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.”

Commentary, News

U.S. Court of Appeals ruling for transgender student proves House Bill 2 violates Title IX

Statement from Rick Glazier, Executive Director of the NC Justice Center:

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Rick Glazier

Today’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit not only confirms the right of transgender students to use public school bathrooms that align with their gender identity, but establishes House Bill 2 is in direct violation of Title IX and that North Carolina’s public school federal funding is at risk.

Supporters of House Bill 2 have loudly argued the bill’s opponents were exaggerating the potential impact on public education. But the ruling in favor of student Gavin Grimm against his high school’s discriminatory restroom policy expressly shows HB2 violates Title IX, in turn jeopardizing federal education funding.

It was ill-advised for the North Carolina General Assembly and the Governor to pass House Bill 2 without waiting for the Fourth Circuit to issue its opinion about whether transgender students’ right to use the bathroom of their gender identity was protected by federal law. They made a hasty response to the Charlotte public ordinance in the form of the so-called “Bathroom Bill” – which is harmful to LGBTQ residents, threatens the rights of our local government, and strips North Carolina of its anti-discrimination laws – instead of introducing a period of thoughtful public comment and evaluation, or at least waiting to hear from the Fourth Circuit.

Once again, we call on lawmakers to end this painful and destructive period that has succeeded only in publicly endorsing discrimination in and causing mounting economic harm to our state. It is time to repeal this poorly vetted, unconstitutional bill that not only threatens the safety of our residents and abolishes decades-old anti-discrimination remedies under state law for millions of North Carolinians but now puts the future of our public schools at risk.

Commentary, News

Voters favor Cooper, public investments in latest Elon Poll

McCrory_CooperNew polling numbers released by Elon University find Attorney General Roy Cooper leading Governor Pat McCrory 48-42 in the latest gubernatorial poll.

The six point spread represents Cooper’s largest lead since Elon started polling this race as a hypothetical match-up.

Forty-three percent of the registered voters surveyed say they approve of the job Cooper is doing in his current role, compared to 27 percent who disapprove.

Governor McCrory’s approval rating stands at 37 percent, with 49 percent of voters questioned saying they disapprove of his performance.

In the U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Richard Burr enjoys s a 37-33 percent lead over his Democratic challenger Deborah Ross.

On the issue of House Bill 2, voters were split on whether the state should prohibit cities from allowing transgender individuals to use the public facilities that best matches their gender identity. Forty-nine percent supported the state, while 39 percent said cities should be allowed to pass such policies. Eleven percent were undecided.

Another aspect of HB2 prevents local municipalities from setting their own minimum wage standard. On this question, 50 percent responded that cities should have the authority to establish their own minimum wage.

And 65 percent of registered voters said that wage should be more than $10 an hour.

April’s Elon University Poll also asked likely voters about their willingness to pay more taxes to improve education and other public investments. Here’s how they responded to the following statements:

I would be willing to pay more taxes to increase money for public schools.
Strongly Agree: 18 percent
Agree: 50 percent
Disagree: 24 percent
Strongly Disagree: 5 percent
Don’t Know/Unsure: 3 percent

The state should reduce taxes, even if this means spending less on social programs like healthcare and unemployment benefits.
Strongly Agree: 7 percent
Agree: 22 percent
Disagree: 48 percent
Strongly Disagree: 18 percent
Don’t Know/Unsure: 5 percent

North Carolina should invest more in local roads, even if I have to pay more taxes.
Strongly Agree: 9 percent
Agree:  46 percent
Disagree: 33 percent
Strongly Disagree: 6 percent
Don’t Know/Unsure: 5 percent

Find the full survey results and more about the methodology here. The poll has a margin of error of 3.93 percentage points.

Commentary, News

Hamilton: Repeal of #HB2 should be short session priority following ‘impressive’ backlash (audio)

A year ago, Rep. Susi Hamilton was trying to persuade her colleagues in the House to expand the film tax credit incentive program to grow the state’s film industry.

This year, Hamilton is watching the debate over House Bill 2 undo the positive results that came from the passage of the state grants program that legislators passed to increase film production in North Carolina.

Movie studio Lionsgate, the A+E network, along with Fox and Miramax are among the industry leaders that have gone on record opposing the new LGBT law.

To date more than 160 CEOs of major corporations and 170 entrepreneurs have petitioned Governor McCrory to repeal the law.

Rep. Hamilton, a Wilmington Democrat, tells NC Policy Watch that the ongoing push-back against the bill is also jeopardizing the summer travel season for local businesses reliant on tourism:

“We are nationally now being looked upon as a state that discriminates with a governor who leads from behind, and it’s not an attractive place to visit,” said Hamilton.

This week the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated losses due to HB2 at $3.1 million.

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PearlJam statementOn the entertainment front, the rock group Pearl Jam announced late Monday they would not be coming to North Carolina while the “despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination” stands.

The band Boston canceled shows slated for Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte because of the “oppressive” law.

On the academic front, Duke University’s president, provost and chancellor for health affairs also appealed to the governor Monday — explaining how the new law was interfering with vital research:

“The economic and material impact is being felt across the state in many ways, including at universities.  Scholars from states and municipalities that have imposed bans on government travel to North Carolina have been unable to travel to Duke to continue vital ongoing research partnerships or attend academic conferences.  Prospective students, faculty and staff, as well as Duke alumni planning visits to campus, have voiced concerns about whether they will find a hospitable environment in North Carolina.  These developments have the potential to limit the value that Duke and other colleges and universities contribute to the state, namely producing trained graduates and expanding the frontiers of knowledge.”

Click here to read the full statement from Duke University. The full radio interview with Rep. Susi Hamilton can be heard here.


Gov. McCrory defends HB2 on “Meet the Press”; NBC estimates loss over anti-LGBT law at $39.7 million

Governor Pat McCrory took to national television on Sunday to explain  his decision to sign House Bill 2, and his executive order to walk back parts of the so-called bathroom bill just three weeks later.  In the nearly 10-minute interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” McCrory told interviewer Chuck Todd:

  • HB2 was necessary to address “government overreach” by the city of Charlotte
  • “We need more dialogue, not threats.”
  • “I’m not the private sector’s HR director. I’m the HR director and governor of all state employees.”
  • “We’ve got to deal with this extremely new social norm that has come to our nation in a very quick period of time and have these discussions about the complexity of equality, while also balancing the concept of privacy.”
  • He did not meet with any transgendered people prior to signing HB2
  • On the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):  “My gosh, they’re more powerful than the NRA.”
  • He favors repealing the one section of the bill that allows for the ability to sue in state court; the bathroom section of the bill affecting transgendered individuals is unlikely to change.

NBC estimates that North Carolina conservatively has lost $39.7 million since the governor signed the bill from businesses protesting the discriminatory legislation.

More than 160 leading CEOs and business leaders have signed an open letter urging Governor McCrory and the General Assembly to repeal bill in the upcoming short session.

Watch the full interview below: