HB2: Legislation in search of a problem
From: Understanding HB2: North Carolina’s newest law solidifies state’s role in defining discrimination By Michael Gordon, Mark S. Price and Katie Peralta, Charlotte Observer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In a one-day specially convened session Wednesday (March 23), North Carolina’s legislature passed a sweeping law that reverses a Charlotte ordinance that had extended some rights to people who are gay or transgender.
The law passed by the General Assembly and signed that same night by Gov. Pat McCrory goes further than a narrow elimination of Charlotte’s ordinance, which had generated the most controversy by a change that protected transgender people who use public restrooms based on their gender identity. The new law also nullified local ordinances around the state that would have protected gay or transgender people from being fired for their sexual orientation or identity.
The state has long had laws regulating workplace discrimination, use of public accommodations, minimum wage standards and other business issues. The new law – known as HB2, the Charlotte bathroom bill or, more officially, as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act – makes it illegal for cities to expand upon those state laws, as more than a dozen cities had done including Charlotte, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham.
2 Bad for NC
In the last few days, some of the smartest, most successful businesses, including Red Hat, Quintiles, Apple and Google, came out against HB2. So did the NBA. They say HB2 is bad for business. The NCAA is monitoring the situation as it considers future venues for events. And now, states like New York, are instituting policies to forbid state employees from attending meetings in NC as part of official business.
Locally, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce weighed in:
[We believe] discrimination is a business issue and we oppose any legislation that allows discrimination and diminishes North Carolina’s reputation as a welcoming place for employers and employees.
American Airlines, Dow Chemical and a host of other businesses also commented about their commitment to all people and their opposition to the legislation that was pushed through too quickly for people to recognize what was happening.
Bathrooms are not on the list of NC’s big problems
I love North Carolina. It is my adopted home, and I work every day to help make the state healthier. Monday morning (Mar 28), a group of faculty members, students and I met with Rick Brajer, MBS, NC Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Deputy Secretary Randall Williams, MD, to discuss how we can work together to solve some of the most pressing NC health problems. Bathrooms were not on the list. In a state that ranks 31/50 on health overall, 33/50 on diabetes, 40/50 on hypertension, 42/50 on infant mortality, 44/50 on access to dentists, and faces many water and sanitation threats, our legislators and governor should focus on big problems that threaten the economic, physical, mental health and general well-being of North Carolinians. Bathrooms weren’t on the list, but they are now. Even though politicians from both sides have said that government should get out of our bedrooms, we will now be known as the state in which government is in our bathrooms.
Monday, I joined some of UNC’s most accomplished faculty members in signing a petition advocating that HB2 be repealed. Here’s the statement:
UNC-Chapel Hill is a world-class research university. It serves the people of the State of North Carolina by attracting and retaining the very best faculty, staff and students from around the state, the country and the world.
The recently passed House Bill 2 makes it impossible for UNC-Chapel Hill and its surrounding communities to protect valued faculty, staff and students from discrimination simply because of who they are.
We are current and former participants in the university’s Academic Leadership Program, a development program for current and emerging campus leaders. We are gravely concerned that House Bill 2, and the disturbing message it sends, will make it difficult for Carolina to find and retain the best faculty, staff and students.
We urge the General Assembly and the Governor to repeal this law.
The legislation should be repealed so we can get on with the important business of North Carolina while respecting our LGBT communities. Barbara