Black lawmakers blast HB 2 repeal failureBy Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Contributor / December 29, 2016
Some are calling it “the failure heard around the world,” and as rhetorical as that seems, the N.C. General Assembly’s inability to follow-through on an apparent deal to repeal the infamous House Bill 2 “bathroom” law during a pre-Christmas Special Session has reverberated well beyond North Carolina’s borders.
“Failure to repeal ‘bathroom bill’ ensures North Carolina politics will remain deeply divided in 2017,” bellowed the headline in The Los Angeles Times. “North Carolina lawmakers fail to repeal HB 2 “bathroom bill” reported ABC News. The New York Times called the legislative debacle “a culture war,” seemingly between rural and city state lawmakers, not to mention Democrats and Republicans.
The N.C. NAACP announced that it will formally ask its national board for permission to call for a statewide boycott of North Carolina in the New Year.
Better known as “HB2 – the bathroom bill” since its passage last March, Republicans in the GOP-led state House and Senate mutinied against their leadership when they convened Dec. 21, many refusing to repeal the measure which, among other things, prohibited transgender people from using public bathroom facilities contrary to the sex indicated on their birth certificate.Democrat Gov.-elect Roy Cooper was livid after Republican leaders not only blamed him and Democratic lawmakers for the failure, but also appeared to use the Charlotte City Council’s belated repeal of their original city ordinance protecting LGBT rights as an excuse.
Black Democrat state lawmakers joined Cooper in their denouncements.
“North Carolina House and Senate Republicans are unbelievable,” said outgoing House Minority Leader Rep. Larry Hall [D-Durham]. “Their behavior is shameful. In the nine months since Republicans passed HB2, our state has lost millions of dollars and thousands of jobs due to this discriminatory legislation.”
“Working families, the unemployed, small businesses, sports and entertainment—N.C. got “scrooged” again by the NCGOP’s failure to repeal HB2,” Rep. Hall concluded.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Democrat Rodney Moore likened the GOP HB2 repeal failure to the classic con artist movie, “The Sting.”“The GOP majority in the House and Senate played the House and Senate Democrats and the Charlotte City Council like a master grafter,” Moore said. “After convincing the Charlotte City Council to totally repeal its non discrimination ordinance, then they do the old soft shoe for the better part of the day and we adjourn the Special Session that was called for the extreme circumstance of repealing the most damaging piece of legislation of the year, with no repeal or any substantive action taken – masterful.”
Triad Democrat Rep. Cecil Brockman [D-Greensboro] said, “I am extremely disappointed by the failure of General Assembly Republicans to follow through on their end of the deal to fully repeal HB 2. This harmful and discriminatory law has been a disaster for North Carolina, damaging both our economy and reputation on the national stage. Instead of showing that North Carolina is open for business, Republicans decided to play games and wasted our time and taxpayers’ money.”
Brockman continued, “I will continue to speak out against H.B. 2 and push for statewide non-discrimination protection for the LGBT community. We have North Carolinians who are marginalized and vulnerable; it is well past time that we act to help those most in need.”
State Rep. Evelyn Terry [D-Forsyth] insisted that Gov.-elect Cooper and Democrat lawmakers have to stand strong together against the kind of heavy handed governance that Republican leaders have all but promised in the new year.
“We just have to rally our forces …and we have to work within our own communities to restore the faith in democracy, as well as our responsibility as citizens to participate fully,” Rep. Terry said. “In this atmosphere, we can’t do anything but strengthen our own forces.”