Saturday News: HB2 "Light" bill loses a D

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AS HB2 REPEAL CO-SPONSOR ABANDONS BILL, BACKERS, OPPONENTS TRADE JABS (WRAL-TV) -- Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, said that he had hoped to help reshape the effort to repeal HB2. However, he said, GOP House leaders have indicated they're not flexible on certain points. What initially appeared to be a compromise, in fact, isn’t. The referendum in question would allow a voter-initiated process to override local governments that decide to extend discrimination protections to LGBT people, a point that many advocates find unacceptable. While he wouldn't say which colleagues gave him those assurances, Moore said that he has since been told of comments from House Speaker Tim Moore that parts of the bill, including the referendum provision, were non-negotiable.
http://www.wral.com/as-hb2-repeal-co-sponsor-abandons-bill-backers-opponents-trade-jabs/16549780/

UNDERSTANDING TRANSGENDER ACCESS LAWS (New York Times) -- The highly charged debate over transgender rights has resulted in a tangle of contradictory laws governing access to public bathrooms and locker rooms across the country. Many states permit transgender people to choose bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity, considering it a civil rights issue. But in a handful of states and cities, legislators are moving in the opposite direction. Here are some milestones in the national debate.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/us/transgender-bathroom-law.html

COOPER ASKS COURT TO PROTECT CABINET FROM LEGISLATIVE SUBPOENAS (WRAL-TV) -- Gov. Roy Cooper has asked a court to effectively kill a legislative subpoena for Veterans and Military Affairs Sec. Larry Hall to appear at a confirmation hearing. This is part of an ongoing batter over whether lawmakers can have a say on the governor's cabinet picks. "The Senate continues to go against the wishes of the court and ignore its previous order, so we’re asking the court to step in and halt this unprecedented event," said Cooper spokeswoman Noelle Talley. In his court filing, Cooper asks the judges to say that Hall doesn't need to testify during a March 2 confirmation hearing and won't need to respond to the legislative summons unless the court ultimately finds the confirmation law is constitutional.
http://www.wral.com/cooper-asks-court-to-protect-cabinet-from-legislative-subpoenas-/16549942/

REPORT: DUKE LIED ABOUT WATER MIGRATION (Gaston Gazette) -- At Thursday’s Belmont City Council meeting, Amy Brown discussed a new report obtained by the Southern Environmental Law Center that says updated studies prepared by Duke’s own consultants and obtained from UNC Charlotte confirm that groundwater from the leaking, unlined coal ash basins at Allen is migrating off-site and reaching nearby drinking water wells. Brown says the information in the report contradicts previous assertions from Duke that the water did not flow into people’s wells. State law directed Duke perform the water flow testing beginning in 2014 and present its findings to the Department of Environmental Quality.
http://www.gastongazette.com/news/20170224/report-duke-gave-flawed-analysis-of-water-migration

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HB186 aka HB2.0

HB186 would allow local referendums on fundamental LGBT rights & protections. It would be all the stress and pain of amendment 1 over and over again in municipalities across the state.

HB186 would codify into law that it is specifically legal for charities and religious organizations to discriminate against LGBT people.

HB186 strengthens protections for pregnant women and veterans, which is a good thing, but purposefully excludes LGBT people from those protections. And it keeps the General Assembly in charge of whether trans people are allowed to safely and freely use public restrooms. So it's hard to consider HB186 a repeal of HB2. It would only be piling on and be yet another bill that we'd have to work to repeal.

I've seen Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign holding press conferences against it, and seen sponsored ads from the LGBT Democratic Caucus on social media opposing HB186.

How on earth did any Democrat believe the Republicans selling this to them as a repeal? And why is WRAL calling it a "compromise bill" when it just makes things worse for LGBT folks?

Ken Goodman

This is exactly why I've been ranting (and sometimes raving) about the damage allowing a group like the Main Street Dems run amok. If they stuck to just business stuff, I wouldn't give two shits. But HB2 is not a business bill, it's a social bill. It's about keeping LGBT citizens a sub-class, with fewer rights and protections. And this joke of a compromise is, in many ways, worse than the original.

HB186 & being a good ally this week

I was reading an article on the advancement of gay rights and the challenges still faced by gay men. One paragraph really stood out to me as it relates to HB186 and this idea of local referendums on our rights and all the hate and venom that goes along with them.

One of the most striking studies I found described the spike in anxiety and depression among gay men in 2004 and 2005, the years when 14 states passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. Gay men in those states showed a 37 percent increase in mood disorders, a 42 percent increase in alcoholism and a 248 percent increase in generalized anxiety disorder.

I don't know how to make that data on the damage this does to our health a part of the conversation about HB186 in any meaningful way, but I wish it could be. I especially wish any Democrat considering supporting it had to see that. If you have any ideas on how to make that happen, please share! Or better yet, execute said ideas.

That article has been circulating a lot in the community recently. And I think it has some other valuable insights on the health issues caused by being a part of a minority group, which often means facing oppression, but also not being able to openly share that burden with friends and family the way some facing oppression can. It talks about the higher rates of PSTD symptoms too that result from oppression in general and anti-gay laws specifically.

One big question of the article is, why with the advancement of gay rights specially in the last decade or so, why isn't everything perfect yet? But I think the trauma experience probably takes longer to go away than that, if it ever fully does.

Another thing circulating in the community right now is ABC's historical miniseries When We Rise. It's airing this week on ABC, and you can catch up with Hulu or ABC's websites. It's only 4 episodes and it has been really good so far. If you think of yourself as an ally, then watch this. Here's a preview:

Lastly, the National Pride March, modeled off the Women's March is happening this June during Pride month. You might mark yourself as interested in that event on facebook to get the updates and watch the conversations there, even if you're not committing to going.

So that's my 3 step program to being a good ally to me this week. Read that article. Watch that 4 episode miniseries. Mark yourself as interested in the National Pride March and look at the discussions there. And have some conversations about these things with friends or family.