Commentary, News

President Obama: #HB2 is wrong and should be overturned (video)

President Barack Obama appearing at a news conference in London Friday joined the growing number of voices calling for the repeal of North Carolina’s new LGBT law.

House Bill 2 mandates transgender people use the bathroom matching the gender on their birth certificate. The measure also bars individuals from filing a discrimination claim based on race, religion, or sexual orientation in state court.

Obama told reporters such discriminatory legislation is wrong:

“I also think that the laws that have been passed there are wrong and should be overturned and they’re in response to politics in part and some strong emotions that are generated by people…some of whom are good people that I just disagree with when it comes to respecting the equal rights of all people.”

Earlier this week the British government issued a travel warning to citizens coming to North Carolina about the controversial law.

Click below to hear Obama’s remarks about HB2:

Commentary, News

Labor expert: Some obvious things the General Assembly can do if it cares about workers (Part 2 )

The North Carolina AFL-CIO is releasing a three-part video series prior to the opening of the 2016 legislative session on Monday featuring veteran North Carolina labor lawyer Mike Okun. In the brief videos, Okun explore three topics of great importance to North Carolina workers and offers some simple, common sense recommendations for lawmakers as they return to Raleigh next week.

In the second installment of our 3-part video series featuring General Counsel Mike Okun discussing issues that will be important to working people when state lawmakers return to Raleigh next week, Mike gives his take on North Carolina’s Unemployment Insurance system and one way the General Assembly could begin in 2016 to restore fairness for jobless workers after years of cuts.

“Unemployment benefits help workers stay out of poverty,” says Mike, “yet only 1 in 10 unemployed workers in North Carolina receives any benefits at all – the very lowest percentage in the nation.”

“The [UI] fund is now back to solvency, the temporary tax on employers is ending. Perhaps now is the time to restore some fairness to the system.”

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You can view part one of the series here.


Trump: North Carolina “paying a big price” for House Bill 2 (video)

GOP Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is weighing in over the controversial new LGBT-bathroom law.

At a town hall meeting on the “Today Show” Trump dismissed the need for House Bill 2 and said North Carolina should have left it the way it was:

“There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble. And the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife and the economic punishment that they’re taking,” said Trump.

Trump responded that he would have no problem with Caitlyn Jenner using the bathroom of her choosing  at Trump Tower.

Governor Pat McCrory has said he still supports HB2, which mandates transgender people use the bathroom matching the gender on their birth certificate.

Senate President Phil Berger made it clear Wednesday despite recent economic losses for the state, repeal would not happen in the upcoming session.

Click below to hear Trump discuss HB2:


Chance for HB2’s repeal in the short session? Senate President says don’t count on it (video)

Senate President Phil Berger fielded media questions Wednesday about the upcoming short session, and made it abundantly clear that his chamber does not support repealing House Bill 2.

Berger told reporters this week’s ruling in the 4th Circuit was not the last word on the issue, and that he was not dwelling on recent statements by corporations or entertainers opposing the law passed on March 23rd.

“Let me be clear, my job is not to give in to the demands of multimillionaire celebrities pushing a pet social agenda, liberal newspapers like The New York Times, big corporations who have every freedom to set whatever policies they wish under this law,” said Berger. “My job is to listen to the people who elected us to represent them.”

Click below to hear more from Sen. Berger.

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Raleigh joins Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Asheville and Greensboro – all calling for the repeal of House Bill 2 (w/ video)

The Raleigh City Council has joined the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce in calling for the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal House Bill 2.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane read the following statement at Tuesday’s meeting:

“On March 28th, I issued a statement with your support following the passage of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, better known as HB2, reiterating Raleigh’s continued commitment to being open to everyone, treating everyone with dignity and respect, and providing support to our businesses, citizens and visitors.

Since then, there has been much debate statewide and nationally regarding HB2; while here in Raleigh, we’ve been focused on the local impact. Over the past few weeks, we have heard from many community groups and individual citizens about their concerns that HB2 does not reflect Raleigh’s values. We’ve also heard from businesses, conventions, conferences, employment recruiters and others about the negative economic impact of HB2. The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau has indicated there are currently 16 Raleigh events at risk totaling an estimated $28 million in visitor spending, this is in addition to $3.2 million in confirmed losses through event cancellations and downsizing. Additionally, just today, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce issued a statement in opposition to HB2 and calling for its repeal.”

The Greater Raleigh Chamber made it clear in its own statement the city’s image was being being tarnished on the national stage:

HB2 has already harmed business growth in Wake County and the state of North Carolina’s reputation. This legislation is a threat to our mission as an organization devoted to growing our region’s economy. Our state has been represented negatively in more than 5,300 media outlets across the United States with nearly 8 billion impressions.

Raleigh’s stance came one day after the Winston-Salem City Council passed a resolution calling on legislators to reconsider the impact of the LGBT law in the short session.

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Earlier this month, Asheville City Council called on the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal House Bill 2 “at the earliest opportunity.”

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Greensboro passed its own resolution on April 5th:

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Update to our earlier post:

Wilmington’s City Council has also gone one record in calling for a repeal of HB2. Here’s an excerpt from their resolution:

“Therefore, be it resolved that the City of Wilmington reaffirms its support of diversity and inclusion and the ability of local government officials to protect and advance those ideals and respectfully requests that the NC General Assembly rescind House Bill 2 during the 2016 Legislative Short Session.”