Commentary

McCrory Administration thinks 50 jobs matter but 400 jobs lost because of HB2 don’t

NO-HB2The press office of Gov. Pat McCrory sent out a press release Thursday touting the news that Pepsi was building a new distribution center and creating 50 jobs in the state over the next five years and proclaiming that the announcement “will continue to strengthen North Carolina’s position as one of the fastest growing economies in the nation.”

Any new jobs are welcome in the state of course but the announcement comes just three days after McCrory’s Commerce Secretary John Skvarla bizarrely claimed that the economic damage from McCrory’s HB2 “hadn’t moved the needle one iota” even though the anti-LGBT law has cost the state thousands of jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

Skvarla even brushed off the decision by PayPal last spring to cancel a planned operations center in Charlotte that would have created 400 jobs in the area as a “grain of sand on the beach.”

So if you are keeping score at home, 50 jobs strengthen North Carolina’s economy, but 400 jobs is only a grain of sand.

The day after Skvarla offered his silly HB2 commentary, the real estate research firm CoStar Group announced it was choosing Richmond over Charlotte for a 730-job expansion project because of HB2.

The only sand involved here is where McCrory and Skvarla have buried their heads while the state economy continues to suffer from the discriminatory law McCrory signed and stubbornly continues to defend.

Commentary

NC GOP worried about long lines, pantsuits, and Satan

ncgopThe folks at the N.C. Republican Party sent out a few interesting tweets this week, one of them from Communications Director Kami Mueller who was apparently worried about the long lines at some early voting sites on Thursday, the first day of early voting. She gave people a number to call for voting assistance.

That would be the same Republican Party that fought efforts to expand early voting, defended plans by local elections boards to open only one early voting site in their counties and last week even opposed the move to expand the voter registration deadline in counties affected by the flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

Now all of a sudden they are worried about long lines at the polls.

It wasn’t Mueller’s only tweet of note. She was busy on social media during this week’s presidential debate too, firing off all sorts of offensive tweets and retweets, several about the pantsuit that Hillary Clinton was wearing. Then there was this one about halfway through the debate.

At least they are staying classy over there at Republican Party headquarters.

And finally on the Kami Mueller front, she seems to think that evil is everywhere in North Carolina judging from her comments on a recent panel discussion in Raleigh held by The Sam James Institute.

The discussion was billed as a “Gospel and Politics Forum” and towards the end of the presentation Mueller recounted Gov. Pat McCrory’s recent meeting about HB2 with conservative pastors and Tony Perkins, the head of the far-right Family Research Council.

It’s troubling company for McCrory to keep. Perkins has a long history of homophobia. He  has blamed the legalization of same-sex marriage for the destruction caused by hurricanes—part of God’s wrath—and pushed the Republican Party to endorse gay “conversion therapy” in its platform.

Muller was sharing the details of McCrory’s meeting with the audience and lamenting that people have told McCrory they support his defense of HB2 but were afraid to make that support public.

That, Mueller said, was evidence that “Satan is using means to bully and shame us as believers into not standing up for what is right.”

Commentary

Speaker Moore admits the alleged deal on HB2 was a sham

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

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.

LGBTQ activists were understandably skeptical of the promise and in the end so was Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the majority of the city council. They decided not to repeal the common sense ordinance that protected LGBTQ people in Charlotte from discrimination in employment and public accommodations, including allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity—which more than 200 cities already allow.

The city council’s wise decision to refuse to take back its vote prompted a torrent of criticism from Republicans who said Roberts and the other Democrats on the council had torpedoed a deal to repeal HB2 and were putting political considerations ahead of what is best for the state.

Well now it turns out the deal was a sham. House Speaker Tim Moore was asked about the deal this week on Capital Tonight on Time Warner Cable News (the discussion begins around 3:40 into the interview) and here was his response. Read more

Uncategorized

The startlingly bad record of the General Assembly on Civil Liberties

The ACLU of North Carolina released its legislative report card on civil liberties today and it is not a pretty picture. Here is how ACLU-NC Policy Counsel Susanna Birdsong put it.

Simply put, the General Assembly has had an abysmal record on civil liberties in recent years. These recent bills, many of which became law, represent unprecedented attacks on civil liberties that have collectively restricted personal freedom, bodily autonomy, and equality under the law for countless North Carolinians.

The report card includes a list of some of the worst bills passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory, starting with one that continues to demonize a group of people and damage the state economy.

Remove legal protections for and encourage discrimination against LGBTQ people, particularly transgender men and transgender women (HB2)

Triple the mandatory waiting period for a woman who has decided to have an abortion to 72 hours, the longest waiting period in the country (HB465)

Give law enforcement broad authority to keep body and dash camera footage from the public (HB972)

Fuel anti-immigrant sentiments and make it harder for immigrants to identify themselves to government officials (HB318)

Remove transparency and oversight from the administration of the death penalty in an effort to jump-start executions (HB774)

You can find out how your legislator voted on civil liberties legislation by checking out the full ACLU-NC report card here.