina's controversial "bathroom bill" may soon be flushed away.

At a late-night press conference Wednesday, Republican lawmakers announced an agreement with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on legislation to repeal the law known as House Bill 2, which was enacted last year.

The law limits LGBT nondiscrimination protections and requires transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.

The new proposal would repeal House Bill 2, but it would still leave state legislators in charge of policy on public restrooms. Local governments would be forbidden to pass nondiscrimination ordinances covering sexual orientation and gender identity until December 2020.

The announcement came after the NCAA said North Carolina sites won't be considered for championship events from 2018 to 2022 "absent any change" in House Bill 2, which it views as discrimination.

Local media outlets reported that the NCAA had set the state a noon Thursday deadline to make changes to House Bill 2 so it could be considered to host the organization's championships. North Carolina cities, schools and other groups have offered 131 bids for such events.

The law already has prompted some businesses to halt expansions and entertainers and sports organizations to cancel or move events, including the NBA All-Star game in Charlotte. An Associated Press analysis this week found that HB2 already will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said the new legislation would be voted on in the state Senate Thursday morning, with a vote in the state House to follow. 

Moore and Berger said in a statement that the proposal "fully protects bathroom safety and privacy." Cooper said he supported the proposal, saying it was "not a perfect deal," but begins to repair the state's reputation.

It was unclear whether there were enough House and Senate votes to pass it. The Republican announcement followed several hours of private meetings among lawmakers, and with Berger and Moore shuttling between their corner offices at the Legislative Building.

Leaders of national and state gay rights groups said Wednesday evening they only want legislation that completely repeals HB2 and does nothing else. They have complained about previous compromise proposals -- that ultimately failed -- because they said it kept discrimination on the books against LGBT people.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.