THE RALEIGH REPORT
April 4, 2017
First things first: How 'bout them Heels! In all the years I've been cheering for Carolina, I don't remember any team that deserved to win the national championship more than this one. They set their goal, never gave up, clawed their way back when necessary, excelled at defense and giving assists, enjoyed and loved each other and taught us to Jump Around. Congratulations. Go Tar Heels!!
HB142 was a hard vote. I can make a case for both sides of the issue. For me, it became a choice between voting with people that are disparaged and discriminated against or with a Governor I admire, worked hard to get elected and want to help succeed. I wanted it both ways.
In the end, I voted with the group that was unjustly targeted and isolated by HB2. I voted No because the fix, HB142, prevents local governments from protecting the LGBTQ people in their community; but I'll be very vocal in my support of Governor Roy Cooper and his courageous work on this issue.
H142 is not the bill I wanted; but the real fix for HB2 is for Democrats to regain the majority and restore a representative democracy to North Carolina. This shared goal makes it all the more important that we not let our split vote on this bill divide us in our support of Governor Cooper. We are fully capable of disagreeing on a policy and remaining united in our overall goal.
The positives for HB142:
• Removes restrictions on what bathroom people can use.
• Removes restrictions on localities enacting local minimum wage ordinances, family leave policies, child welfare protections or similar policies.
• Removes restrictions on localities ability to contract on terms that include protections for all communities, including LGBTQ people.
• Leaves in place pre HB2 local ordinances protecting LGBTQ rights
• Removes restrictions on a personís right to recover in state court when they are fired for their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, and religion.
• Begins the process of rebuilding North Carolinaís reputation.
• Opens the door for NCAA, ACC, NBA championship games and other sporting events.
• Puts North Carolina back on the list for many businesses and job creators who refuse to consider us because of HB 2.
You may be hearing that HB142 is a shadow HB2 - the same discrimination in different words. I disagree. HB142 doesnít include any of the restrictions listed above. There is now no law that requires a person to use the bathroom consistent with their birth certificate. And fortunately, Governor Cooper was able to prevent Republicans from including any Freedom of Religion statements in the bill.
The negatives for HB 142:
• Preempts local government regulations of access to restroom, showers or locker rooms except in accordance with a State law.
• Imposes a time-limited moratorium, until December 1, 2020, on any new local ordinance regulating private employment practices or public accommodations.
I opposed both of these provisions; but I was also unsure of exactly what they did, so I called faculty members at the UNC School of Government for clarification. I asked, "If local governments canít pass ordinances either protecting or restricting peopleís access to bathroom as Section 2 says, what can they do when the moratorium on local ordinances regulating public accommodations expires on December 20, 2020?"
The faculty members pointed to another State law that gives local governments the general power to pass ordinances protecting the health, safety and welfare of their community. They said the answer is not perfectly clear. It will depend on what kind of local ordinances are passed. They agreed that some cases may well end up in the court system. Interestingly that was exactly where we were before HB2 passed.
What we need is a bill that adds LGBTQ people in the statewide law that lists the protected classes. I am confident we have the best chance of getting to that point under the leadership of Governor of Roy Cooper.
How to Engage
Itís tough to keep track of what is happening. Here are some ways to stay involved.
1. Call me or my legislative assistant Gina Insko at 919-733-7208 or email her at Inskola@ncleg.net with How can I get involved in the subject line.
2. Follow us on Twitter at @verlainsko and Facebook at Verla Insko.
3. Visit ncleg.net where you can see bills, listen to session, and see daily calendars.
4. Help us spread the word on social media or by forwarding this newsletter and other alerts or key news items.
As always, thank you for your support of my work in Raleigh as your representative. Please let me know of your position on issues, your suggestions for legislation and your requests for help.