Commentary, News

The week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore1. Speaker Moore admits the alleged deal on HB2 was a sham

Two weeks ago Raleigh was buzzing about an alleged deal to repeal HB2, the anti-LGBTQ law that has demonized a group of people and cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs.

The N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association announced it was brokering an agreement under which the Charlotte City Council would repeal its nondiscrimination ordinance and then Gov. McCrory would call the General Assembly into special session to repeal HB2 and hopefully stop more economic losses in the state.

Legislative leaders were reportedly on board. That was the announcement anyway. [Continue reading…]

fROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Bonny Moellenbrock of Investors' Circle, Matthew Patsky of Trillium Asset Management, Joshua Humphreys of Croatan Institute, and Todd Sears of Out Leadership call for the full repeal of HB2. 2. Investors representing $2.1 Trillion push for full repeal of discriminatory HB2

Major investors representing more than $2.1 trillion in assets gathered in downtown Raleigh Monday to deliver a message to Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly. Fully repeal HB2, they said, before the damage to the North Carolina economy becomes irreversible.

“Obviously there has been overwhelmingly negative reaction to HB2,” said Matthew Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management. “While the U.S. economy continues to grow, quite frankly North Carolina appears to be headed for what I would call a state government inflicted recession.”

Patsky said that’s because the controversy over N.C. House Bill 2, which prohibits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, has reached a fever pitch and is impacting how investors view the state and the businesses that call the Tar Heel state home. [Continue reading…]

ff-927-hb2logos3. McCrory, under siege, continues to lash out against critics of HB2

When it comes to HB2, the disastrous anti-LGBT legislation that he signed into law, Gov. Pat McCrory can’t seem to help himself.

Virtually every prominent individual or institution that criticizes HB2 in any way can count on a bitter and over the top attack from the governor and his top surrogates with many of their claims consisting of wild exaggerations and outright falsehoods.

It’s an odd strategy indeed for a governor who claims that economic development is his top priority, to aggressively attack prominent companies and organizations that have second thoughts about North Carolina because of a law that targets the LGBT community for discrimination.

This week brought another sobering reminder of what HB2 is doing to the state as investors with $2.1 trillion in collective assets under their management called for a repeal of the law, saying it is making it harder to get deals done and finance businesses in the state.[Continue reading…]

4. The EPA is practically toothless in its ability to protect the poor
Environmental justice rules regarding coal ash are weak, says US civil rights commission

By many standards of childhood, Tracey Edwards enjoyed an idyllic country life in Walnut Cove. Growing up in rural Stokes County, she and her friends played outside, picking fresh apples, blackberries and muscadine grapes, as if their neighborhood were its own private Eden.

But in the early 1970s, Edwards told a state environmental justice advisory committee in April, Duke Energy fired up a power plant, Belews Creek. It spewed coal ash into the sky that returned to earth like snow. The ash coated the predominantly African-American neighborhood, she said, so thick, “we could write our names on the cars.” The ash powdered the rooftops. It carpeted the family garden, where in the summertime, Edwards unaware of the contaminants in the ash, would eat “hot ripened tomatoes” right off the vine.

Edwards, now 48, said that over time many residents of Walnut Cove, including herself, became sick or died — of cancer, neurological disorders, respiratory illnesses — long before their time. [Continue reading…]

***Bonus inforgraphic: Demographics around North Carolina’s coal-fired power plants

Barber_112-20165. Attacking the messenger for delivering some hard truths
The Right launches another barrage of scurrilous attacks on the NAACP’s Rev. William Barber

As was discussed in this space a couple of years back when the Moral Mondays movement was center stage, there are few things that the political right in North Carolina loves more than bashing the Rev. William Barber. No matter what Barber actually says or how eloquent and insightful he is or how many personal sacrifices he makes or how many near-24 hour days he puts in in service of the causes of peaceful change and human rights, you can rest assured that uninformed blowhards will employ every tool in the character assassination toolbox to smear him and cue all of the worst racist dog whistles.

This is especially true when, as was the case last week in Charlotte, large numbers of people of color are in motion and demanding change. What’s more, this phenomenon is not just confined to fringe bloggers and Internet trolls. Supposedly responsible voices with actual paid jobs and offices engage in this kind of shameless behavior too. [Continue reading…]

***Upcoming event on Wednesday:
Crucial Conversation — How do we repair our broken democracy?
Join us October 5th as N.C. Policy Watch presents a special Crucial Conversation luncheon – Karen Hobert Flynn, President of the national nonprofit watchdog, Common Cause: How do we repair our broken democracy? Has American democracy reached a crisis point? Register today.

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