It took Gov. Cooper all of 5 minutes to mention HB2... ⋆ American Lens

It took Gov. Cooper all of 5 minutes to mention HB2…

Roy Cooper - HB2In the first State of the State since being elected governor, Roy Cooper addressed a packed house in the General Assembly. Mostly Republicans, since they have a sweeping majority in both chambers and Cooper doesn’t have enough votes to stop a veto override.

But, less than 5 minutes into the speech, Cooper brought up the dreaded bathroom bill – HB2. And, I can’t help but see the irony considering he used the phrase “common ground” 13 times in his address.

Here’s a few things about HB2 not often talked about in the NC mainstream media.

  • Pat McCrory got sucked into HB2. He had people around him telling him the economy was at stake;
  • The NC Chamber and a few Republicans screwed Pat.
  • HRC and Equality NC both benefit by keeping HB2 alive and well;
    Cooper and his people put the screws to NCGA Democrats to vote down the HB2 compromise repeal;
  • Who suffers? The middle class.

1. Pat McCrory never started it. He gets blamed for the bill, but it wasn’t his idea. Now that he’s out of office and the dust is beginning to settle maybe it’s time to set the record straight (or straighter).

Pat got sucked into a clause proposed by the Charlotte city council that gave “gender expression” a protected class status within the city. Legally, according to some experts, a male could argue he felt like a woman (on any given day) and walk into female public restrooms or even a gym shower or locker room if the city funded it. This would’ve created as some legal experts tell me would be tantamount to a dichotomy of reasoning– especially since a man entering a female restroom would normally be charged with second-degree trespassing. In other words “gender expression” could circumvent established North Carolina law.

McCrory never gave a damn where people pee. It’s that simple. But, he was talked into believing that one clause in the Charlotte ordinance would spell doom and gloom for the State’s economy. A notion propagated from meetings between the governor’s former Chief of Staff (and office), the North Carolina Senate’s Chief of Staff (and office), and the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce as well as a few lobbying groups to numerous to mention here.

2. Now comes the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the Republican leaders of the Senate and House.

For years, conservatives, with the help of the NC Chamber, have tried to stop municipalities from adjusting the local minimum wage. They also wanted to stop whistle blowers from going to the media, and they wanted to stop employees from suing for discrimination in state courts.

Republicans sponsored bill after bill to get these issues through committee, but they were always tabled by moderate Republicans and with the help of some Democrats who had yet to sellout.

HB2 opened the door-giving the business community, the NC Chamber, and some right-wing GOP an opening. They used a rumor (which was mostly true) that several cities were getting ready to pass living wage increase laws. Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Winston-Salem were a few of the cities mentioned in their argument.

But, here’s the kicker: when the governor convened the special session to address HB2, he had no idea about the other crap lobbyist and right-wing Republicans were contemplating adding to the bill. If you remember, about eight months ago. Pat McCrory spoke with a news reporter in a sit down interview and talked about the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s involvement in crafting the HB2 legislation.

3. Fundraising! Never let it be said that politicians and political organizations let a good fundraising opportunity pass them by. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have spent a lot of effort and time to fund raise off of HB2. Neither side wants it to go away completely. When Deborah Ross was running against Richard Burr for Senate, her team sent out at least 14 HB2 mailers, at least by my count.

She lost. And, Roy Cooper would have lost also had it not been for the 1-77 toll package that pissed off the western half of NC against McCrory.

Other organizations have also raised a good amount of money off of HB2– namely the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC.

4. But, HRC and Equality NC have gone the extra mile to lobby corporations and CEOs in getting them to sign on to anti-HB2 legislation. Because if the corporations don’t-both organizations will call for a boycott-and in this economy, where every customer dollar counts, it’s something CEOs don’t want to have to explain to their board of directors.

5. So, now we come to Cooper and my irony. During the last special session of the NCGA, the one called to repeal HB2 for the 3rd time, Cooper made it clear to the NC Democrats in the legislature he did NOT want them voting for that repeal. Did he personally make phone calls to stop it? I can’t get anyone to come out and say. But, his staff certainly did and they made it clear.

Had a repeal actually happened, Cooper would probably not be standing in the Legislature giving his first State of the State address and ironically calling for working toward solutions and “common ground.”

6. So, who suffers?  As the NC-NAACP calls for a statewide boycott of NC – who are the actual victims?

It’s the working class people of NC.  Not the politicians, not the lobbyists and not the CEOs of these multinational corporations who do business with the state.  It’s the hardworking middle class who ultimately suffer the consequences of bad political judgement, lack of transparency and backroom deals.   But, by all means, let’s find some common ground.

This article originally appeared at

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George Fisher

George Fisher is a freelance writer, and author, a political consultant and a former congressional campaign manager. Currently he is the 3rd Vice Chair of AAPI-NC. You can follow him on Facebook and his political musings at

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