Editorial: Legislators - Repeal HB2, spare us pointless posturing
Posted December 20, 2016
A CBC Editorial: Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016; Editorial# 8099
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Even as we seem to be on the threshold of repealing onerous House Bill 2, that possibility seems mired in petty partisan bickering that could sink the deal.
Or maybe it is all a ruse? Make it appear as if the legislature’s going to repeal the law that legalizes discrimination, but avoid doing so. If votes somehow come up short on repeal, the blame again will be pinned on those who back anti-discrimination efforts for failing to compromise further or pressing for a vote that they weren’t going to prevail on anyway.
It is time to stop. No games, no blame. Just repeal HB2 now.
In a video statement that should have been an appeal to accommodation, Gov. Pat McCrory seemed to lay responsibility for the entire matter on Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper, and Democrats in general. The soon-to-be former Republican governor said he’d call the General Assembly into an extra session on Wednesday “to reconsider existing state legislation passed earlier this year.”
While McCrory said he demanded repeal of the Charlotte ordinance, he never mentioned – or suggested – he wanted and would insist on repeal of HB2 in return.
The fact of the matter has been that McCrory and the legislature brought all of the plagues that followed HB2 – loss of the NBA All-Star game, ACC championships, prime entertainment events, thousands of jobs and millions of dollars – upon themselves by their impetuous action.
McCrory and Attorney General candidate Buck Newton lost elections where repeal of HB2 was a major issue. Poll after poll show overwhelming majorities of North Carolinians believe the law is unfair and hurts North Carolina’s economy.
Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper personally lobbied reluctant Charlotte council members who didn’t trust the legislature to uphold its end of the deal. The council members came around, voting unanimously to rescind, contingent on repeal of HB2, its non-discrimination ordinance. They met the legislature’s demand for removal of the ordinance in return for repeal of HB2 – even as legislative leaders seek to equivocate on the deal.
Rather than welcome the overture from Charlotte’s council they demanded, McCrory and the legislature’s GOP leadership lashed out.
Berger and Moore ridiculed the ordinance as a “political stunt to drive out-of-state money into the governor’s race.” The reality was just the opposite. It’s HB 2 that failed as a hot-button issue designed to drive money to Republican candidates and motivate their voters to the polls.
The state Chamber of Commerce helped write portions of HB2 that limited minimum wage increases and moved job discrimination cases out of state courts. While the state Chamber remains silent about the repeal, other key state and local economic development advocates are pressing for repeal. The state Restaurant and Lodging Association and the chambers of commerce in Charlotte and Raleigh were quick Monday to urge the legislature to action.
It is time to end the partisan gamesmanship and bickering. The action Monday by the Charlotte Council gives North Carolina the opportunity to start rebuilding and rehabilitating its brand.
Wednesday there is a chance to reopen North Carolina to the rest of the nation and world. Unlike much of the complicated and important legislation that was just recently passed in great haste, repeal of HB2 doesn’t need much debate, nor much time.
The General Assembly can quickly repeal HB2 in its entirety and still have plenty of time to start celebrating a merry Christmas.