Editorial: N.C. continues to suffer from McCrory's bungled HB2 wedge issue
Posted September 14, 2016
A CBC Editorial: Wednesday, Sept. 14. 2016; Editorial# 8055
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
In a desperate quest for a campaign wedge issue, Gov. Pat McCrory and his ideologue allies in the General Assembly have thrown North Carolina into a very real crisis. Now, EVEN the NCAA, about as staid and conservative an organization as there is on the planet, says North Carolina has gone too far.
Seven NCAA championship events are moving out of our state. It's taking a huge toll from communities, colleges and universities and the people of North Carolina.
But the NCAA is right. Discrimination is wrong. McCrory and the legislative leadership are out of tune, out of step and hurting North Carolina.
You don’t need a calculator to figure up the damage HB2 has inflicted: Lost conventions; cancelled performances; high tech job expansions scrapped; NBA All-Star game scrapped and now the NCAA’s action. It has had an impact on thousands of North Carolina workers and cost businesses and governments millions in revenues. And incalculable, is the blow to the state’s prestige and brand.
In one of his latest television commercials, Gov. Pat McCrory says “folks were actually pushing to make our schools allow boys to use the girls’ locker rooms and showers. Are we really talking about this?”
Well, as McCrory well knows, he was pushing the issue before HB2. The smoking gun is his Nov. 21, 2015 letter to Attorney General Roy Cooper. In that letter, McCrory attempts to bully his Democratic opponent into signing on to a brief in the Gloucester County, Va., federal court case concerning a transgender student and restroom issues.
Smelling the wedge issue boiling, Cooper resisted the bait.
So why did North Carolina get involved in the Virginia case? Not because there was any applicable issue here in North Carolina, but because the South Carolina attorney general asked. And even more important, McCrory and his political advisers saw an opportunity to create an emotional campaign issue. Nothing more, nothing less.
The governor’s next chance to elevate the issue came a few months later when the city of Charlotte prepared to take up its non-discrimination ordinance. Even though the Charlotte law is nearly identical to ones working smoothly in more than 200 U.S communities, the governor warned Charlotte leaders if they passed the ordinance, the legislature would intervene – and he’d back it.
Charlotte passed the ordinance, the legislature and McCrory sprang into action and the rest, sadly, is tragic history.
Let’s be clear – HB2 was created NOT because of any danger to the women and children of North Carolina. That argument is bogus. No one has been able to point at a single incident that would have been covered by the law. Children face greater threats, as has been amply covered in the news lately, from predators in clown suits or Santa costumes.
HB2 was all about partisan politics and unnecessary fear. Now, the lawmakers who put North Carolina in this mess need to fix it.
Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, D-Wake, has called for an immediate special session to repeal HB2. But it’s highly unlikely before Election Day, given the unwavering stand by McCrory, Lt.Gov. Dan Forest and the legislative leadership.
So, that leaves it in the hands of the voters.
With campaigns in full swing across the state, it is the perfect opportunity for voters to take notice of where office-seekers stand on HB2 and whether they will vote to repeal it.
We’ll be polling the candidates and will tell you where they stand. In the meantime, if you haven’t registered to vote, do it and then exercise that critical right.