Wake Republican joins Dems in call for HB2 repeal

Posted September 13, 2016

— In the 24 hours after the NCAA cost North Carolina tens of millions of dollars by canceling championship events scheduled in the state, Democrats lawmakers called for a special legislative session to repeal House Bill 2 and stop the bleeding.

"When only 30 percent of the people across the state support this legislation, it is time to vote it out," said Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake. "You won’t win elections with 30 percent of the vote, and you can’t win over the people with hate."

Late Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, became the first Republican lawmaker to join the voices for repeal.

"Whenever legislative bodies rush to judgment on important public policy decisions, there are unintended consequences," she said in a statement. "I do not want men or boys legally to be able to share the same locker rooms or bathrooms with my 16-year-old daughter and her classmates or teammates. However, if we want to preserve the proud heritage of North Carolina, it is time for our leadership to consider a substantial and immediate repeal of HB2."

The NCAA said that it would relocate seven championship events from North Carolina to other states based on the organization's commitment to an "inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans." It was a long-in-coming move predicated by the passage of House Bill 2, which bars cities and counties from passing laws that protect gay and transgender people from discrimination and which requires transgender people to use bathrooms in schools and other public buildings that correspond to their birth gender.

North Carolina was to host:

  • the 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship College Cup in Cary, Dec. 2 and 4
  • the 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships in Greensboro, Dec. 2 and 3
  • the 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds in Greensboro, March 17 and 19
  • the 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional in Greenville, May 8-10
  • the 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships in Cary, May 22-27
  • the 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship in Cary, May 26 and 28
  • the 2017 Division II Baseball Championship in Cary, May 27-June 3

Costly losses across the state

Greensboro leaders estimated that the first two rounds of the men's basketball playoffs would have brought $17 million to the city. Cary estimates the loss of the men's and women's soccer championships at $2 million.

"I’m saddened to see the loss of these games, but the writing has been on the wall for quite some time," said Rep. Chris Sgro, D-Guilford, the director of LGBT advocacy group Equality NC.

More losses could be on the way.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is expected to decide this week whether to pull its events out of North Carolina as well, including its baseball tournament, which has two more years on a four-year contract with Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

The PGA hasn't decided yet whether to move its events as well.

The NCAA is in the process of reviewing bids to host its events for the next four years, including tens of millions of dollars in bids from the Triangle.

Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, says Republican leaders need to act quickly.

"If we don't fix this now – and I say it is urgent now – and bring North Carolina back to the table in consideration of these tournaments, we're going to feel the direct impact of HB2 for years to come," Woodard said.

Legislative leaders didn't immediately respond to the Democrats' call. Neither House Speaker Tim Moore nor Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger has commented since the news of the NCAA move broke.

In a statement late Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory, instead of mentioning the role of the state legislature in putting the law in place, pointed to the federal government for a solution.

"The issue of redefining gender and basic norms of privacy will be resolved in the near future in the United States court system for not only North Carolina, but the entire nation. I strongly encourage all public and private institutions to both respect and allow our nation’s judicial system to proceed without economic threats or political retaliation," he said. "Sadly, the NCAA, a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt monopoly, failed to show this respect at the expense of our student athletes and hard-working men and women."

Sgro pointed the finger back at McCrory.

"The fault lies with the lieutenant governor, the governor and legislative leadership for enacting and signing the worst anti-LGBT legislation in the entire nation," he said.

Pro HB2 rally

Two interpretations of HB2's purpose

House Bill 2 has been a political hot button since its passage, with most Republicans framing at a necessity to protect women and children from predators and most Democrats calling it discriminatory toward the LGBT community.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who has been a vocal supporter of the law, said Democrats are using it to challenge a successful administration.

"This is the political third rail. We have shored up the economy. We’ve created a good, solid, level playing field in the economy in North Carolina right now. We’ve done a lot for education in North Carolina, and so our opponents don’t have a leg to stand on," he said.

He also returned to his talking points about public safety, prioritizing it over the need to kowtow to those who do business in the state.

"Our women and girls in the state of North Carolina are not for sale," he said. "They’re not for sale to Hollywood, to any concert venue, to the NBA or the NCAA. So, the protection and safety and security of women and girls in North Carolina is our utmost importance, and that’s what we still believe."

Sgro challenged that viewpoint, saying, "There’s no data that backs up the governor’s fear-mongering around HB2 and the trans community. There’s plenty of data that says trans youth are at risk and the economy is at risk because the governor signed such a discriminatory piece of legislation."


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  • Karen Grigg Sep 14, 2016
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    McCrory is tanking in the polls. Certainly, Democrats want him gone, and intelligent Republicans who see through the ruse and are actually fiscally responsible are fed up with him as well. This just leaves the core of people who are responding emotionally, based on their religious beliefs and/or fear, and these people are apparently outnumbered. Wouldn't it have been prudent for McCrory to have this thing completely scrapped and start from the ground up, building a bill that included public response and input? A bill that was enforceable? A bill that did not have a bunch of other unrelated items slapped behind it? Those of you who support HB2- you should be angry at McCrory for fouling up. Now he's going to be history. He could have done this better.

  • Joseph Heel Sep 14, 2016
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    They will. In November. They'll vote McCrory out and hopefully some of the other clowns.

  • Joseph Heel Sep 14, 2016
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    There clearly aren't many real North Carolinians then. Cooper now has a 9 point lead in polls.

  • Karen Orndorff Sep 14, 2016
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    Let the people vote.

  • Bea Gyulay Sep 14, 2016
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    "Sadly, the NCAA, a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt monopoly, failed to show this respect at the expense of our student athletes and hard-working men and women."
    McCrory’s calling the National Collegiate Athletic Association a monopoly that is hurting the student athletes by standing up for ALL students’, coaches’, and support personnel’s rights? I don’t like sports. I never have. However, this remarkable move by the NCAA is the exact way to protest something with which you disagree. There is no violence, no vulgarity, no political finger pointing by the NCAA. They simply used the best means available to them to show their support for ALL people – a boycott. I’m actually impressed. I thought people had forgotten how to do that.
    And typical of a politician, the governor is placing the blame everywhere but where it needs to be exemplifying one of the main problems our civilization faces today – a distinct lack of taking responsibility for our actions and holding ourselve

  • Karen Grigg Sep 14, 2016
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    One question I have to ask for those supporting McCrory. McCrory claimed that the NC Chamber of Commerce helped write part of this bill. The NC Chamber of Commerce stated that no, they had absolutely nothing to do with it. Whom do you think is lying, and, if McCrory is just trying to throw the CoC under the bus, are you okay with that?

  • Raleigh Rose Sep 14, 2016
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    Yes but Roy, there is nothing in HB2 that protects anyone, including your child. It's not enforceable. The only thing this law is doing is costing the state millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. That's it.

  • Holly Atkins Sep 14, 2016
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    I'm sorry (not sorry) but you're wrong. McCrory called a last minute meeting in secret to pass this law and thought nobody would look at it because of his ego. He was WRONG!!
    Cooper didn't enact this bill and Cooper in no way encouraged any legislation before McCrory tried to be underhanded and hateful.

    The bill has no place in NC and the state has lost MILLIONS!!! with MILLIONS more to lose. Being disparaging and hiding in the 1950's mentally doesn't do our state any good.

  • Karen Grigg Sep 14, 2016
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    Right on, Ken. This bill had nothing to do with protecting anyone.Police forces have come out and said there is no way they can enforce this bil, and one of the sponsors admitted that there was no enforcement language. There was a previous failed bill attempt that contained all the employment provisions in the latter part of HB2. Our legislators are beholden to big business and the CoC, so when the bill failed, it was set aside for the right time to reintroduce. When the Charlotte ordinance passed, our state legislators saw an opportunity to push this bill through by sticking the very controversial bathroom part of the bill in the front and just wedged the old employment bill at the back. It was sped through on purpose. The bathroom part is so poorly written that it's unenforceable. We have lost millions of dollars for a bill that cannot be enforced and that will ultimately be repealed. Conservatives, where is your commitment to "small government" and "fiscal responsibility"?

  • Ken Ackerman Sep 14, 2016
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    HB2 is about minimum wage, the rest is a smoke screen to distract everyone. Why else would you have an "emergency" session to specifically pass a law to address a non-existent issue (with a couple minor attachments) with no enforcement guidelines and no penalties. The way HB2 is setup, if the judiciary knocks down the discrimination related portions (which they will) of the bill the Republicans still win because they will still have their law preventing cities from raising minimum wage. Which is why McCrory wants to let the "legal" system handle it.