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More than 50 major corporations stand up for transgender protections

Fifty-six major corporations signed onto a letter to President Donald Trump today, urging the administration to abandon plans to erase existing federal transgender protections.

The businesses include tech giants like Apple, Intel, IBM and Facebook as well as finance sector leaders like Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase & C0. and S&P Global. North Carolina’s own Replacements Ltd. was also a signatory.

The move comes in response to last month’s New York Times report on a plan to radically change how the government recognizes transgender people and the discrimination protections extended to them.

In North Carolina, transgender state employees and dependents are struggling with the loss of coverage through the State Health Plan.

The full text of the letter:

We, the undersigned businesses, stand with the millions of people in America who identify as transgender, gender non-binary, or intersex, and call for all such people to be treated with the respect and dignity everyone deserves.

We oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations. We also fundamentally oppose any policy or regulation that violates the privacy rights of those that identify as transgender, gender non-binary, or intersex.

In the last two decades, dozens of federal courts have affirmed the rights and identities of transgender people. Cognizant of growing medical and scientific consensus, courts have recognized that policies that force people into a binary gender definition determined by birth anatomy fail to reflect the complex realities of gender identity and human biology.

Recognizing that diversity and inclusion are good for business, and that discrimination imposes enormous productivity costs (and exerts undue burdens), hundreds of companies, including the
undersigned, have continued to expand inclusion for transgender people across corporate America. Currently more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 have clear gender identity protections; two-thirds have transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage; hundreds have LGBTQ+ and Allies business resource groups and internal training efforts.

Transgender people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members. What harms transgender people harms our companies.

We call for respect and transparency in policy-making, and for equality under the law for transgender people.

Accenture
Adobe Systems Inc.
Airbnb
Altria Group
Amalgamated Bank
Amazon
American Airlines
Apple
Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP)
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade
BNY Mellon
Cargill
Cisco Systems Inc.
Citi
Clifford Chance
Corning Incorporated
Corteva Agriscience™, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont
Deutsche Bank
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
Facebook
Fastly, Inc.
Google
Hogan Lovells International LLP
HSBC
IBM Corporation
Intel Corporation
Intuit Inc.
Iron Mountain
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co.
LinkedIn
Lush Handmade Cosmetics
Lyft
Marriott International
MassMutual
MGM Resorts International
Microsoft Corp.
Nike Inc.
PepsiCo
Replacements, Ltd.
Ropes & Gray
Royal Bank of Canada
S&P Global
Salesforce
Sheppard Mullin
Sodexo Inc.
Splunk
State Street Corporation
The Coca-Cola Company
The Dow Chemical Company
TiVo Corporation
Trillium Asset Management
Twitter Inc.
Uber
Warby Parker

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Don’t miss our October Crucial Conversation: NC’s deadliest policy failure (and how Virginia solved the problem)

Kenneth Gilliam

Make plans to join us Thursday, October 4th for a very special Crucial Conversation

North Carolina’s deadliest policy failure (and how Virginia solved the problem)

Featuring Kenneth Gilliam of The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis

As a commentary on WRAL.com reported earlier this year, an average of 38 North Carolinians die each month in our state for lack of access to adequate health care. That adds up to more than 2,000 lost lives since 2014 when Medicaid expansion became fully available under the Affordable Care Act. As the commentary also pointed out, it’s unclear how many cases of breast cancer were undetected because 52,000 annual mammograms were missed or how many North Carolinians with diabetes have suffered because 36,000 people in that group had to go without their medication.

At the heart of this deadly policy failure, of course, is the stubborn refusal of North Carolina legislative leaders to expand Medicaid – something that’s happened (or is proposed as a ballot initiative this fall) in 36 other states, plus the District of Columbia.

Happily, one of the most recent additions to the Medicaid expansion list is our neighbor to the north, Virginia, which took action earlier this year. Join us as we hear from one of the policy experts who helped make that expansion a reality, Kenneth Gilliam of The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis.

A policy expert in the fields of education and health care, Kenneth also coordinates Health Care for All Virginians, a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals working to help create and advocate for accessible and affordable quality healthcare for all Virginians.

When: Thursday October 4 at 12:00 noon — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (at the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Space is limitedpreregistration required.

Cost: $10, admission includes a box lunch. Scholarships available.

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

***NOTE: Attendees will also receive a brief update on the ongoing effort to combat proposed constitutional amendments on North Carolina’s fall ballot***.

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The week’s top stories on NC Policy Watch

1. North Carolina lawmakers remind us yet again why they’ve earned our distrust

In the first two paragraphs of state Rep. David Lewis’ ludicrous and lamentable plea for a special session this week, ostensibly to rescue the GOP-approved constitutional amendments from liberal “gamesmanship and politics,” the Harnett County Republican mentions the word “maneuverings” twice.
If you’re having difficulty processing Lewis’ use of the word, you’re not alone. After all, Lewis is the overseer of a decade of nakedly partisan gerrymandering, a divisive figure and Karl Rove-style political strategist who’s adept at manipulating process and voters to Republican advantage.[Read more…]

2. PW exclusive: Beach nourishment bingo?
NC lawmakers bypass DEQ, allot $5 million coastal research grant to politically connected Winston-Salem nonprofit

A North Carolina nonprofit with deep political connections received $5 million in the state budget for a beach nourishment study and design project, even though it has never done that type of work and is headquartered more than 250 miles from the coast.
Lawmakers appropriated the funding to the Resource Institute, based in Winston-Salem, through a one-time “grant-in-aid” – pass-through money – from the state Division of Water Resources. The amount is the largest grant-in-aid from the Department of Environmental Quality since at least 2005, according to state budget documents.

Yet, DEQ said it did not request the earmark; in fact, lawmakers appropriated just $1.8 million to DEQ to conduct its own work related to GenX and emerging contaminants.[Read more…]
Bonus reads:

Go Backstage: How I got the Resource Institute story, plus a guide to documents for budding sleuths, citizen journalists
Concerned about methyl bromide, DEQ puts log fumigation permits on hold

3. Expect anything different?
The lawless leaders of the General Assembly prepare to do once again the thing they do best
It’s always tempting to open each and every commentary about the North Carolina General Assembly in 2018 with that most ubiquitous of modern pop culture phrases: “You can’t make this s[tuff] up.” After all, when it comes to brazen, autocratic assaults on traditional American notions of democratic government, no one does it better than Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and his always ready and willing sidekick, House Speaker Tim Moore.

Even Vladimir Putin’s bumbling buddy in the White House – hemmed in as he is by a handful of federal and state judges, a semi-watchful news media, the prospect of criminal prosecution for any number of offenses, and an occasionally disagreeable Congress (except when it comes to packing the federal courts) – has yet to pull off the kind of raw, “because-I-said-so” power moves that are as common in Raleigh these days as a #MeToo complaint addressed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. [Read more…] Read more

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Statement on the Passage of the Income Tax Cap Proposal

The passage of Senate Bill 75, proposing a Constitutional amendment capping the income tax rate to lock in recent legislative decisions to reduce rates, is fiscally irresponsible and unnecessary.

In order to keep funding vital public services such as schools and public safety, lawmakers will likely have to raise the sales tax or fees, which will eat into middle class families’ paychecks and financially hurt those who are already struggling to get by.

Lawmakers are not trying to bring greater democracy to the budget process; they are trying to take choices away from future generations of North Carolinians.  Voters in November should reject this effort to limit the tools available to future policymakers and the will of future voters.

Constitutions should be flexible and enduring frameworks for governing, not the place to impose the arbitrary whims of the moment on future generations.

The vote shows just how arbitrary the rate is that legislators choose to enshrine in the state Constitution. The bottom line is that this is about further locking in low tax rates that primarily benefit the wealthy, cutting public investments that serve the common good, and shifting the costs for our state’s needs to local governments and the middle class.

In the end, the results of this unnecessary amendment will be costly for us all.

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

1. Democrats: Berger-Moore budget process may quash debate, amendments

When N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger addressed reporters last week, they boasted that negotiations on the state’s estimated $24 billion budget were “far ahead” of years past.

According to top Democrats who spoke to Policy Watch this week, that may be because Republican lawmakers are considering a maneuver that would dramatically limit debate on the privately negotiated spending plan in the coming days.

State House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson says members of his party believe the GOP may pack the entire budget bill—negotiated by House and Senate leadership behind closed doors—into a conference committee report either late this week or early next week. While such a tactic is not unheard of at the General Assembly, this would be an unprecedented move with respect to the state budget according to several longtime lawmakers and legislative staffers.

Because a conference report is considered the final product of House and Senate negotiations on an already-filed bill, General Assembly procedures would provide only for a “yea” or “nay” v ote with no allowance for amendments.[Read more…]

Bonus read: Ten education policies to watch closely in the 2018 legislative session

2. Coincidence or collusion? NC Oil and Gas Commission receives curious requests to frack.

3. Legislators seek background checks, fingerprinting for election workers

4. NC officials order dozens of campaigns to forfeit illegal PAC contributions from pharma giant

5. One simple, moral and business-friendly step NC lawmakers could take to boost the economy