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North Carolina’s reputation and economy suffers after McCrory signed HB2 into law

Governor McCrory signed HB2, as a result, many major US corporations, including Apple, Google, Twitter, American Airlines have publically condemned this decision. The backlash from the business and sports communities has been overwhelming and swift. Here are the facts:

  • IBM, a large North Carolina employer with a $3.4B economic impact annually, criticized the law.
  • The High Point Furniture Market, which has a $5B economic impact, warned that it was seeing blowback and that HB2 “could hurt attendance” at North Carolina’s largest trade event.
  • Wells Fargo, another major employer in North Carolina, signed a statement saying that HB2 “set a dangerous precedent.”
  • The NBA released a statement saying, “We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles” and that they “do not yet know” the impact on the 2017 All-Star Game currently scheduled to be held in North Carolina.
  • The NCAA is scheduled to host tournament games in North Carolina in 2017, but their president has said that HB2 could make the NCAA refrain from doing business in North Carolina.
  • Braeburn Pharmaceuticals is now “reevaluating” whether to build a $20M manufacturing plant in North Carolina. The proposed investment was going to create 50 new jobs with an average pay of nearly $76,000 a year.
  • The Academic Preservation Trust announced that it was moving its annual meeting from North Carolina to Maryland in reaction to HB2.

In addition to the business backlash, North Carolina’s reputation has suffered due to the negative attention given to HB2 in national and statewide press. Here are some of the lowlights:

  • The New York Times editorial board said that HB2 makes North Carolina a “pioneer in bigotry.”
  • NY Times Editorial Board said the claims by HB2 supporters of transgender women as potential rapists “exists only in the imagination of bigots.”
  • The Washington Post said, “facts and human decency seem to hold no sway with state lawmakers.”
  • A News and Observer headline said, “Bill raises uncertainty over recourse for discriminatory firing in NC.”
  • The New York Times reported that HB2 “strips veterans of anti-discrimination protections.”

McCrory threatened “immediate state legislative intervention” before Charlotte passed their local ordinance, and signed the bill after a “hastily convened, one-day special session”. McCrory signed HB2 within 12 hours of the bill becoming public, without considering the far-reaching impact on our state’s economy. McCrory and the General Assembly should repeal HB2.

Background 

Charlotte Observer Headline: “N.C. Gov Pat McCrory signs into law bill restricting LGBT protections.” “The impetus of the special session was a provision in Charlotte’s expanded nondiscrimination ordinance that would allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender with which they identify. Critics said it was “social engineering” to allow people born as biological males into women’s restrooms. They said legislation was needed to correct Charlotte’s “overreach” and to protect the safety of women and children. The bill prohibits any such bathroom flexibility. But it also will keep Charlotte and any other municipality from adding new protections for gays, lesbians or transgender individuals.” (Charlotte Observer3/23/16)

American Airlines, Wells Fargo, other major business opposed bill McCrory signed to invalidate Charlotte’s legal protections for LGBT individuals.  “American Airlines, Wells Fargo and other major businesses across the state and nation are taking a stand against a bill signed into law Wednesday by N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory that invalidates Charlotte’s new legal protections for LGBT individuals.  The NCAA, which has men’s basketball tournament games scheduled in North Carolina in 2017 and 2018, also said it’s monitoring the situation.” (Charlotte Observer, 3/24/16)

Apple: “We were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation.”“Apple’s statement to Observer reporter Katie Peralta reads: ‘Apple Stores and our company are open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love . . . Our future as Americans should be focused on inclusion and prosperity, and not discrimination and division. We were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation.’  If Apple’s statement is particularly strong, there’s good reason: Apple  APPL 0.00%  CEO Tim Cook is almost certainly the most powerful openly gay man in America, if not the world.” (Fortune, 3/26/16)

Twitter released statement opposing discriminatory bills “in NC and elsewhere,” and said such bills are “unjust and bad for business.”  “Twitter opposes state bills that enshrine #discrimination, in NC and elsewhere.  These bills are unjust and bad for business.” (Twitter, 3/25/16)

Google tweeted that NC law was “misguided & wrong.”  “A tweet from Google  GOOG -0.37%  described the law as ‘misguided & wrong,’ while a Facebook  FB 0.45%  spokesman said the company was ‘disappointed.’ PayPal  PYPL -3.95%  tweeted that it is ‘proud to champion LGBTQ equality in N. Carolina and around the world.’” (Fortune, 3/26/16)

IBM “criticized” McCrory’s decision to overturn local ordinance.  “IBM has criticized a decision by North Carolina’s governor to overturn a local ordinance that would have let transgender people use public bathrooms that match their gender identities. […] It is unclear whether IBM  IBM 1.75%  will do anything beyond criticizing the law. But the company’s strongly-worded stand does come just weeks after Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff  CRM 0.92%  threatened to pull his company’s upcoming Connections conference from nearby Georgia if that state’s governor fails to veto a “religious liberty” bill that is viewed by some as discriminatory against gay people.” (Fortune, 3/24/16)

IBM emphasized that the company has spent more than $300 million on research and development in NC and its total economic impact of $3.4 billion annually.  “IBM, which has a large presence in the Raleigh-Durham-Research Triangle Park area, emphasized on Thursday that it has spent more than $300 million on research and development in the state over the past five years and that its total economic impact is $3.4 billion annually. ‘IBM and its employees have also contributed more than $15 million to boost non profits in the state,’ a spokesman said via email.” (Fortune, 3/24/16)

High Point Furniture Market Authority “warned that it was seeing blowback” from H2 with customers cancelling plans to attend the April Market due to the bill’s passage.  “And on Monday, the High Point Furniture Market Authority, which organizes the massive semi-annual furniture trade show, warned that it was seeing blowback from the bill.  ‘Dozens of customers have contacted the High Point Market Authority to inform us that they have canceled plans to attend the Market in April due to passage of HB2. There are also several campaigns on social media calling for a boycott of the High Point Market this spring,’ the authority said in a statement.” (WRAL, 3/28/16)

High Point Market Authority said “dozens” were already cancelling plans to attend the April Market, and social media campaigns have called for boycotting the event.  “The spring market begins April 16. The trade show, which draws 75,000 to 80,000 people each spring and fall, is the largest single economic event in the state each year. A Duke University study found it has a more than $5 billion impact on the state.  ‘In the last few days, dozens of customers have contacted the High Point Market Authority to inform us that they have cancelled plans to attend the Market in April due to passage of HB2. There are also several campaigns on social media calling for a boycott of the High Point Market this spring,” according to the Market Authority statement.” (High Point Enterprise, 3/28/16) 

H2 “could hurt attendance at the city and state’s largest event, the spring High Point Market.”  “The dispute over last week’s passage of a bill to limit transgender and gay rights in North Carolina could hurt attendance at the city and state’s largest event, the spring High Point Market next month.  The High Point Market Authority, which oversees the world’s largest home furnishings trade show, issued a statement this afternoon to The High Point Enterprise expressing the ripple effect of the bill’s passage on the furniture market.” (High Point Enterprise, 3/28/16)

High Point trade show draws 75,000 to 80,000 people each spring and fall, is “the largest single economic event” in NC each year, and has $5 billion impact on the state.  “The spring market begins April 16. The trade show, which draws 75,000 to 80,000 people each spring and fall, is the largest single economic event in the state each year. A Duke University study found it has a more than $5 billion impact on the state.  ‘In the last few days, dozens of customers have contacted the High Point Market Authority to inform us that they have cancelled plans to attend the Market in April due to passage of HB2. There are also several campaigns on social media calling for a boycott of the High Point Market this spring,” according to the Market Authority statement.” (High Point Enterprise, 3/28/16)

Wells Fargo signed statement that said H2 “set a dangerous precedent that stifles investment and economic growth… undermining the success of a business at large.”  “Wells Fargo, Replacements Ltd., Apple, Microsoft and others all signed on to a statement in opposition to the North Carolina law and similar legislation in other states.  ‘Equality in the workplace is a business priority to foster talent and innovation, and these state laws undermine this core value,’ the statement said. ‘These state laws set a dangerous precedent that stifles investment and economic growth by jeopardizing a state’s status as a welcoming place for employees to live and thrive, undermining the success of a business at large. It is unreasonable for job creators to recruit a diverse workforce from states that encourage businesses to discriminate against our community of employees or consumers.’” (WRAL, 3/24/16)

NBA “warned last week that it could revisit” decision to hold 2017 all-star game in Charlotte due to the new law.  “The NBA, which is scheduled to hold its all-star game in Charlotte next year, warned last week that it could revisit that decision, saying the ‘law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect.’” (WRAL, 3/28/16)

NBA: “We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality” and “do not yet know” impact on 2017 All-Star game in NC.  “The NBA on Thursday expressed concern about North Carolina House Bill 2, which essentially bans local municipalities from enacting non-discriminatory ordinances designed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. ‘The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events,’ the league said in a statement. ‘We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.’  The North Carolina Assembly passed the bill on Wednesday, and Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill into law.” (USA Today, 3/24/16)

NCAA said it would monitor current events “in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named to host future sites.”  “In a statement, the NCAA, the governing body for college athletics, said it will monitor ‘current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites.’  Future NCAA events scheduled in North Carolina include first- and second-round games in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament in Greensboro in 2017 and in Charlotte in 2018.  ‘Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values,’ the NCAA said. ‘It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.’” (Charlotte Observer, 3/24/16)

NCAA has scheduled men’s basketball tournaments in NC in 2017 and 2018. “American Airlines, Wells Fargo and other major businesses across the state and nation are taking a stand against a bill signed into law Wednesday by N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory that invalidates Charlotte’s new legal protections for LGBT individuals.  The NCAA, which has men’s basketball tournament games scheduled in North Carolina in 2017 and 2018, also said it’s monitoring the situation.” (Charlotte Observer, 3/24/16)

Braeburn Pharmaceuticals “reevaluating” whether to build $20 mil manufacturing facility in Durham due to “unjust legislation.”  “Some companies are already reconsidering doing business in the country’s ninth-largest state.  New Jersey-based Braeburn Pharmaceuticals said it is “reevaluating our options based on the recent, unjust legislation” whether to build a $20 million manufacturing and research facility in Durham County. The 50 new jobs paying an average of nearly $76,000 a year were announced two weeks ago.” (AP, 4/1/16)

Academic Preservation Trust announces that it is moving its annual meeting from North Carolina to Maryland in response to HB2. “Many academic groups join in criticizing state or local laws that encourage discrimination of various types. But moving meetings out of those states is frequently complicated and opposed by many association leaders, because hotel and other contracts are signed years in advance and such switches can leave scholarly groups facing large bills. The Academic Preservation Trust is a small organization, much smaller than the large disciplinary groups that have faced calls to boycott certain cities for events. But the trust has announced it is moving a meeting that will take place this month — April 18-19 — from North Carolina to Maryland. Not only is it staying out of the state, but the trust has offered to provide financial assistance to any of the roughly 50 people expected to attend if they must pay change fees on flights. Thus far, people aren’t asking for that help and are just changing their travel plans.” (Inside Higher Ed, 4/1/16)

HEADLINE: “Transgender Law Makes North Carolina Pioneer in Bigotry” (NY Times, Editorial, 3/25/16)

NY Times Editorial Board said threat of transgender women as potential rapists “exists only in the imagination of bigots.”  “Proponents of so-called bathroom bills, which have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, have peddled them by spuriously portraying transgender women as potential rapists.  That threat exists only in the imagination of bigots. Supporters of the measures have been unable to point to a single case that justifies the need to legislate where people should be allowed to use the toilet. North Carolina is the first state to pass such a provision.” (NY Times, Editorial, 3/25/16)

Washington Post Editorial Board: “facts and human decency seem to hold no sway with the state’s lawmakers.”  “Since facts and human decency seem to hold no sway with the state’s lawmakers, we can only hope that threatened boycotts of North Carolina by companies and others appalled by last week’s events open some eyes to the need to repeal this hateful law. Other states that are considering following suit — including Georgia, where a bill legalizing LGBT discrimination has been sent to the governor — should realize that bigotry is not only wrong but bad for business.” (Washington Post, Editorial, 3/26/16)

HEADLINE: “Bill raises uncertainty over recourse for discriminatory firing in NC.” “A provision in the North Carolina legislature’s bill that would keep local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances has raised an unexpected concern – that it would eliminate a legal recourse for private sector employees who claim their firing was discriminatory. North Carolina law allows employees to be fired for any reason, so long as the reason is not against the law or public policy. That isn’t part of a statute but has been part of common law for nearly four decades. One sentence in the bill passed Wednesday says that no one could file a civil action based on the public policy outlined in the legislation.” (News & Observer3/23/16)

H2 “strips veterans of anti-discrimination protections.”  “Critics of the law, which also prohibits local governments from setting minimum wages above the state level and strips veterans of anti-discrimination protections, vowed to fight back in the court of public opinion as well as investigate legal remedies. On Twitter, Mr. McCrory’s Democratic opponent in the governor’s race, Attorney General Roy Cooper, posted a video and joined numerous critics who voiced their anger under the hashtag #WeAreNotThis.” (NY Times, 3/24/16)

McCrory threatened “immediate state legislative intervention” if Charlotte passed bathroom ordinance changes for transgender residents. “Gov. Pat McCrory warned two Charlotte City Council members Sunday that if the city approves new legal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people on Monday, the vote would ‘most likely cause immediate state legislative intervention.’ McCrory is concerned about a provision in the proposed expanded ordinance that would allow transgender residents to use either a men’s or a women’s bathroom. That part of the ordinance has also caused a furor in Charlotte and led to the ordinance being defeated 6-5 last year.” (Charlotte Observer2/22/16)

In “hastily convened, one-day special session” McCrory signed bill within 12 hours of it being published.  “The North Carolina General Assembly yesterday passed legislation that locks out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens from anti-discrimination laws in employment and public accommodations. In a hastily convened, one-day special session of the legislature, House Bill 2 went from publication to ratification to being signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory in 12 hours.” (Forbes, 3/24/16)