The Transylvania Times -

Repeal HB2

 

February 16, 2017



This week the NBA All-Star game is being played in New Orleans. It was to be played in Charlotte, but the NBA moved the event due to the passage of House Bill 2 last year. HB2 has cost the state millions of dollars due to lost sporting events, and will lose more if the law is not repealed.

On Feb. 6 of this year, Scott Dupree, on behalf of the North Carolina Sports Association, informed members of the state General Assembly that “North Carolina is on the brink of losing all NCAA Championship events for six consecutive years, through the spring of 2022,” including the NCAA basketball tournament. Estimates in lost revenue from those events range from $250 million to $500 million. Dupree informed the General Assembly that if the issue is not resolved that “In a matter of days, our state’s sports tourism industry will suffer crushing, long-term losses and will essentially close its doors to NCAA business.”

Sports and entertainment are not the only areas in which HB2 has hurt this state. Margaret Spellings, head of the UNC system and former Education Secretary under President George W. Bush, said HB2 hurts the recruitment of top professors and students.

This week Gov. Roy Cooper and Democrats in the General Assembly have attempted to resolve the HB2 situation with new legislation. The legislation has three major components: repeal HB2, strengthen penalties for individuals who commit crimes in public bathrooms or dressing rooms, and require cities and municipalities to give 30 days notice to the public and General Assembly about any plans to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance.

HB2 should be repealed because it does nothing to enhance public safety. As we have noted before, in the more than 100 municipalities that have laws allowing transgendered people to use the bathroom of their choice, no one has attempted to disguise himself as transgendered in order to gain access to women and children and commit crimes. Former Gov. Pat McCrory admitted in May of last year he knew of no such cases occurring in North Carolina.

In federal court last summer, Butch Bowers, who represented McCrory regarding HB2, told U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroder he did not know of any such cases. Bowers also testified “There is no enforcement mechanism of the law” and that if HB2 were enacted “some transgender people will use the bathrooms they always have, and no one will notice.”

Thus, the state’s chosen defender of HB2 in federal court testified the law is unenforceable, that there have been no problems with transgender people using the bathroom of their choice, and that transgender people will continue using their bathroom of choice and “no one will notice.” In addition, there were already laws criminalizing voyeurism, molestation, trespassing and indecent exposure in public facilities.

Cooper and the Democrats extended an olive branch and tried to address Republicans’ disingenuous concerns about the safety of women and children by increasing the penalties for those – regardless of being straight, gay or transgender – who would commit the above mentioned crimes.

By putting in the 30-day notice in the legislation, they are advocating for communication and discussion between the state and municipalities. State law supercedes municipal law, but our municipalities are the economic engines of this state and their needs should be considered at the state level.

Unfortunately, Republican leaders such as Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and Senate Pro Tempore Phil Berger rejected out of hand any attempt at working with the governor and Democrats to resolve the issue. Instead, they went back to their patently false arguments of “heterosexual men” dressing up as women so that they can “watch women and children shower,” completely ignoring the laws about voyeurism that already exist. They are still ignoring the facts and the testimony given in federal court.

In the meantime, they are missing an opportunity to actually increase penalties for molesters or voyeurs. And they are costing business people in this state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

They need to stop blocking attempts to resolve HB2 and work toward a reasonable solution. Nothing short of repealing the ineffective HB2 will bring back the sporting events or top academic talent that are currently boycotting this state.

The best thing Republicans can do for North Carolina is repeal this unenforceable law and accept the compromise that has been offered by Cooper and the Democrats.

 
 

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