Last week state lawmakers passed HB142, an HB2 compromise bill which leaves in place key aspects of the original law, including preventing municipalities from enacting local non-discrimination protections until 2020. This so-called compromise legislation is just as discriminatory as HB 2, and lawmakers need to repeal this in full to promote an inclusive business environment in North Carolina.
As one of the owners of Ponysaurus Brewing here in Durham, I can attest that H 2 has been bad for business. Craft brewing is a tourist-reliant industry, and like many other small businesses, I have noticed the state’s drop in tourism since H 2’s passage. It’s important for my business that people travel from out-of-state to try my beer so that we can gain a national reputation, but I know that HB 2 has deterred visitors from coming to North Carolina. I’m worried this new law is just as discriminatory as the old one and doesn’t go far enough to show our state can be welcome to everyone.
In addition to hurting North Carolina’s business climate, this law continues to allow for discrimination against our friends and neighbors in the LGBTQ community, and most importantly to me as a former educator, it fails to protect students who often endure discrimination in their schools on a daily basis. Our lawmakers must commit to completely overturning HB2 so we can focus on meeting the needs of all residents of our state.