North Carolina’s General Assembly fumbled yet again

Our North Carolina (NC) General Assembly gained global attention by introducing a law called HB2 in reaction to a law passed in its biggest city, Charlotte, to better accommodate transgender people in bathroom choice. The state-wide HB2 law passed earlier this year, in essence, does the following:

  • Overturns the Charlotte law and makes it state-wide that transgender people can only use the bathroom of their birth gender or if they have had an operation to officially change their gender.
  • Strikes the words referenced by LGBT from protection of discrimination. not just transgender folks.
  • Eliminates the ability for anyone to bring suit in state court should they feel discriminated against (the only recourse is in more expensive and elongated federal court).
  • Eliminates the ability of a city to have a minimum wage higher than the minimum wage of the state, in this case the federal minimum.

The push back has been significant and will continue to be so. Two companies have changed plans for moves or expansions in the state. What is not known is how many companies have taken NC off its relocation list. What is known is several performers have canceled tours in NC and the semi-annual Furniture Mart in High Point, which is very lucrative to the state saw a 10% fall-off and will likely see a bigger fall-off in October. And, the NBA has been pressuring the state officials to change the discriminatory aspects of the law, as they will likely move next year’s planned All Star game from Charlotte.

Yesterday, our NC legislature decided to only change a part of the law that impacted the right they took away for anyone to sue in State court. This impacted everyone, but the added back feature reduced the original time limit to one year from the previous three before HB2. So, they left in the two unconstitutional features and added $500,000 for legal fees to fight lawsuits, since our Attorney General decided not to defend an unconstitutional law (the appellate court in VA has already ruled on a VA case, so the AG sees efforts to fight as futile and a waste of money).

On a positive note, three onerous features in a Mississippi law aimed to limit the rights of LGBT folks and others were ruled unconstitutional. This is why party matters, as our conservative friends have used cookie cutter language from a group called ALEC to do a state-by-state assault on the rights of the disenfranchised, whether they be LGBT citizens or Black and student voters. As the GOP leadership and pundits try to distance themselves from the GOP presidential candidate, it should be noted that he is the mirror image of the ugly parts of the party. They have been fairly active in the discrimination business long before their bigoted, racist and xenophobic candidate has made them hide their eyes in shame.

I am a 57-year-old heterosexual white man and this is just not right. We should highlight this organized discrimination effort. We cannot tolerate bigotry in our leaders. We must shine a spotlight on fear mongering as a means to sell poor policy positions. We must look for underlying truths. When leaders cheerlead us in the discrimination efforts, we are truly investing our time in the wrong kind of leaders.

As a NC citizen, I get to see a series of leaders unwind the image of our state which will hurt people and the economy. This is not the first law that will be ruled unconstitutional passed by this and the previous General Assemblies. Call me crazy, but that is not only wrong, it is a waste of money and time.

15 thoughts on “North Carolina’s General Assembly fumbled yet again

  1. Reblogged this on So, I Read This Book Today and commented:
    It just never stops, does it? So much hate, so much political ignorance. If the people who spend all their time and money on trying to crush anyone who is not a WASP, the world would be such a better place.

    How about spending political capital and funding on REAL issues, like child hunger, poverty, substandard shelter for the poor, homelessness, and diseases in desperate need of funding?

    You aren’t crazy – I decided long ago that YOU should be President and Congress rolled into one! 😉

    • Thanks for the reblog. Focusing on the things you mentioned would qualify as answers to WWJD, at least in my bible. Take Obamacare – it helps people get access to coverage and helps those in need or with lesser income. But, it has been called akin to slavery, Nazism, Apartheid. We have a poverty problem and this helps people in poverty, yet 19 conservative states have not expanded Medicaid and Congress has voted to repeal it over 50 times. There are far too many “why” questions that need to be asked of this party.

  2. Thanks for the update. I’m afraid that, as time goes on, the sense of outrage first felt about these laws will slowly fade away. Hopefully, those organizations and companies who vowed to vote with their feet will still act when the time comes. I don’t like that North Carolina will feel the pain, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

    • Janis, the next big shoe to drop will be the NBA announcing they will move the All Star game. They said yesterday, they do not support the amendments after much discussion. My guess is they have another city already lined up.

      The bigger shoe will be the next Furniture Market. This market, where buyers, designers and sellers come together, has been wooed by Las Vegas and Orlando. It should be noted that the prevalence of LGBT folks in this industry is higher than in general society. If this market wanes in the fall, it will likely move and won’t be coming back.

      • Janis, they are and that is a key reason it has stayed. My guess is the October one will see 1/3 fewer visitors and plans will be made to shore up the spring, 2017. If that is unsuccessful, it may be the last one in NC. The dilemma, the Governor has little power here and with gerrymandering, until the next census in 2020, the GA will remain in conservative hands. Keith

    • Hugh, we went from being one of the more forward thinking states in the south to racing to the bottom. Fund education less, cut back on one of the best public university systems and one of the better community college systems, be discriminatory to groups of people, etc. It has been sad to watch. Keith

  3. The most telling part of the hypocrisy is that waste of money part. The GOP was supposed to be the party of financial responsibility, but so often we see these sorts of examples that shed light on a different GOP. Now it’s just hiding behind this financial responsibility idea and it seems only puts in the brochure.

    • That is the theory, but I witness fewer examples of financial stewardship in this party than before. To your point, under the last two General Assemblies we have had three laws ruled unconstitutional, one that was overturned by Supreme Court ruling on a related case, one that is in court – but was modified to sway the court after the lawsuit began and this one which will end up in court. The one they modified is the onerous voter ID law which include several Jim Crow features. A state rep who wrote the bill tore me a new one when I used that language, but they have watered some of the Jim Crow-like stuff down.

      Thanks for opining. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: I read this morning that our NC Speaker of the House said it was not their intention to limit access to the State court. Yet, this puzzles me for two reasons. First, if it was not the intent, how did the language find its way into the bill and get passed into law? Second, if it was not the intent, why does the amendment reinstate the provision, but limit it to one year from the previous three years? For some reason, I don’t care for politicians who outright lie and expect us to believe it.

  5. Keep asking questions Keith, challenging these decisions and informing your readers as to what is going on in NC. What goes on in NC shouldn’t stay in NC because it effects all of us.

    Our civil obedience is rampant! People have no clue how loudly their silence speaks.

    • Thanks Lisa. My guess is the NBA, which has a global following, will announce in a few weeks, that they are moving the game from North Carolina. So, instead of hearing next winter, “welcome to Charlotte, NC,” the world will hear that the NBA has “no choice but to move the game due to the discriminatory practices in North Carolina.” My question to these so-called leaders, “is this really what you want to happen?” Keith

  6. Note to Readers: The US Department of Justice has just put a hold on implementation of North Carolina HB2 pending lawsuits. The plot thickens.

  7. Note to Readers: It should be noted that 68 global companies including Bank of America, Microsoft, Apple, Target, etc. have signed a petition endorsing the lawsuit against HB2 saying it is counter to their non-discrimination policies.

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