The Morning Roundup: All HB 2, All the Time | News
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Morning Roundup: All HB 2, All the Time

Posted by on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 8:28 AM

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Happy 4/21 y'all. Let's do this thing.

1. The North Carolina legislature re-convenes Monday and, LOL, the NAACP has a massive, daylong sit-in planned in protest of HB 2. It's the third anniversary of Moral Monday and we have plenty to be outraged about. Here's the schedule of the day's events according to the NAACP Facebook page. 

Schedule of the day:

9:30 a.m. News conference and petition delivery at the State Capitol, 1 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601 with Equality North Carolina and Human Rights Campaign

10:30 a.m. Direct action training (email for more info)

11:30 a.m. Speak-out at the State Capitol

2:00 p.m. Direct action training (email for more info)

3:00 p.m. Moral Monday 3rd Anniversary rally at Bicentennial Mall, 16 W. Jones St. in front of the NC General Assembly

4:00 p.m. Mass sit-in to protest HB 2

7:00 p.m. We encourage you to stick around for the Southerners on New Ground (North Carolina SONG) event in the evening.
2. Phil Berger, the North Carolina Senate president who is both smarter and more powerful than Governor Pat McCrory, had some words about HB 2 yesterday— specifically that the law doesn't need to be revised or repealed. He called the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in favor of allowing a transgender Virginia teen to use the bathroom that comports with his gender identity "troubling" and he said he was not convinced by McCrory's call to repeal parts of the law that deal with filing discrimination lawsuits. 

From the N&O:

Berger read a statement defending what he called the “bathroom safety bill.”

“My job is not to give in to the demands of multimillionaire celebrities pushing a pet social agenda, liberal newspapers like The New York Times, big corporations who have every freedom to set whatever policies they wish under this law,” Berger said. “My job is to listen to the people who elected us to represent them. And the vast majority of North Carolinians we’ve heard from understand and support this reasonable, common-sense law.”

The economic damages the law triggered have multiplied since the legislature held a special session last month to pass it. PayPal canceled plans to expand in Charlotte, at a cost of 400 jobs. Deutsche Bank froze its Cary expansion plans, which would have brought 250 jobs. Cities and states around the country have prohibited their employees from traveling to North Carolina, and conventions have canceled plans to meet here. The United Kingdom issued a travel advisory for LGBT citizens traveling to North Carolina or Mississippi.

Berger referred to his prepared statement when asked about the economic fallout.

Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, a Raleigh Democrat, said in an interview that he was “absolutely amazed” at Berger’s attitude.

Everyone in this country deserves basic civil rights, Blue said, and it would be worth it for Republicans to revisit the law to make sure that they aren’t running off the businesses that they claim their economic policies are attracting.

“I don’t know what it takes to make people realize that this is a serious issue,” and not something that will fade over the next few months, Blue said. “It plays out reputationally over the next five to 10 years."

Berger also talked about the budget.

3. More HB 2, more LOLs. You know that "loyalty pledge" conservative groups sent out to lawmakers this week to keep North Carolina safe, like a purity ring guarding the state's chastity against people who just want to use the damn bathroom? Yeah, the religious right organizations that distributed it walked back real quick yesterday because that particular little stunt was actually extremely discriminatory and offensive—just like HB 2!

From WRAL:

Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake, said the pledge erases any doubts that House Bill 2 is discriminatory legislation.

"It says it right here and makes it very clear they want to be able to put signs up on businesses that say 'No Gays Allowed,'" Jackson said. "I imagine these are the same type of things they had legislators in the '50s and '60s trying to get them to sign, saying they wouldn’t support (civil) rights. It’s no different. It’s just 50 years later."

John Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, sent the pledge to all members of the House and the Senate. By mid-afternoon Wednesday, he had emailed lawmakers, saying the pledge was circulated "inadvertently" and should be ignored.

"We had considered providing a means, prior to the convening of the 2016 Legislative Session, by which we could continue to encourage North Carolina lawmakers to stay strong in your leadership defending the privacy and safety of all North Carolinians, and clarifying that there is no patchwork of confusing local laws in the state that are harmful to commerce, labor, and trade," Rustin said in the email. "However, we decided not to move forward with this pledge and respectfully ask that you disregard yesterday’s e-mail."

He declined further comment about the pledge.
4. North Carolina has an $8 billion school infrastructure problem and it's getting worse—like $5-more- billion-in-ten-years type of worse—according to this report from former INDY Week staffer Billy Ball. 

“Some sort of action is needed. Because some counties just do not have the financial strength to provide the facilities that they need,” says Ken Phelps, an architect and lead school planning consultant for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

This week, Phelps told members of the state’s Blue Ribbon Study Commission that, over the next five years, K-12 school districts in North Carolina need more than $8 billion in new school facilities, maintenance and renovations.

Over the next decade, that number—which does not include daily operational costs such as school staffing and books—swells to about $13.4 billion in capital needs.

State leaders, Phelps says, must reassess a system that allows North Carolina, like many states in the U.S., to rely almost entirely on local school districts to fund facility costs, despite local districts widely varying assets.

Coincidentally, the commission’s meeting came just days after the release of a national, K-12 report that documented, in painstaking detail, the failing infrastructure of American schools.
5. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman's going on the twenty, replacing slaveholder Andrew Jackson. Might possible/probable Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pick U.S. Senate badass Elizabeth Warren to run as her VP?

In a world where Thursday is Little Friday, we can only dream. 

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