The Continuing Manufactured Disaster of HB2

Last year in our pro-choice signature ad packet letter to legislators, NC NOW pointed out that HB2, Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act., has been a disaster for North Carolina. The state was already suffering the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic investments in our state and potentially billions in federal support to the state’s K-12 schools, colleges and universities. Yet, the law goes way beyond bathrooms and targeting a group of citizens. It removes core worker anti-discrimination protections that state law has provided to workers since the 1970s. It also targets women, whether intentional or not.  When HB2 first happened, NC NOW recognized how disastrous HB 2 is for women. But it has been disastrous for the state as well.

And it just continues to cause massive losses. The majority in the NC Legislature don’t seem to care, they keep voting to leave it in place, refusing to repeal it. Just in one weekend in March, the city of Greensboro lost out on an estimated 14.5 MILLION DOLLARS because of House Bill 2!  That estimate that the NCAA would have brought in around 14.5 million dollars is from the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitor Bureau. 

HB2_Scrubbed Toilet
From an anti-hb2 rally right after HB2 was passed on March 24, 2016.

The tens of thousands of people who should have gone to Greensboro for the NCAA tournament went to Greenville, South Carolina instead. According to S.C. reaping HB2 Bounty, 3/15/17, News & Observer, 

“South Carolina spent 14 years in NCAA limbo, prohibited from hosting NCAA neutral-site championships as long as the Confederate flag flew on the capital grounds. It came down in July 2015, less than a year before House Bill 2 put North Carolina in the same position.”

Now SC is hosting what had been Greensboro’s NCAA championships. But of course it wouldn’t have done as much good for SC if NC hadn’t thrown the NCAA games away over HB2

And it gets worse. North Carolina is likely to be excluded from six years of NCAA events unless HB2 is repealed soon (March 2017). 

The worst thing here is the stubborn refusal to repeal HB2 long after all of the excuses for it are gone. There have been multiple opportunities to repeal HB2, even just recently, and the Republicans refuse.

Flush HB2 sign at HKonJ event on 2/11/17. Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga

Back in December 2016, “North Carolina lawmakers failed to reach a deal to repeal a divisive and costly law restricting protections for transgender people, ending a daylong special session without coming to agreement on anything.”

HB2 Stays: North Carolina Lawmakers Decline to Repeal Controversial Anti-LGBTQ ‘Bathroom’ Bill,” 12/21/16, NBC News continued with, 

“That means no end in sight for a crisis that has already helped oust the sitting governor and triggered a boycott of the state by businesses, performers and sports leagues that has cost North Carolina tens of millions of dollars.”

There are already 5 bills working at repealing HB2 that were introduced to the Legislature in 2017. The best one is HB 82 (=SB84), “Equality for All/Repeal HB2.” According to NC NOW’s Legislative Update #7, 

“This bill has the support of LGBT advocacy organizations (including NC Equity and the Human Rights Campaign) and also has the most sponsors and co-sponsors (all Democrats). In addition to repealing HB2, this bill includes a comprehensive statewide non-discrimination law that includes a number of other categories, including sexual orientation, gender identification, and military veteran status, and would explicitly support bathroom access based on gender identity along with banning discrimination in housing, employment, and all public accommodations.”

HB82 was referred to the Rules Committee on 2/13/2017, which means the majority party (Republicans) is ignoring it.

March 23, 2017 marks a year of pain from HB2, Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act., which was introduced in a second special session of 2016, and was ratified by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory on March 23, 2016. New Governor Roy Cooper has been actively working for repeal and has been willing to compromise on HB2. All attempts so far have failed, even with extra pressure. “[L]awmakers faced a reported deadline from the NCAA, which is choosing championship venues through 2022,” and newspapers are wondering, A year later, HB2 has cost North Carolina millions How much worse will it get? ,” 3/18/17, News & Observer.

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