Commentary

House Speaker on HB2: Five days is too little time to repeal law written and passed in 12 hours

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

The self-destructive hole digging by North Carolina’s top political leaders on HB2 continues apace. Today it’s House Speaker Tim Moore manning the backhoe of state. According to Colin Campbell of Raleigh’s News & Observer, Moore has made plain that the General Assembly won’t be meeting yesterday’s demand from the U.S. Department of Justice that the state roll back its new discrimination law.

Without any apparent sense of irony, Moore rejected the idea that the state could repeal the law in time to meet the Feds’ Monday deadline:

“That deadline will come and go. We don’t ever want to lose any money, but we’re not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday’s date. That’s not how this works.”

How it works, huh? Thanks for clearing that up. Mr. Speaker. Somehow, the DOJ must have gotten the impression that the General Assembly could act very quickly when it wanted to. Can’t imagine what could have given them that idea.

Commentary

McCrory’s starvation diet: Funds jeopardized by HB2 would be just the latest frittered away by NC leaders

NO-HB2Yesterday’s news that the United States Department of Justice has determined that HB2 violates federal civil rights laws and therefore puts hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding in jeopardy has rightfully caused a stir in media and government circles. As HB2 critics have noted, when combined with the losses in private investment that have occurred already as a result of the new discrimination law, the new threat in lost federal dollars would make the impact truly catastrophic for North Carolina.

Here’s the thing, however: These new losses to the state are far from the first in recent years.

Had North Carolina expanded Medicaid like dozens of other states when it first had the opportunity three years ago, we would have already drawn down more than $4 billion in federal dollars. Indeed, we’re losing more than $4 million per day. Click here to see the running total.

But wait, that’s not all. North Carolina also flushed away hundreds of millions of federal dollars in the realm of unemployment insurance by defying federal directives to maintain benefit and eligibility levels.

Meanwhile, state tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable corporations have and will cost state government billions more.

The bottom line: Governor McCrory and state legislative leaders continue to apply what can only be described as a starvation diet to North Carolina’s state government and economy. Even as they repeatedly laud the amazing benefits of federal dollars that flow to the state to support the military (something that is clearly true) they blindly and hypocritically turn away and jeopardize billions more in other areas that could have already boosted both state services and the economy well above their current so-so performance levels.

In other words, given their past, ideologically driven performance when it comes to funding government and boosting the economy, it’s entirely plausible that the latest threat from the feds over HB2 will again fall on deaf ears and leave the state in an even deeper hole.

Commentary, News

National conservative website to Burr and Tillis: Time to confirm Obama’s Supreme Court nominee

Merrick Garland

Judge Merrick Garland

The latest sign that Richard Burr, Thom Tillis and their fellow GOP senators have lost in their effort to prevent consideration of President Obama’s nomination of federal judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court emerged yesterday as the national conservative website Red State officially threw in the towel. Here’s Red State managing editor Leon Wolf:

“Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, this is not even a close call. There is absolutely no reason to drag this out any longer. Garland is not a great choice, but he is not a terrible one, either. And more than anything, he is old (for a modern Supreme Court appointment) and will be up for replacement in probably 10 years instead of 20 or 30.

Republicans must know that there is absolutely no chance that we will win the White House in 2016 now. They must also know that we are likely to lose the Senate as well. So the choices, essentially, are to confirm Garland and have another bite at the apple in a decade, or watch as President Clinton nominates someone who is radically more leftist and 10-15 years younger, and we are in no position to stop it.

In fact, if I were the Republicans, my main concern right now would be that Barack Obama would withdraw Garland’s nomination today. The fact that Merrick Garland still exists as an option right now is a gift that should not be squandered.

The calculus has changed – confirm Merrick Garland before it is too late.”

You can learn lots more about this vital subject by attending next Tuesday’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversion luncheon on the nomination with nationally known Supreme Court expert, Prof. Michael Gerhardt. Click here for more information.

Commentary, News

HB2 update: Feds rule law violates U.S. Civil Rights Act; Minnesota bans college sports travel to NC

The walls are closing in on Pat McCrory and Phil Berger. Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer reports:

“U.S. Justice Department officials Wednesday notified Gov. Pat McCrory that House Bill 2 violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

The department gave state officials until Monday to address the situation ‘by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.’

The letter says HB2, which pre-empted Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance, violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination in education based on sex.

If that determination is upheld, North Carolina could lose millions in federal school funding. During the current school year, state public schools received $861 million in federal funding.”

The news comes on top of this morning’s report that a Minnesota state university system is prohibiting athletics teams from traveling to tournaments in North Carolina in response to HB2.

The bottom line: It appears that the war will soon be over on this matter. All that Governor McCrory and Senator Berger will soon find themselves in a position to do is to negotiate the timing and terms of surrender.

 

Commentary

PW contributor flays op-ed claiming that progressives are responsible for Trump and HB2

If one were looking for the strangest op-ed to grace the editorial page of a major North Carolina news daily in recent weeks, it would be hard to top the entry of Michael Jacobs, who teaches at the UNC business school. According to Jacobs, it’s progressive do-gooders in Chapel Hill and their ilk who are actually responsible for HB2 and the rise of Donald Trump. Jacobs is, by all indications, serious about this. He says he and his family are moving to Wilmington to get away from Chapel Hill’s oppressive liberalism.

Happily, Jacobs’ strange little screed inspired longtime NC Policy Watch contributor Andrea Verykoukis to compose one of her priceless take downs. We’re delighted to present it here.

Way harsh, Mi!
By Andrea Verykoukis

That’s a Clueless allusion for those of you who are wondering. Which makes it an Austen reference, a truth universally acknowledged to be a good thing. It’s in response, however, to the not good thing that is Michael Jacobs’s bitter farewell to Chapel Hill in Tuesday’s News & Observer. He actually blames this little town for the rise of both Donald Trump, Presidential Candidate, and Hate Bill 2. As if!

How, you may ask, did a tiny slice of heaven single-handedly generate a regrettable national candidate and a state bill that actively overrides the town’s own ordinances? Just by being its sweet self apparently.

“Chapel Hill prides itself on being a safe place for all of the 71 gender identities on Facebook. But its inclusiveness evaporates when it comes to political identities. Not only can no one remember the last time a Republican was elected to local office, those few residents who do vote for Republicans are afraid to put up a yard sign for fear of being ostracized by their neighbors. The support throughout North Carolina for Donald Trump and HB2 reflects a backlash against the intolerance of the political left. Christians, moderates and conservatives are tired of being branded as ignorant, knuckle-dragging bigots.”

Sorry, Mike, but your little joke about Facebook gender identities gives you away. You forgot “cake boy.” The truth is that because users can fill in the blank, there’s no limit to the number of gender options on FB, just like God intended. Any of the number of diverse and inclusive Christian churches in this small town could tell you that.

How does a business professor defend, even implicitly, HB2? Read more