Editorial: Failure to repeal HB2 sets NC back even more

Posted December 22, 2016

A CBC Editorial: Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016; Editorial# 8100
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

It may end up being the least productive nine-and-a-half hours in the history of the North Carolina General Assembly. The legislature failed to uphold a deal it demanded in the first place.

Instead of moving to clean up North Carolina’s brand, the session further tarnished its image with displays of dishonesty, petty partisanship and down-right meanness. The animosity at the close of the session Wednesday between the GOP legislative leaders and Roy Cooper, the incoming Democratic governor, will unfortunately not abate. North Carolina is worse off for it.

The Republican-dominated legislature failed to keep its end of a simple bargain Cooper helped broker: if the city of Charlotte repealed its non-discrimination ordinance, the legislature would repeal House Bill 2.

Charlotte’s City Council did its part but the legislature failed miserably to hold up its end of the bargain.

Since March, Gov. Pat McCrory, Senate President Protem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore have sought to blame the blowback from HB2 on Democrats in Charlotte.

Finally, when they got what they wanted from the city, these powerful Republicans and the legislature they control couldn’t get their act together. The utter insincerity of their accusations was revealed. They failed to keep the deal they demanded.

The bill that was offered Wednesday in the Senate was a devil’s bargain. On the one hand it would have repealed HB2, but on the other hand legislators would have continued to impose on cities and counties most of the provisions in the law.

“This was not the deal. The deal was Charlotte repeals fully and we repeal fully,” said Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg.

Sen. Buck Newton, a Nash County Republican who lost the race for attorney general where HB2 was a key issue, lashed out. He referred to opponents of HB2 as the “lunatic left” and “hateful.”

While Berger and Moore now will seek to deflect criticism and obscure the issues, the reality is that Cooper was able to deliver – as he promised – and they were not. And when Berger and Moore failed to deliver they shucked-and-jived. Berger set up a deceitful procedural vote he knew would not pass – in the business world it’s called a “poison pill.”

In the end, a deal that even McCrory said was cut, was left in tatters. So was the North Carolina brand. Failure to repeal HB2 leaves our state less competitive.  The jobs are still lost.  The potential new ones will go elsewhere.  The possibility of the NBA All-Star weekend returning, is gone.  NCAA and ACC championships, forget them.  Hundreds of millions of investment, tourism and entertainment dollars that would have been spent in communities throughout the state, will find their way to cities and towns in other states.

House Bill 2 transformed North Carolina’s image from a state of openness, inclusion and progress, to a stagnant place where discrimination and intolerance aren’t just tolerated, but enshrined in law.

Wednesday was a missed opportunity to start to close some of the gaps that divide our state – urban vs. rural, gender identity, sexual orientation. Instead, suspicion and distrust carried the day. The legislature could have re-set the clock on those divisions, but instead – lawmakers dug the hole of mistrust and ill will ever deeper.

This may be the season of warm spirit and goodwill, but inside the North Carolina Legislative Building it was the bitter cold of political brinksmanship.

At the close of the legislative session, expressions of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year unfortunately took on a forced and hollow ring.


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  • Nicolle Leney Dec 22, 2016
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    The last amendment that was passed (but there was never a version written with this, assuming that's when things fell apart) changed things. I still don't even exactly understand what time period this actually represents, but I feel like it could be strongly abused and extend the "cooling off period" much longer than initially claimed.

    "SECTION 3. Effective Date. – This act is effective when it becomes law. Section 2 expires 30 days following the adjournment in 2017 of the 2017 General Assembly for more than 30 days jointly as provided under Section 20 of Article II of the Constitution."

  • Raleigh Rose Dec 22, 2016
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    The majority of people in NC are against HB2. If the majority were for it, then McCrory would have won re-election easily. He lost because of HB2, because it's an unenforceable law that is hurting the state in revenue and jobs. We've lost thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue. And unless they post guards by every bathroom in the state affected to check people's birth certificates, there is NO WAY TO ENFORCE IT. The bill does nothing but hurt the state. It only hurts that state as a whole.

  • Arron Lee Dec 22, 2016
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    Excellent point Teddy! What many people overlook is that so many other citizens support the bill. You don't have to be a religious fanatic to support the privacy and protective components of this bill. It's just plain common sense.

  • Pete Muller Dec 22, 2016
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    The moral argument for this GA over reach bill crumbled into pieces and they cannot even get themselves to correct a wrong. Using one city ordinance as a "reason" for a far reaching bill to interfere with every city in the state is despicable enough, but the members of the GA don't care about job loss because they are not impacted y its consequences.

  • Marianne Tioran Dec 22, 2016
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    it is NOT a set back....

    it is progress against special interests that endanger women and girls in public places

  • Chad Stinner Dec 22, 2016
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    Well... now this will go to court and it will lose. Every single legal expert believes that will happen.

    I'm sick and tired of people who are so stuck in the 1940's running our government. It's a waste of taxpayer money.

  • Teddy Fowler Dec 22, 2016
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    It's never been addressed... but I wonder how many jobs are coming to NC because of the HB2 bill.... many people are actually for it but can't publicly say that due to backlash from media and activists.... it can't be all lost jobs only... two way street....

  • Edwin Duncan Dec 22, 2016
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    One more - How is the below "a deal with the devil"? this is probably the shortest bill ever written in NC.

    Short Title: Repeal HB2. (Public)
    Sponsors: Senators Berger (Primary Sponsor); Barringer, Bingham, Hartsell, and Rabon.
    Referred to: Calendar 12/21/2016
    December 21, 2016
    2 AN ACT TO REPEAL S.L. 2016-99 AND S.L. 2016-3. 3 The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: 4 SECTION 1. House Bill 2 Repealed. – S.L. 2016-99 and S.L. 2016-3 are repealed.

    5 SECTION 2. Six-Month Cooling-Off Period. – No local government in this State may enact or amend an ordinance regulating employment practices or regulating public accommodations or access to restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.

    SECTION 3. Effective Date. – This act is effective when it becomes law, with 9 Section 2 expiring 180 days after that date.

  • Patric Pederson Dec 22, 2016
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    How? WRAL clearly indicated this is an opinion of CBC and therefore should be taken just that. Editorials have been a part of news gathering and reporting organizations for very long time. Not everyone is entitled to your opinion. CBC is an organization in this state and as such, they have the right to have and express an opinion of activities in this state (or any state, for that matter).

  • Jason Galarneau Dec 22, 2016
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