North Carolina Students Against HB2: Repeal by February 28

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The NCAA has stated that if HB2 is not repealed by late February, North Carolina will forfeit its eligibility to host championship events for the next six years.

 Announcing its plans to issue site selections for the 2018-19 through 2021-22 championship seasons in April, the NCAA made clear that North Carolina will not be considered an eligible host-site candidate so long as HB2 is in effect.  The economic impact of a six-year drought of NCAA championships in North Carolina is an estimated $250 million--not factoring in the likely eventuality that the ACC would follow suit in adhering to the precedent set by the nation’s collegiate athletics governing body in the same manner, withdrawing all conference championships from the state (as they did earlier this year).  

 For some background: On March 23, 2016, North Carolina legislators passed House Bill 2, more commonly referred to as HB2 or “the bathroom bill,” stripping members of the LGBTQ community of legal protection against discrimination and making it illegal for transgender people to use public restrooms that don’t match the sex listed on their birth certificates.  The legislation goes even further to explicitly prohibit municipalities from creating their own anti-discrimination policies, instead enacting a statewide anti-discrimination policy that conspicuously omits legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.  The bill also prohibits local governments from raising minimum wages above the state level.  

 Immediately after its passage, HB2 was met with serious corporate backlash that has devastated North Carolina’s economy.  According to the Williams Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles, HB2 will cost the state roughly $5 billion in lost federal funding, not to mention thousands of jobs and millions more in tax revenue. Over 160 corporate executives signed a letter from the Human Rights Campaign calling for the repeal of the law, including Chief Executives of 30 of North Carolina’s top 300 employers.  In response to HB2’s passage, PayPal withdrew its plans for a Charlotte call center that would have created 400 jobs, and Deutsche Bank halted its $9 million technology center expansion plan, which would have created an additional 250 jobs.  Six states have banned state-funded travel to North Carolina, and the state’s tourism bureaus reported millions of dollars in losses from cancellations by high-profile organizations, events, and celebrities like the NBA All-Star Weekend, 2016-2017 NCAA and ACC Championship games, and a Bruce Springsteen concert.  

 Perhaps you recognize House Bill 2 as state-sanctioned discrimination that tacitly authorizes injustice against certain minority groups based on sexual orientation and gender, or perhaps you don't.  The fact of the matter is, as this legislation stands, those with the ability to do serious good for North Carolina’s economy, its communities, and its people, feel unsafe and unsatisfied enough to withdraw their support from our state.  The fact of the matter is that this legislation has not been successful at accomplishing its goals, and far too successful at alienating families, workers, employers, investors, and visitors across the state and across the country.  This issue is no longer a political one—it is a practical one.  It is time to repeal House Bill 2.

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