Metro Weekly

North Carolina state senator who voted for HB 2 calls for its repeal

Tamara Barringer, facing a competitive race, says she regrets the law's negative impact on the economy

State Sen. Tamara Barringer - Photo: Facebook.

State Sen. Tamara Barringer – Photo: Facebook.

“If we want to preserve the proud heritage of North Carolina, it is time for our leadership to consider a substantial and immediate repeal of HB 2.”

–North Carolina State Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Cary), the first Republican to call for the repeal of the state’s anti-LGBT HB 2 law, which restricts transgender people’s access to restrooms and repeals local LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances.

Although Barringer has called for repeal of the law, she insists she still doesn’t want biological males to use women’s locker rooms or bathrooms.

“Whenever legislative bodies rush to judgment on important public policy decisions, there are unintended consequences,” Barringer said in an emailed statement to The News & Observer. “With the most recent announcements impacting our state, there are simply too many examples of very sad and unfortunate ramifications and unintended effects of HB 2.”

Some of those ramifications include the loss of business, such as the scrapping of expansions for PayPalDeutsche Bank, and Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, the cancellation and relocation to New Orleans of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, and the relocation of at least seven college sports championships over the next year that had been scheduled to take place in North Carolina.

“I did not realize the consequences of this bill, that it would have worldwide consequences, and they just keep piling up,” Barringer told WRAL. “So, at this point, I’m willing to stand up and say, ‘Let’s put the brakes on it. Let’s get together and find a common solution that we call can live with and move forward.”

Barringer represents one of the more competitive districts in the state senate, and faces a strong challenge in November from Wake County school board member Susan Evans. A spokesman for Evans issued a statement saying her last-minute conversion won’t help Barringer save her seat.

“When she voted for HB 2 in March, Sen. Barringer knew what she was doing,” said Evans campaign spokesman Dustin Ingalls. “She knew the legal and economic consequences her constituents would experience. Only now that she’s in danger of losing her seat does she waffle.

“Her latest change of mind is certainly not a change of heart. It’s a purely political move designed to make voters forget that she is responsible for the loss of jobs and millions of dollars in economic investment in her district.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com