HB2 could cost Raleigh up to $40M in convention business

Posted July 6

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— Raleigh could lose as much as $40 million in convention business from the state's controversial law on transgender rights.

Statistics from the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau show that 16 trade associations or corporate groups have canceled gatherings in Raleigh because of House Bill 2, causing an estimated economic loss of $5.6 million. Raleigh is no longer in the running for another 13 conventions, worth an estimated $2 million combined.

The law, which the state adopted in March, excludes gay and transgender people from nondiscrimination protections and prohibits cities and counties from extending such protections to them. It also requires transgender individuals to use public bathrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

The U.S. Department of Justice has called the law discriminatory and this week sought a court order blocking its use statewide.

The latest loss is the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, which notified CVB officials on Wednesday that it will no longer hold its 2017 convention in Raleigh. Officials estimated the June 25-29 event would have brought 1,500 people to town and an $890,000 economic impact.

"In our more than 60 years as an association, we have never cancelled an annual convention and this will be the first occurrence due to HB2," CSTE officials wrote in a letter to CVB President and Chief Executive Dennis Edwards.

North Carolina State Epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies will be CSTE president in 2017, and the group traditionally holds its annual gathering in the president's home state. But the group said many people cannot attend because of restrictions other cities and states have placed on non-essential travel to North Carolina in the wake of House Bill 2.

"This would significantly impact our attendance and have a negative economic effect to our organization. Furthermore, this policy and the political climate in North Carolina is discriminatory and cannot provide a hospitable environment for the inclusive nature of our membership, attendees and population served," CSTE officials wrote in the letter.

CVB officials said they are trying to salvage the event and declined to comment.

The CVB also reports "pushbacks" from dozens of other groups concerned that House Bill 2 could jeopardize conventions planned for Raleigh. CVB data shows those gatherings would total $32.6 million in economic activity for local businesses.


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  • Vern Barnett Jul 7, 11:58 a.m.
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    Don't you think if that was the case then we would have seen the number of young girls being harassed and/or molested in all the places already in the US that allow bathroom access for Transgenders to rise?

    That would be a good metric to look at if your fearful that the law would be dangerous. Just look at where it's already legal and see if there are any problems. Don't you think?

  • Ronald Woodard Jul 7, 11:39 a.m.
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    Vern, so you want to wait until young girls are molested until our NC General Assembly takes action. And why should young girls be afraid to enter a public bathroom? What evidence do you have that HB 2 won't protect young girls from sexual predators in the future? We have chosen to not enforce our immigration laws and a 12 year old girl was molested, as noted in today's WRAL News. Laws obviously do not stop all crimes, but they can help. We obviously have two different point of views.

  • Vern Barnett Jul 7, 11:19 a.m.
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    Ronald, you reiterated that it was for public safety reasons and yet, ignored the info I provided that proves that is in no way a public safety issue.

    Again, do you, or any of our representatives that signed the law have any evidence whatsoever that it is a public safety issue.

    I'm discussing facts, not politics, and not ideals.

  • Ronald Woodard Jul 7, 10:49 a.m.
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    Vern, the bill was put in place to discourage anyone from using a public bathroom not of their gender for public safety reasons. There are more sexual predators than transgender folks who (predators) may choose to take advantage of a law such as Charlotte's for, let's be honest, political and lgbtq agenda reasons. HB 2 was in response to Charlotte, not the other way around.

  • Vern Barnett Jul 7, 10:19 a.m.
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    Ronald, do you have any valid information to backup your claim that hb2 is dangerous for young girls?

    1. Trans people have been using the bathroom of their preferred gender for 100s of years including here in NC.
    2. Trans people make up less than 1% of sex offenders so why do you feel they are such a risk.
    3. There are many places across this great country that already allows it and there has been no increase in sexual attacks in bathrooms.

    That's solid evidence that it will NOT be dangerous.
    Got any evidence to support your argument?

  • Ronald Woodard Jul 7, 10:04 a.m.
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    Paul, I think protecting young girls when they go to a public bathroom is rather important. I for one do not want our society to make decisions based on convention center bookings. Given your comment, are you in favor of Hillary accepting millions from a gay-hating country like Saudi Arabia? By the way, there are 25+ states in basic agreement with North Carolina's actions. Apparently those state leaders also place public safety over convention bookings.

  • Paul Stroud Jul 7, 9:38 a.m.
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    @Demunte, if you read carefully, you might find some actual damages that have already occurred....

  • Paul Stroud Jul 7, 9:36 a.m.
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    @Ronald, How about we make this about North Carolinians. You know, the ones that are being affected by this. The ones that are losing both business and money. You can whine about everything else all you like, but this is affecting people right here in North Carolina. So try all the misdirection you like, but if you'd like to discuss THIS issue, in the context of North Carolina, please add something constructive.

  • Ronald Woodard Jul 7, 9:23 a.m.
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    So we are going to establish our social mores and laws based on increases in convention business? Maybe we can ask Saudi Arabia to give Raleigh some money instead of the Clinton Foundation......Hillary accepts millions of dollars from countries who kill gays and mistreat women.

  • Vern Barnett Jul 7, 9:03 a.m.
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    "Statistics from the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau show that 16 trade associations or corporate groups have canceled gatherings in Raleigh because of House Bill 2, causing an estimated economic loss of $5.6 million. Raleigh is no longer in the running for another 13 conventions, worth an estimated $2 million combined."

    Why would you think that the most likely outcome could even have a chance of being positive when all info up to this point has only showed more and more money lost. A logical conclusion would be that we will continue to lose more and more money until it is repealed. Plain and simple. I'd love to hear any other logical ideas, just none of this "Liberals are crazzzzzzy" stuff that adds nothing of substance to the discussion.

    Demute - Care to share a possible way that HB2 could ever "gain business" in Raleigh? I can't think of one.

    Marilyn - Any particular reason not to believe the story? Are the facts of the story incorrect or something? Just ask