Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts

March 30, 2017

North Carolina Fakes Repeal to Bathroom Law


In the showdown between Gov. Roy Cooper and North Carolina’s Republican-led General Assembly over HB 2, it was the governor who blinked first.

As a result, North Carolina lawmakers are now moving forward with a bill to “repeal” HB 2 in name only while keeping the law’s most pernicious provisions. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore announced the compromise legislation late Wednesday night.

Under the terms of the deal, House Bill 142, which had initially dealt with occupational licensing boards, will be gutted and replaced with a one-page bill that “technically” repeals the section of state law created by HB 2, reports WRAL. But lawmakers have inserted language that preempts any locality, state agency, branch of government, university or community college in the state from regulating multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities, unless the General Assembly approves the change beforehand.

The bill also places a nearly four-year ban that prohibits any municipality from passing or amending any nondiscrimination ordinance that regulates employment or access to public accommodations (which does not include restrooms, showers or changing facilities). That section is set to expire on Dec. 1, 2020, by which time Republican leaders expect ongoing litigation over HB 2’s provisions and legal challenges to various anti-transgender laws across the country to be resolved by the courts.

The bill is expected to go before a Senate committee on Thursday morning, and will likely be approved by both houses in short order soon after.  
The deal is being sold as a “repeal” of HB 2 in the media, but it really just allows Cooper, Berger, and Moore to save face by arguing that the controversial law has been repealed in order to attract major corporations, conventions, and sporting events back to the state. An analysis by the Associated Press recently estimated that North Carolina has lost out on at least $3.76 billion over the next 12 years because of HB 2, with none of that money able to be recouped. 

The deal also provides political cover for various sporting associations, including the NCAA, the NBA, and the ACC, who have historically preferred to host sporting championships or other events in North Carolina and may have been concerned about maintaining the current boycott against the state. According to sources within the NCAA, Thursday is the last day by which North Carolina could repeal its law in order to be considered as a potential host city for various sporting championships. Otherwise, the NCAA is likely to pass over the state as a host city through the year 2022.

Additionally, some corporations who are wary of losing customers or clients as a result of their support of transgender rights may embrace the fake “repeal” as justification for them to begin resuming business with the Tar Heel State.

But while most North Carolinians may be relieved at the perception — even if it’s not real — that the HB 2 controversy is “behind them,” LGBTQ groups are practically apoplectic over the proposed deal.

Poll: North Carolinians say HB 2 not needed for privacy or safety
Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality NC, called the proposal a “train wreck” and urged Cooper and LGBTQ allies in the legislature not to go along with the fake “repeal” effort.

The National Center for Transgender Equality trained its fire on Cooper for agreeing to the so-called “compromise.”

“Let me be clear: this is not a repeal. It’s a cynical ploy that will continue to hurt North Carolina and transgender people,” NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said in a statement. “Passing this bill would mean that North Carolina continues to be one of the very few states where it’s illegal for cities to protect the rights of their residents. It pushes aside real North Carolinians in favor of political expediency.”

Keisling also noted that the way the “repeal” bill was being pushed through without debate or input from the public was eerily similar to the manner in which HB 2 was passed over a year ago. 

“It’s time for North Carolina’s political leaders to get their act together and remember who they’re working for — the North Carolinian public,” Keisling added. “After all, Gov. Cooper ran his campaign on fully repealing HB 2 and protecting transgender North Carolinians. It is an outrageous betrayal that he supports this fake repeal.”

“This so-called ‘deal’ may be an economic quick fix, but it continues to write discrimination into the law,” added Simone Bell, Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal. “A deal that leaves out LGBT North Carolinians, and particularly transgender people, should be no deal at all. … Lawmakers should demand a full, clean repeal, and enact comprehensive non-discrimination protections and not leave our community unprotected in the name of ‘compromise.’”


December 22, 2016

NC Failed on Repealing Bathroom Bill

A deal to repeal North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill,” which limited LGBT access to facilities, fell apart late Wednesday as Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature clashed over the measure’s provisions.

Legislators then adjourned a special session called to consider the issue, leaving the law still in place.

A repeal measure put forward by state Senate Republicans Wednesday would have included a six-month moratorium on any local government that wants to “enact or amend an ordinance regulating employment practices or regulating public accommodations or access to restrooms, showers or changing facilities.”

Democrats argued the measure was only a partial repeal, because the moratorium could be renewed repeatedly, essentially making it impossible for cities to pass nondiscrimination laws.

“This wasn’t the deal,’’ Democratic state Senator Jeff Jackson said.

What is HB2?

In March, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed the law, commonly referred to as the bathroom bill. A wide-ranging bill, it’s most known for banning individuals from using public bathrooms, such as in schools or government buildings, that do not correspond with their biological sex, as dictated by their birth certificates.

It also bars cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people.

The state pushed through HB2 after the city of Charlotte passed a nondiscrimination ordinance in February that allowed transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

North Carolina’s Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper said on Monday that lawmakers were to meet in a special legislative session to repeal the controversial measure that triggered a social and economic backlash against the southern U.S. state, costing it millions of dollars in tourism, sports and entertainment revenue.

“Full repeal will help to bring jobs, sports and entertainment events back and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state,” Cooper said.

Citing the right to privacy, outgoing North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has staunchly defended the law, which largely impacts transgender people.

Backlash and lawsuits

However, HB2 has been blasted by gay rights groups. The backlash against the law resulted in job losses and sporting event cancellations for the state.

The bathroom measure led to lawsuits against the state, including in May by the Obama administration, which sued the state, saying the law breaks federal anti-discrimination laws.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the law is “state-sponsored discrimination” that reminds her of a time when blacks were barred from public facilities and states could dictate who was allowed to marry.

The gay advocacy groups Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina said in a statement, “It’s time for state lawmakers to repeal HB2 and begin repairing the harm this bill has done to people and the damage it has done to North Carolina’s reputation and economy.”

December 19, 2016

North Carolina to Repeal Anti Transgender Law


North Carolina legislators will repeal the contentious HB2 law that limited protections for LGBT people and led to an economic backlash, the state's incoming governor said Monday.
Gov.-elect Roy Cooper made the surprising announcement just weeks before he takes office and shortly after the Charlotte City Council voted to repeal its own local nondiscrimination ordinance enacted in early 2016. It was that ordinance that Republicans blamed for the statewide law.
"Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte's vote, a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal HB2 in full. I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full," the Democrat said in a statement.
Outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who narrowly lost the November election to Cooper, issued a statement saying he will call the special session but also accusing Democrats of using the issue for political gain.
Repealing the law would be a remarkable sign of cooperation for the incoming governor and the GOP-controlled legislature. Just last week, lawmakers called a special session and stripped Cooper of some of his authority when he takes office next month.
The Charlotte council's move is contingent on North Carolina legislators fully repealing HB2 by Dec. 31.
HB2 requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate in many public buildings. It also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from statewide antidiscrimination protections.
McCrory and lawmakers have defended the bathroom provisions as providing privacy and safety by keeping men out of women's restrooms. Opponents of the law call it discriminatory.
McCrory complained again about Charlotte's ordinance and accused Democrats of playing politics with the issue.
"This sudden reversal with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves this entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor's race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state," the statement said.
Representatives for Berger and Moore didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Since HB2 passed in March, North Carolina has suffered a backlash that has included companies declining to expand in the state and cancellations of rock concerts. The NCAA and ACC have also moved college sports events out of the state.
The law was also seen as a factor in McCrory's narrow loss to Cooper in the governor's race, even as fellow Republicans U.S. Sen. Richard Burrand President-elect Donald Trump won the state by comfortable margins. McCrory was the first sitting North Carolina governor elected to a four-year term to lose a re-election bid.
Republicans had long maintained that the statewide law was necessary to counteract the Charlotte ordinance that would have ensured transgender people's right to restrooms corresponding to their gender identities. The Charlotte measure was nullified by HB2. Republicans have said the ordinances' repeal was needed before they would consider getting rid of the statewide law.
In a statement after its vote, the Charlotte City Council said it remains committed to protecting all people's rights but that it was willing to take action with the state to "restore our collective reputation."
"The Charlotte City Council recognizes the ongoing negative economic impact resulting from the passage of the City's Non-Discrimination Ordinance and the State's House Bill 2," the statement said.
The state was sued by the federal Justice Department and transgender residents over HB2, while McCrory, Berger and Moore went to court to defend it. Much of that litigation has been delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court hears a separate case from Virginia on transgender restroom access.
 JONATHAN DREW, Associated Press
ABC News

October 11, 2016

Pat McCrory Loosing Reelection Means the Sun Will Come Out


 Not since Larry Craig widened his stance has a bathroom caused so much trouble for a politician.

North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, was a good bet for reelection earlier this year. But then he signed HB2 into law in March, eliminating municipal nondiscrimination ordinances and requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificates.

Since then, McCrory’s fortunes have been, well, in the toilet.

Last fall, the conservative group North Carolina Civitas had a poll showing the governor with a favorable rating of 54 percent. But in late April, a month after McCrory signed the bathroom bill, the same group found his favorable rating had dropped to 39 percent. Polling shows McCrory trailing his Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, by four percentage points. And there’s little doubt HB2 is a major cause. A plurality of North Carolinians disapprove of McCrory’s handling of the issue and say it makes them less likely to support him.

The backlash is less about support for transgender rights than an understanding that the controversy has hurt the state’s reputation and finances. High Point University polling in late September found that 6 in 10 describe the bill’s economic impact as “large,” the same proportion who would like the law changed. An Elon University poll last week, confirming other, earlier surveys, found that 56 percent of likely voters want HB2 repealed, vs. 34 percent who would keep it.

Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights organization, puts the law’s cost for North Carolina at nearly half a billion dollars. Whatever the figure, the reaction has been severe: The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, while the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference took their championships from the state. PayPal — one of about 200 corporations calling for repeal — canceled plans to bring 400 jobs to Charlotte. Bruce Springsteen, Maroon 5 and others have canceled performances in the state. On Oct. 4, the James Beard Foundation canceled its meeting in the state because of HB2.

Nearly half a century after the Stonewall riots, a defeat of McCrory because of the bathroom bill would be a watershed (or, if you will, a water closet) moment for gay rights. Stigmatizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans has already lost its potency as a political weapon. But this would be the first case of a prominent official being voted out of office because his anti-gay actions backfired.

Maggie Gallagher, founder of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, wrote in National Review in August that “the future of religious liberty for traditional religious believers hangs on” McCrory’s reelection. If he loses, she wrote, “the GOP will concede whatever the Left demands on gay rights.”

In a rare convergence, HRC President Chad Griffin agrees. He says the McCrory election “holds the possibility of being a turning point in the political history of our fight for equality.”

The issues of gay marriage and gay rights have been quiet in the 2016 presidential campaign, in large part because Republicans have backed away. Mike Pence, as Indiana governor, signed a “religious freedom” law, and the ensuing outcry over its discriminatory potential caused a backlash similar to North Carolina’s. But there was a crucial difference: Pence quickly retreated, signing legislation to temper the law. Pence, whose own presidential hopes were dashed by the episode, recovered enough to be chosen as Donald Trump’s running mate. Trump, for his part, has created enough fuzz on the issue to neutralize much of the GOP disadvantage. Though his formal positions are in line with social conservatives’, Trump gave a shout-out to “LGBTQ citizens” in his acceptance speech, and he has said transgender people should use “whatever bathroom they feel is appropriate.”

There’s no realistic prospect of reversing the legalization of same-sex marriage, so opponents are instead pursuing scores of state initiatives restricting gay rights in the name of “religious freedom,” bathroom bills and more.

But while 202 such bills were introduced in 2016, only five were enacted, according to HRC. Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, in a tight reelection race, distanced himself from HB2. Half a dozen Republican state legislators who voted for the bill have said they want a do-over.

Confident that public opinion continues to shift in their favor, gay-rights advocates, with Hillary Clinton’s backing, are aiming for a federal “Equality Act,” which would bar anti-LGBT discrimination in employment.

The legislation faces long odds in Congress. But that could change — if North Carolinians flush Pat McCrory next month.

Dana Milbank, Washington Post

July 22, 2016

NBA Pulling All Star Game Out of Charlotte Due to Anti LGBT Bill

Without any movement by state legislators in North Carolina to change newly enacted laws targeted at the LGBT community, the NBA is pulling the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, league sources told The Vertical.

The NBA is focused on the New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center as the host for All-Star Weekend and the All-Star Game on Feb. 19, league sources told The Vertical.

For now, there are still other cities trying to lure the All-Star Game, sources said.

A formal announcement on the NBA’s withdrawal out of Charlotte is expected as soon as this week, league sources said Thursday.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened to move All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte unless a discriminatory North Carolina law aimed at the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community was changed – and time to do so has run out because of the logistics and planning the NBA needs to run its marquee midseason event, league sources said.

The issue is centered on North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a law that mandates transgender people use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates. The law also omits LGBT people from North Carolina’s anti-discrimination protections, forbids local governments from widening LGBT protections and excludes all forms of workplace discrimination lawsuits from North Carolina state courts.

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan had been counting on All-Star Weekend as a signature event for his franchise, and the economic impact of losing the All-Star Game for the franchise and region promises to be dramatic.

The NBA had discussed moving the All-Star Game to the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, sources said, but scheduling conflicts at the facility became part of the reason the idea never advanced past high-level league conversations during the Las Vegas summer league this month, sources said.

New Orleans hosted the All-Star Game in 2008 and 2014

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical

April 14, 2016

In a Modern Economy Gay Rights are Not Optional, ask NC


Supporters of the new law gathered at a rally at the North Carolina state capitol
 in Raleigh on April 12. (Gerry Broome/AP)

North Carolina is supposed to be the heart of the new South. The state's economy is no longer all about tobacco and textiles. It's a big player in financial services and high-tech, and it wants to keep adding high-skill, high-wage jobs in those sectors.

But there's an issue: A lot of lawmakers and voters in North Carolina have a problem with the gay stuff.

As in many states in the South, sodomy was actually illegal in North Carolina until 13 years ago, when the Supreme Court overturned such laws. State voters passed a gay-marriage ban with 61% of the vote in 2012.

The global power centers in high-tech and financial services are places where it is socially unacceptable to not be cool with the gay stuff. New York. San Francisco. Frankfurt. Pro-gay-rights norms are strong in these industries, both imposed from the C-suite and expected by workers.

So it was probably inevitable that North Carolina would be put in the position of choosing between its business stuff and its problem with the gay stuff, as we've seen with Tuesday's announcement that Deutsche Bank has canceled plans to add 250 high-paying financial-services jobs in the state.

Deustche did that because in March the state hastily enacted a law that prohibits local governments from protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations. The state did this because Charlotte (not coincidentally the heart of North Carolina's financial industry) had passed an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people.

Republican state lawmakers have hysterically characterized the law as being about bathrooms — that is, the law was needed to stop the supposed threat of men using the guise of transgenderism to enter women's restrooms in Charlotte and watch women pee.

Maybe bathroom panic will fly with some bigoted or ignorant voters who fear trans people. But this isn't just a matter of the anti-LGBT preferences of North Carolina voters. Besides Deutsche Bank, PayPal also canceled plans to add hundreds of new high-paying jobs in the state because of the law. The state may also lose next year's NBA All-Star Game, currently planned for Charlotte.
There has been a lot of talk in this presidential campaign about the problems wrought by global economic integration — not all of it unreasonable. There have been real, negative job impacts from global-manufacturing trade in certain parts of the US. But one advantage of global economic integration is that the most economically productive places tend, on average, to have the most enlightened social ideas.

In this case, global economic integration is furthering the export of good ideas like LGBT equality from places like San Francisco and Frankfurt to places like North Carolina.

This probably seems terribly unfair to a lot of social conservatives. Who are these German bankers to tell North Carolina what kind of laws to have? Besides, they say, this law isn't anti-gay. It's about individual rights and the freedom to run your own business in whatever pro-gay or anti-gay way you see fit — social conservatives just want the law to stop us from oppressing them.

To that, I would say this.

Not long ago, social conservatives wanted to use the power of the law to punish non-normative sexuality. Really not long ago: Gay sex was illegal in North Carolina in this century. Only since public opinion and the Supreme Court have moved in the direction of gay rights have the goals of social conservatives gotten smaller and supposedly focused around individual rights.

Well, if individual rights are the new goal, where's the "I'm sorry I made your sex life illegal"? Where is "I'm sorry I tried to deny you equal marriage under the law, as a separate matter from my feelings or my organization's principles"?

We're not hearing that because they're not sorry.

The new "opt-out" anti-gay agenda is just about expanding the zone of oppression as far as the current political environment will allow. The underlying principles, the ones that formerly led these same people to feel gay sex should be a crime, remain the same. There is no reason to assume their arguments about individual rights and "freedom" are in good faith.

And so, to the German bankers standing up against that, I say danke schön. Deutsche Bank is just another participant in the long tradition of outsiders dragging the South, kicking and screaming, toward equal treatment of minority groups.

April 5, 2016

PayPal Cancels Plans to Hire 400 Employees due to Anti Gay NC


PayPal Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Dan Schulman said Tuesday his company is cancelling plans for a new global operations center in Charlotte, N.C., where PayPal would have employed more than 400 people.
The online-payments company announced its expansion plan just two weeks ago, but is pulling back because of a new North Carolina law that says transgender people must use public bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates, among other measures.
“The new law perpetuates discrimination, and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” Mr. Schulman said in a statement Tuesday. “As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.” 
Mr. Schulman was one of more than 120 business leaders who sent North Carolina’s Republican Gov. Pat McCrory a letter last weekraising objection to the new law. Opponents are seeking a repeal of the law. Mr. McCrory has defended the law as a common-sense measure.
The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment on the cancelled PayPal plan. 
PayPal processed $282 billion worth of transactions last year, spent $1.2 billion on customer support and operations, and employed 9,800 people in the U.S. Based in San Jose, Calif., it is valued at $47 billion, after splitting off from eBay Inc. last year.
Write to Jon Kamp at 

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