Some of us showed up at Pack Square for the protest of HB2, the nasty little piece of legislation that the NC legislature passed and the governor approved on March 23 in a special session convened just for this purpose.
The new law has three parts and all of them are designed to put the local governments of North Carolina in their place. The law very specifically asserts that the state has a duty to make it as easy as possible to conduct commerce in North Carolina and having state-wide laws, with no local exceptions, is the way to do it. Consequently, the law addressed three specific areas where, apparently, local governments have run amok.
- Some local governments have chosen to create laws that codify what ought to be a normal practice–folks should be able to use the restroom for the gender with which they identify. The state disagrees and requires that people use the restroom that corresponds to the gender declared on their birth certificate.
- Some local governments have chosen to pay their own workers a living wage or provide certain benefits to them and have then required contractors who perform work for that government to also pay a living wage or provide certain benefits to THEIR employees. The state disagrees with this practice and in a section of the law newly entitled “Local governments preempted,” makes it clear that local governments must be preempted from such practices to keep the state safe (equal access perhaps?) for business transactions.
- In the third section, the State declares that they are protecting rights in employment and public accommodations by legislating “It is the public policy of this State to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all* persons to seek, obtain and hold employment without discrimination or abridgement on account of race, religion, color, national origin, age, biological sex or handicap by employers which regularly employ 15 or more employees. *Not quite “all persons” since there seem to be no protections for the LGBQT community at all.
Anyway, seems that this law is definitely worth protesting–in writing, in groups, in person-to-person contacts. Showing up is important. Do it every time you can!