HB2

Photo: North Carolina's Old State Capitol building.
Soggy6 / Flickr

Lawmakers convened in Raleigh nearly a month ago for a short session to address the state's budget. But legislators have proposed measures on other items including bills on coal ash, light rail and sanctuary cities.

Also this week, Senator Fletcher Hartsell, a Republican from Concord, was indicted on charges of illegal campaign expenditures. The long-serving member in the Senate says he will not resign.

Civil War, HB2, Race, Bennett Place
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

When you look closely, what does the face of North Carolina look like?

 Some say North Carolina, one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, is facing an identity crisis. And the controversy surrounding House Bill 2, the new state law that limits transgender access to bathrooms, hasn’t helped the state’s changing identity.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has stirred up numerous conversations about the lives of transgender Americans. It has also illuminated many misconceptions about what gender identity is and how it is formed.

Groups of scientists have stood up in opposition to HB2, arguing that there are genetic and biological causes of gender differences, and for the vast majority of trans individuals, their gender identity is not a choice.

photo of the North Carolina Senate
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / Flickr

The North Carolina Senate reveals its version of the state's budget today.

Like the House plan, the Senate proposal raises teacher pay and other state employee salaries. And a Senate plan to change tuition structure at some state universities, including three historically black colleges and universities, is creating controversy. Plus calls for repeal of House Bill 2 continue with a rally of small business owners.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol reporter Jorge Valencia about the latest.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

High profile leaders from both sides of the political aisle try to move the state towards compromise on House Bill 2.

And at the capitol, lawmakers continue to negotiate details of the state budget. In particular, the two chambers do not have common ground on the amount and distribution of teacher pay.

And on the national stage, Trump says he officially has the delegates for the GOP nomination, and buzz continues about possible vice presidential selections.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

Jorge Valencia / WUNC

It’s hard to imagine an industry in North Carolina that hasn’t somehow been affected by House Bill 2.  Restaurants say they’ve lost business. Hotels have seen conference organizers cancel conventions to protest the law. And start-ups say some investors are steering clear of North Carolina. But much of the work of dealing with the unwanted attention has been left to small businesses that don’t want to be associated with the law.

RuPaul's Drag Race, HB2, Equality NC, Race
Courtesy of Salima Al-Ismaili

Big name entertainers have canceled several North Carolina concerts and shows because of their opposition to House Bill 2.  But not RuPaul’s Drag Race, which performed Sunday in Durham.

Lots of fans for RuPaul’s Drag Race at DPAC came to see their favorite queen—men dressed as flamboyant women, for entertainment.

Faith leaders voiced their support of House Bill 2. The clergy also denounces comparisons between Civil Rights struggles and LGBT equality efforts.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

A group of clergy convened in front of the State Capitol Building to stand in solidarity and support House Bill 2 on Tuesday morning.

The group of about 40 pastors - both black and white from across the state - spoke for more than an hour in the foreground of a George Washington statue.

photo of North Carolina State Capitol Building
Nathanial Johnson / Flickr

Last night, Charlotte City Council members declined to vote on a repeal of the nondiscrimination ordinance that prompted House Bill 2. The possible vote was part of a compromise deal with some state lawmakers.

Image of Eugene from the new opera Body Politic
Scott Bump

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has been making national headlines for the past two months and has inspired a wide range of social action. There have been both pro and anti-HB2 rallies on Jones street, businesses have left the state, and performers have canceled appearances in protest. The law inspired a different response in two UNC School of the Arts alumni who were inspired to bring their artistic work to the state.

One of the world's best-known and best-loved classical musicians has joined the ranks of artists refusing to perform in North Carolina. Violinist Itzhak Perlman canceled an appearance scheduled for Wednesday with the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh to protest HB2, the controversial North Carolina law limiting civil rights protections for LGBT people.

North Carolina's controversial law that limits civil rights protections for LGBTQ people has cost the state hundreds of jobs, potentially millions of dollars and widespread condemnation.

Amid the backlash, however, nearly half the people in North Carolina say they support parts of House Bill 2, the state's so-called bathroom law.

In the small rural town of Faith, for instance, residents say their point of view is getting lost in the noise.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On the fourth edition of the WUNCPolitics podcast: three distinctly different views on HB2. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, UNC President Margaret Spellings, and high school student Hunter Schafer. They have very different ideas - and have reacted in different ways - to the law passed by the General Assembly in March. 

A SolarBee
Medora Corporation

The Department of Environmental Quality has pulled the plug on SolarBees.

DEQ says it's removing the devices from Jordan Lake. SolarBees have been churning water at several spots on the lake in an attempt to reduce algae blooms, but a report from DEQ says there has been no improvement in water quality. 

The agency is reevaluating other measures that would limit runoff from the surrounding area, but developers are pushing back. 

NC House Democrats Seek to Expand State LGBT Protections

May 11, 2016
rainbow flag
Ted via Flickr/Creative Commons

Democrats in the North Carolina House have filed a bill to expand state protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status and familial status.

Greensboro Representative Chris Sgro is one of the sponsors of House Bill 1078, dubbed the “Equality for All Act”.  He called it the most comprehensive set of non-discrimination protections ever introduced in the General Assembly.

Hunter Schafer, 17, is a transgender student at the UNC School of the Arts.
Hunter Schafer / via Instagram

Hunter Schafer is one of several North Carolina residents challenging the state's controversial new discrimination law in federal court.

Photo: UNC Board of Governors Chair Louis Bisette and UNC President Margaret Spellings
Jorge Valencia

The leaders of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system say they are not violating federal anti-discrimination protections by following the state’s new bathroom access law, and are seeking legal representation in a lawsuit against federal authorities.

Gov Pat McCrory speaks to reporters about the state's HB2 lawsuit
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has sued the U.S. government and the Justice Department, asking federal courts to clarify a controversial new state law that limits transgender access to bathrooms.

The Justice Department in turn filed its own lawsuit against the state, saying the law restricting use of public restrooms by transgender people constitutes a pattern of discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

After North Carolina's governor filed a lawsuit asking federal courts to keep in place a controversial law that places limits on transgender access to bathrooms, the U.S. Justice Department responded with a lawsuit of its own.

In North Carolina, Musicians Face Off Against HB2

May 6, 2016

On a recent Monday night in Carrboro, N.C., local music venue Cat's Cradle is packed. The room has the makings of most clubs: a stage, a soundboard, a bar and a merch stand, but taped above the gender plaques on the bathroom doors are signs that read, in uppercase, rainbow-colored letters, "We are an inclusive venue. No proof required." Signs like these can be found by bathrooms or in storefronts of local businesses across the region.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The U.S. Department of Justice says North Carolina's House Bill 2 violates the Civil Rights Act. It's the latest in the fallout from HB2 and could threaten billions of dollars in federal education funds.

Meanwhile, two different polls find conflicting results in North Carolinians' support of the law. And Donald Trump is assured the Republican nomination for president.

Political analysts are speculating about who might be Trump's running mate, and whether the establishment wing of the GOP will stand behind Trump in November. 

Allen County Public Library via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Justice has notified Governor Pat McCrory that House Bill 2 violates Title IX of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, potentially jeopardizing millions in federal funding for public schools.

The department, in a letter signed Wednesday, gave state officials until Monday to respond confirming whether or not they will comply with their advisory. If the department’s opinion is upheld by the courts, North Carolina could lose federal school funding for violation of Title IX, which bars discrimination in education based on gender.

Greensboro skyline
creative commons

North Carolina's House Bill 2 eliminates local anti-discrimination ordinances for the LGBT community. One municipality that lost its protections is Greensboro.

The city council passed a measure last year that included sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as categories of protection in its fair housing and city services ordinance, but the new and controversial law known as HB2 preempts such measures, and does not include LGBT people in the statewide anti-discrimination policy. 

John King
U.S. Department of Education / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Secretary of Education John King spoke out against North Carolina's controversial new law limiting bathroom access in public schools.

At a conference for education writers in Boston, King called the law known as HB 2 and a similar law in Mississippi "hateful," and said lawmakers should repeal it.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast we look at the political will and strategizing surrounding HB2. Will voters get a chance to vote on an HB2 referendum this fall? And a conversation about how North Carolina’s “hybrid” General Assembly – made up of part-time lawmakers - compares to other states, and how that drives who serves as legislators and what kinds of issues they are most likely to take up.

NC General Assembly
Jorge Valencia

A powerful Senate Republican floated the idea of letting voters decide the fate of House Bill 2, while lawmakers began the protracted budget debate in Raleigh on Wednesday.

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

A federal district court judge upheld North Carolina's voter identification measures in a 485 page decision issued yesterday.

sembly building as the House and Senate adjourned.
Jess Clark

It was a bustling first day back at the General Assembly with multiple protests, a national media presence, and legislative efforts to reverse a controversial measure that was passed last month during a special session.

Lawmakers from across the state convened in Raleigh Monday for the start of the short legislative session. Policymakers are tasked primarily with reworking the budget during odd-year sessions, however, with the spotlight on the state's new so called "bathroom bill" the fiscal agenda is not the top story on Jones St.

HB2, House Bill 2, Chambers of Commerce
New Media Campaigns

The state legislature begins its short session today. Regardless of the official calendar, the issue on many people’s minds is North Carolina’s new law limiting discrimination protections.  Local business groups are calling for its repeal.

Pixabay / Public Domain

The politics of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 continue to make national headlines, as religious communities weigh in on the law's effects. Supporters of HB2 say it is a necessary measure to keep people safe in bathrooms. Opponents say the measure discriminatory and not in line with their faith.

 

Pages