Commentary

Senator cites secret conference calls about HB2 to defend rushed special session

RandlemanGiven the national firestorm about the sweeping anti-LGBT law HB2 signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, many local papers are checking in with their legislators who voted for it to see if they are having second thoughts.

The folks representing Wilkes County don’t seem to regret their support of the law that has cost the state thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in tourism revenue.

But Senator Shirley Randleman had an revealing answer in the Wilkes Journal-Patriot to questions about the way HB2 was passed, in a rushed one-day special session with little debate and where many lawmakers and the public only saw the proposal right before it was considered by a House committee.

“I would have to say that I stand by my vote (in support) of this bill (HB2)…. People keep saying that we acted hastily in enacting it. It was worked on for weeks” in conference calls, she said.

Apparently Senator Randleman believes that a few secret conference calls between Republican Senators is plenty of discussion. No need for the public to weigh in or for legislators to hear testimony from officials in cities that have ordinances similar to the one that Charlotte enacted that she voted to overturn.

Not to mention all the other non-bathroom parts of the bill, the statewide nondiscrimination standard that excludes LGBT people and the provision that bans workers fired because of their race or religion from suing in state court.

HB2 is damaging North Carolina more every day. It’s too bad that Senator Randleman can’t acknowledge that reality and that she seems not to understand that legislating by private conference call is not how our democracy is supposed to function.

5 Comments


  1. Randy

    May 2, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    The sad truth is that she probably thought that she genuinely reflected the views of her constituents – most of the GOP legislators, particularly in rural areas, can’t imagine a different point of view.

    There was a time in NC politics that conservative legislators weren’t so insular and disconnected from the outside world. It’s a pity that this is the best that the Wilkes GOP could come up with – with that kind of thinking, she shouldn’t be on a town zoning board, let alone sitting in a state legislature.

  2. Larry

    May 2, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    What a foolish woman. If the legislation was so good it would have stood up to scrutiny. Mccrory has said he supports the legislation but some of it he would like to see changed. Let’s see: He thought it was good enough to sign but thought it should be changed. Sounds great alright.

  3. Laurie

    May 2, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Private, between specific party conference calls, does not make a legislative body effort. Her explanation is disingenuous at best.

  4. KPB

    May 2, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    One can only hope that voters in her district remind her, directly and unambiguously, that her actions were wrong on many levels, and damaging to the state of North Carolina.

  5. L J

    May 2, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Senator Randleman also reported in the Journal Patriot that she chaired the Senate Working Group that came up with HB2. She did not identify the other members of that group.

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