So let's talk about HB 2.
It's safe to say the GOP was blindsided by the backlash, especially PayPal's decision to pull out of a planned $3.5 million expansion in Charlotte that would have created over four hundred jobs. So they went on the attack: Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest put out a statement saying, "If our action in keeping men out of women's bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted"—it won't, but OK—"then it was worth it." Then Senator Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore put out a statement blaming Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts and the "far-left Political Correctness Mob" for the mess the legislature created. And the state party sought to highlight the "hypocrisy" of PayPal abandoning North Carolina on moral grounds when it does business with Iran and Sudan, even though that wasn't an issue when PayPal announced its expansion or when the Senate gave incentives to other companies that do business with those very countries.
This isn't going well for them. And it certainly hasn't gone well for the state's brand.
Which is perhaps why the state's business-minded Republicans have been pretty muted about this slow-motion train wreck. Take the Carolina Journal, an Art Pope mouthpiece; to date, it has run one news story about Senate Democrats walking out over HB 2 and a column from the John Locke Foundation's Becki Gray, which argued that while "no one should minimize the heartache, struggle, and hardship that people dealing with sexual identity challenges face ... the speedily called special session and resulting legislation were necessary to ensure public facility privacy and security, statewide consistency in laws, and protection of rights. It also was necessary to remind local governments that their authority is limited."
That last part—keeping local governments in check—seemed more important, or more so, than the bathroom thing. So did the provision in HB 2 that eradicated Charlotte's living-wage ordinance. They've got their priorities.
The state Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, isn't touching HB 2 with a ten-foot pole. Asked for comment, Chamber vice president of communications Kate Catlin issued a statement (the same statement given to WRAL on April 4) saying the body was "conducting an analysis" of the law's ramifications. When the INDY asked if the Chamber's position had changed since PayPal's announcement on April 5, we were told to refer to that statement.