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North Carolina Lawmakers Approve Compromise 'Bathroom Bill'

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FILE - A sign welcomes all genders at the bathroom of the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, North Carolina, May 3, 2016.

A compromise repealing North Carolina's "bathroom bill" passed the state's General Assembly on Thursday and now awaits the governor's signature.

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who took office in January, has said he supports the bill and intends to sign it into law, despite receiving pushback from Democrats and rights activists who say the new bill is too similar to the original law.

"I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow," Cooper said in a statement Wednesday. "It's not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation."

House Bill 2, or HB2, is mostly known for banning individuals from using public bathrooms, such as in schools or government buildings, that do not correspond with their biological sex as listed on their birth certificates.

According to a statement released by Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, the bill would repeal HB2 but would leave bathroom regulations to the state — which was the case before the city of Charlotte passed an ordinance last year allowing people to use bathrooms corresponding with how they self-identify.

The bill would enact a moratorium on similar ordinances until 2020 — a source of controversy as cities and counties will no longer be able to pass their own anti-discrimination ordinances. The moratorium was a step too far for many North Carolina Democrats as well as rights groups.

"Make no mistake: This newest #HB2 proposal is a bad deal that does not actually #RepealHB2," the Human Rights Campaign tweeted from its official account.

The Republican-controlled legislature passed the law last march. An attempt to repeal in December fell apart, leaving it in place.

HB2 had been blasted by gay rights groups, national leaders and celebrities who have boycotted the state, resulting in job losses in the tourism and entertainment industries.

Thursday's vote came ahead of a deadline set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which had threatened to bar the state from hosting any sports championships unless the bill was repealed.

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