"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, July 03, 2016

North Carolina: The "Fix" Is In

And what a fix it is. You may recall that no one (except Tony Perkins and the "Christian for Pay" crowd) likes North Carolina's HB2, known variously as the "bathroom bill" and "Hate Bill 2." Well, the NBA has threatened to move the 2017 All Star Game out of the state, so the legislature "fixed" it:

The legislature approved limited changes to House Bill 2 late Friday night, restoring residents’ right to bring claims of discrimination in state courts.

Gov. Pat McCrory had been seeking the action for months. HB2, best known for requiring transgender people in government facilities to use bathrooms matching the gender on their birth certificates, also blocked a path that North Carolinians had to file state-court discrimination claims.

Though lawmakers’ action Friday restores that path, it comes with a statute of limitations shorter than before — one year instead of three years.

That's all they "fixed" -- nothing about bathroom access, or the ability of local governments to pass LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances, or raise the minimum wage, or anything else that the legislature took away from the people of North Carolina.

And this is choice:

“As we said from the beginning, there was never an intent to limit the right of anybody to seek redress in state court,” House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters.

Then, Speaker Moore, why put in a provision limiting the right of everyone to seek redress in state courts?

This is the first "fix" they came up with:

Draft legislation circulating this week included a proposal to offer “gender reassignment certificates” that would allow transgender people who haven’t changed the gender on their birth certificate to prove they’ve had gender reassignment surgery – and can therefore use the bathroom they prefer.

Malice compounded by ignorance: only about a third of trans folk have surgery; the rest either can't afford it or don't want to take that step (not to mention those who may be mid-transition). And this smacks too much of our rapidly approaching police state: May I see your papers, please?

And it was a complete non-starter with the NBA:

The vote came a day after the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets said they do not support “the version of the bill” that was circulating earlier in the week.

The league reiterated its commitment to its “guiding principles of inclusion, mutual respect and equal protections for all,” and that “constructive engagement with all sides is the right path forward.”

“There has been no new decision made regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game,” the statement read.

Moore's response is what one might expect:

Moore responded to the NBA’s comments on Friday. “I certainly hope that the NBA will keep the All-Star Game here,” he said. “The process I don’t think lends itself to (passing) legislation perhaps that they might want to see. I hope that they – and frankly every business that had concerns about discrimination arguments – see fixing this issue with access to state courts as fixing that.”

And of course, they've fixed nothing.

I find it instructive that the NC legislature took no notice of all the businesses -- including major corporations -- that bailed on expansion plans or plans to open new facilities and the like, but when the NBA barked, they noticed. Now it just remains to be seen whether the NBA will follow through, because this "fix" is a joke -- it addresses nothing.

I wish I had enough confidence in the voters of North Carolina to think that they'll boot these assholes out of office in November, but I doubt it: their strength is in the back hills, places like Marion and Sevier and Boone. If the resort areas on the coast and in the mountains start losing business, it might have an effect, but I doubt it.

Oh, and because the state attorney general (a Democrat) has refused to defend the law, the governor has asked the legislature to set aside half a million from the disaster relief fund to hire outside counsel. That's generating the kind of reactions you might expect, from outrage to ridicule ("Even the Governor knows it's a disaster.")

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