Lawmakers leery of religious restoration bills as pushback grows

Posted March 31, 2015

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, left, and House Speaker Tim Moore answer questions during a Jan. 14, 2015, news conference about the legislative agenda for the Republican majority in the General Assembly.

— Ask Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger about a controversial religious freedom bill, and he's more than likely to talk about other measures the General Assembly has passed since Republicans took the reins in 2011.

"My question is, Wells Fargo announced yesterday that North Carolina's economy was really moving. I'd like to see some stories on that," Berger said, touting changes to tax rates and regulatory reforms that he contends lead to the brightening employment picture.

So, would the North Carolina's Religious Freedom Restoration Act measures, which have been filed in both the House and the Senate, contribute to that economic boom?

"I think what we've done over the past four years would be the thing that has put us in a position where our economy is performing most other states," said Berger, R-Rockingham. "I think what we are going to be focused on, as we have been over the past four years, is doing things that will move us in that direction. That means we're going to deal with economic development, continuing tax reform, our regulatory climate, all of those kinds of things."

So, it doesn't sound like the RFRA is part of that group, does it?

"It's been filed. A decision will be made as to whether or not we move it forward," Berger said.

If that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, it's not. It's similar to an answer House Speaker Tim Moore gave on the same topic Monday night. Moore said the House bill was likely to sit in committee until Republican lawmakers decided whether to move the measure.

A similar bill passed in Indiana has caused a national firestorm and threats from major businesses to relocate out of the state.

In North Carolina, a new business coalition called Compete North Carolina has formed to oppose the bill. Although members of the group have not made themselves known yet, a news release arguing against the North Carolina bill was distributed by Theresa Kostrzewa, an influential lobbyist known for participating in Republican political causes.

The release cites companies such as AT&T, Angie's List and Apple.

"RFRA will hurt North Carolina's reputation as a great state to do business, hinder our ability to attract talented workers and drive business out of the state," the release said.


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  • Phil Larson Apr 1, 2015
    user avatar

    Max Levchin, CEO, Affirm
    Mark Pincus, Chairman, Zynga
    Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp
    Marc Benioff, CEO, SalesForce
    Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square
    Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter Joe Green, CEO, Lyft Brian Chesky, CEO, AirBnB Joe Gebbia, CPO, AirBnB Nathan Blecharczyk, CTO, AirBnB Ron Conway, CEO, Axon JuriMed Group LLC John Donahoe, CEO, Ebay Paul Graham, CoFounder, YCombinator Rich Barton, Chairman, Zillow Group Chad Hurley, CEO, Mixbit Adora Cheung, CEO, Homejoy Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote Trevor Traina, CEO, IfOnly Nirav Tolia, CEO, NextDoor Dion Lim, CEO, NextLesson Bret Taylor, CEO, Quip Joe Lonsdale, CEO, Formation 8 Thomas Layton, Chairman, Elance-odesk Fabio Rosati, CEO, Elance-odesk Dave Morin, CEO, Path Mark Goldstein, Chairman, BackOps Kevin Rose, CEO, North Technologies Yves Behar, CCO, Jawbone Padmasree Warrior, CTSO, Cisco Systems Tony Conrad, CEO, Sunil Paul, CEO, Sidecar Michael Moritz, Chairman, Sequoia Capital Dan Schulman, President, PayPal Devin Wenig, President, eBay

  • Phil Larson Apr 1, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    LOL, Clhoe never heard of Wal-Mart or Apple.

  • Clovis Sangrail Apr 1, 2015
    user avatar

    LOL- they only "pushback" is from the media, who parachuted into Indiana trying to locate a business who said they were going to discriminate.

    News media reporting for duty to take on a non-problem. Thanks guys!

  • Phil Larson Mar 31, 2015
    user avatar

    Wow, the GA actually considering being pragmatic! It's a miracle. Obviously due to the push back from business', citizens would never garner that sort of influence with those yoo-hoos.