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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Morning Roundup: The Charlotte City Council Walks Away From HB 2 Deal Offer

Posted by on Tue, May 24, 2016 at 8:10 AM

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Good Tuesday morning, folks.

OK, this is just too damn funny.

1. Hey, GOP lawmakers: Sike! Republican state lawmakers must have been giddy with anticipation for Monday night, when the Charlotte City Council was supposed to repeal the local anti-discrimination ordinance that resulted in the state's retaliatory, anti-transgender HB 2 law. 

Oh, the smirking in front of TV cameras that would have followed. Oh, the accompanying "I-told-you-liberals-so" lectures.

And the ads! By god, the TV ads for the re-election campaigns would've just written themselves!

But guess what? Monday night: Didn't happen. The Charlotte Observer reports:

After a weekend of furious lobbying by local and national gay-rights groups, the Democratic-controlled Charlotte City Council decided Monday against taking any vote on repealing its own nondiscrimination ordinance.

The council’s decision is likely to scuttle a possible deal with the Republican-led General Assembly over House Bill 2 and could continue economic boycotts against the state. The collapse of a council deal could mean the impasse over HB2 will continue indefinitely.

Republican Council member Kenny Smith asked colleagues for a Wednesday vote that "would have affirmed the city's commitment to nondiscrimination," while removing the nullified Charlotte ordinance from the books. It would show "good faith" to the NCGA, he said. That got voted down 7-4 (hell-to-the-no).

Smith is one of two Council Republicans that voted against the Charlotte ordinance in February. They recently went to Raleigh with two Council Democrats to discuss the doomed deal with Republican legislative leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger, 

The Observer explains the terms:

Charlotte’s move, according to sources: Rescind the anti-discrimination ordinance the city passed in February, along with others that have been rendered invalid by state law. Council members could call it a “cleaning up” of ordinances that have no power. That’s better politically than calling it a repeal.

The General Assembly’s corresponding move: Repeal and replace HB2 – or at least key parts of it. The replacement could take several forms. One possibility is to allow cities to craft ordinances making sexual orientation a protected class, as Charlotte did, so long as local voters approved the measure in a referendum. Republicans could say they’re letting citizens make the choice, not “radical” city leaders, a concept that could soothe at least some conservative voters back home.

"Soothe?" Really? Valium would've helped that bash.

2. While we're on the subject. Top Republican N.C. lawmakers (and clever boys) would like to combine their lawsuits against the federal government over HB 2, perhaps hoping to steer them to a judge with a record of ruling against the federal government .

WRAL explains:

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore asked on Monday to combine their case with a similar lawsuit filed by Gov. Pat McCrory against the federal government. State leaders say the Justice Department has overreached in its arguments that the North Carolina legislation violates federal anti-discrimination laws. Their move follows McCrory's separate request last week to move his lawsuit to another federal court so it can be combined or heard in conjunction with lawsuits filed by the Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union.


As of now, lawsuits filed by the lawmakers against the Justice Department regarding HB 2 are being heard in the eastern district, and challenges to the law are being heard to the west.

There are five lawsuits in both districts filed either by the lawmakers, the ACLU, or the Justice Department.

If the cases are combined, this is the judge that McCrory, Berger and Moore would likely prefer:

The judge assigned to the Justice Department and ACLU lawsuits, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, is a Republican appointee who twice sided with local or state officials against the Justice Department in recent years. The judge based in Winston-Salem notably rejected the federal government's arguments in a North Carolina voter ID case in April. 

3. #IllGoWithYou at Oregon State. HB 2 continues to generate stories, even positive ones, from all over the U.S. Check out this one about Oregon State University, from Inside Higher Ed:

To support its transgender students, Oregon State University has started handing out pink-and-blue-striped pins that read #IllGoWithYou. By wearing the pins, students offer to accompany their transgender peers to gender-exclusive spaces — like bathrooms and locker rooms — where they may feel unsafe.

“It shows support,” said Cindy Konrad, assistant director of LGBT Services and Outreach. “It shows there are people on campus who care.”

When the campaign began in the fall, it was months before North Carolina barred transgender people at public colleges from using bathrooms associated with their gender identities. And even now, as the ban continues to attract national attention, the controversy seems far away from Oregon State.

And in many ways, it is.

“It isn’t something that people are particularly worried about happening here,” Konrad said.


4. UNC now has a one-stop integrity shop. The school has launched a new Ethics and Integrity website, to provide what Chancellor Carol Folt calls a "one-stop shop" for faculty members struggling with ethical concerns.

Chapelboro reports:

Folt said she was pleased with steps the university is continuing to take following the visit from SACS, the school’s accrediting body, last month.

“We continue to do everything that we possibly can to make [UNC] a strong place,” Folt said. “I think part of the SACS visit was a good opportunity for us to continue to look at what we’re doing, assess it [and] prepare ourselves for questions.

“That gives you a chance to do self reflection.”

UNC has been on probation with SACS over the last year following the Wainstein Report’s investigation into the long-running paper-class scandal at the university.

UNC is also hiring for a newly created position of chief integrity and policy officer, which should be filled by June. 

5. North Carolina is a toss-up state. That's right — one of seven that could either go Clinton or Trump in November.

Chris Cillizza and Philip Bump at The Fix break it down:

After a narrow Obama win in 2008, Romney took the Tar Heel State back — again, narrowly — in 2012. The fact that nearly 30 percent of the state's population is either black or Hispanic makes it an immediate Clinton target given how dismal Trump's numbers are among both groups.  Add that to the fact that the Research Triangle (Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham) is populated by lots and lots of affluent, highly educated whites — two groups that have proven the least willing to be persuaded by Trump's message — and the state is a toss up through and through.
Please vote, people.

For now, go out and have a great one.

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