Opinion: Repeal HB2 Quickly, Before Further Damage

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Star-News (Wilmington, NC)


The General Assembly had better act fast. As the N.C. Sports Association warned legislators this week, the NCAA is within days of nailing down athletic schedules for the next five to six years and unless HB2 is repealed, and fast, North Carolina could be shut out of many major sports events for a long, long time.

The NCAA has already pulled seven playoff and tournament events out of the Tar Heel State, including men s basketball post-season games planned for Charlotte. The Atlantic Coast Conference moved its football championship out of Charlotte, and the NBA moved its All-Star Game. Losing these events cost North Carolina businesses some $250 million, by conservative estimates.

How long are we going to keep wounding ourselves?

As noted before, the bathroom bill is unenforceable; no one s putting up money for potty police and its so-called protections are already in place in existing criminal statutes. The law effectively does nothing except hurt our state.

Other socially conservative states have rejected their own versions of HB2. We re out on a limb on this. (And, for once, South Carolinians are probably muttering to themselves, Thank God for North Carolina!)

The Republicans in the legislature need to get their act together. Last year, remember, they dawdled interminably on the budget. Then, in a misbegotten series of one-day special sessions, they rubber-stamped a series of hastily drafted, bad-idea bills with minimal debate. HB2 was Exhibit A. Exhibit B was a series of late-night bills to strip newly elected Gov. Roy Cooper of a good chunk of his powers. Those bills are currently being challenged in courts.

Thanks in large part to creative redistricting gerrymandering is such a cruel word Republicans still enjoy veto-proof majorities in both houses of the legislature. They can afford to slow down, let bills trickle through committees for a few days, and spot problems in the fine print before they re passed. That s the way legislatures are supposed to work.

There are a few new faces in the Republican leadership this year, so some changes in tactics may be coming. (Brunswick County Sen. Bill Rabon is taking over the powerful Rules Committee; this could be his chance to shine.) They don t, however, have much time to get their act together.

A previous compromise plan to repeal HB2 fell apart at the last minute. Hurry up, folks, and try again. Time is not on our side.

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February 9, 2017


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