Beleaguered by the still-mounting HB 2 backlash, Governor McCrory sought out some friendlier quarters, this time Fox News’s The Kelly File. As has become Republican practice, host Megyn Kelly didn’t talk about all the controversial things HB 2 did—eliminating workplace discrimination lawsuits, overriding living wage ordinances, etc.—instead choosing to focus on the only issue they think matters (and have not-terrible polling on): which bathroom transgender people decide to use.
Kelly pressed McCrory several times on the rhetoric surrounding HB2.
"What is the fear about the transgender situation in the bathrooms?" she asked.
"Mine is not a fear," McCrory responded. "I don't like the rhetoric that's often used on the right saying what the fear is. It's a basic expectation of privacy that I hear from moms, or dads or families that when their daughter or son goes into a facility, a restroom, they expect people of that gender, that biological sex to be the only other ones in that."
McCrory also used the occasion to accuse PayPal of "selective hypocrisy" for refusing to expand a headquarters location in North Carolina, even though they do business in other countries with harsh anti-LGBT laws.
"This is where I think the corporate elite have to be very careful about getting involved in politics. It's inconsistent outrage, it's selective outrage, and they might need to examine their own practices in other states that have the exact same rules that North Carolina does," McCrory said.
Nice word salad there, Pat. And, again, thirty-year Duke Energy executive Pat McCrory bemoaning the “corporate elite”—in other words, the dudes who made him governor—is … special. Watch the whole thing for yourself.
The NCAA Board of Governors has adopted an anti-discrimination requirement for sites that bid to host NCAA sporting or educational events, and the policy also has implications for sites already chosen.
An NCAA news release said that “the board’s decision follows the recent actions of legislatures in several states, which have passed laws allowing residents to refuse to provide services to some people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.” It did not mention House Bill 2 by name, but critics of the North Carolina law say it fosters discrimination against transgender people.
The best-known provision of HB2 mandates that people in public facilities use the restrooms and locker rooms that are intended for the gender on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.
The NCAA “considers the promotion of inclusiveness in race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity as a vital element to protecting the well-being of student-athletes,” the association’s release says.
The NCAA holds events in North Carolina most years. The Division II baseball championships are scheduled for the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary from May 28 through June 4, and also in 2017 and 2018. The Greensboro Coliseum will host first-weekend games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament next year, and Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte will do the same in 2018.
Sites bidding for NCAA events must now “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event,” the release said.
Except state law now prohibits our cities from doing that. Oh well.
State Senate Democrats’ proposal to repeal House Bill 2 appears to be dead just a day after it was filed.
On Wednesday, senators Terry Van Duyn of Asheville, Jeff Jackson of Charlotte and Mike Woodard of Durham filed Senate Bill 784, which would repeal the controversial LGBT law in its entirety. The bill is identical to one filed Monday by House Democrats.
Senate leaders assigned the bill to committees on Thursday. Because of a budget item included, its first stop is the Senate Appropriations Committee. But if it got approval from that panel, its second assigned stop is the Senate Ways and Means Committee – which is something of an inside joke in the Senate.
The three-member Ways and Means Committee hasn’t held a meeting in years. It’s widely known as the graveyard of the Senate – the place where Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca sends legislation that he wants to kill.
So it’s virtually certain that the repeal bill will never make it to the Senate floor for a full vote.
Glad to see our lawmakers taking civil rights so seriously.
Let’s move on to the rest of today’s news, of which there is plenty.
1. The Fourth Circuit grants a quick review of NC’s voter ID law.
Earlier this week, a federal judge—a George W. Bush appointee—issued a 485-page ruling upholding North Carolina’s voter restrictions; not just the voter ID part, but also the parts that limit early voting and the like. The ACLU immediately promised to appeal. This morning, we have news that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted an expedited review of the case, meaning it could render a decision ahead of the November elections. Of course, any such decision will go before the currently deadlocked Supreme Court, so who knows.
The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a quick review of the recent ruling on North Carolina’s election law overhaul.
In an order filed on Thursday, Clerk Patricia S. Connor stated that attorneys should have all their briefs submitted to the appellate court by June 14.
Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Irvine who has been following the case, said it was possible that under such a schedule a hearing could be held in July and a ruling issued before the November general elections.
But most expect any ruling to be challenged up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and what would happen there is unclear.
Patricia Timmons-Goodson, a former state Supreme Court justice and vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, was nominated by the president on Thursday to fill a vacancy on the federal court bench in Eastern North Carolina.
President Barack Obama, who is nearing the twilight of his second term, nominated Timmons-Goodson and seven others to serve as judges in federal district courts across the country. Almost immediately, Sen. Richard Burr said he opposed the nomination and would not submit it to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The U.S. Eastern District of North Carolina has the longest-running vacancy, a post that has gone unfilled since Jan. 1, 2006 – the day after federal District Court Judge Malcolm Jones Howard semi-retired.
Though it is unclear why the post has not been filled for more than a decade, many speculate that politics and race have played a role. The district, which spans across 44 counties from the capital to the coast, has never had a black judge seated in the Eastern District, though the population is 27 percent African-American.
In recent years, the NAACP and others have pushed for a black judge to be seated. But that process has been stalled in the U.S. Senate.
I mean, the seat’s only been vacant for a decade, what’s the hurry? This isn’t the first time Burr has stonewalled a black woman justice for that seat, either.
In 2013, Obama announced his plans to nominate Jennifer May-Parker, a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District who would have been the first black judge seated. Though submitting a blue slip would not have necessarily meant that Burr supported May-Parker, it would have pushed her name before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Burr has never explained why he did not submit May-Parker’s name for consideration.
The names of potential nominees typically are recommended by senators. Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, included May-Parker on a list forwarded to the president several years ago. She submitted a blue slip for May-Parker, but in recent years it has taken both senators to move a nomination forward.
By way of explanation, which isn’t much of an explanation at all, Burr blamed the White House for some sort of unnamed backstabbing:
Burr issued a news release late Thursday condemning Obama for what he described as “making a brazenly political nomination,” adding that he refused to support a new nomination in North Carolina from the president.
“Several years ago, when this seat first became vacant, I worked with former Senator Kay Hagan, other interested members of Congress, and the President to fill the vacancy in the Eastern District,” Burr said in his statement. “After the agreement had been made, the President declined to honor it. I remain disappointed that the President broke our agreement. I’m even more disappointed that the White House has chosen to double down by making a brazenly political nomination, and without consulting either of North Carolina’s Senators.”
Duke University officials announced Thursday that the school’s president, Richard Brodhead, will retire at the end of June 2017.
Brodhead, who’s been Duke’s president since 2004, announced his decision to university trustees and Duke’s Academic Council, before issuing a mass email to faculty, staff and alumni.
“With many critical initiatives nearing completion, it seems the right time for Duke to recruit a new leader to guide the next chapter of its progress,” he said.
The timing coincides with both with the end of his current contract and the scheduled completion of the Duke Forward fundraising campaign, which is supposed to raise $3.25 billion for the university by 2017.
Wake County school administrators are proposing a 25-cent increase in breakfast and lunch prices for the 2016-17 school year.
That means Wake County parents could pay $45 more per year for their children’s school breakfasts and the same additional amount for their lunches in what would be the school district’s first price increase since 2010. Multiple reasons are cited for the possible jump, including rising production and labor costs, fewer students buying food because of new federal nutritional standards and federal mandates over meal pricing.
Wake is subject to a federal “paid lunch equity” requirement to make sure that the price of paid meals is close to the amount that the district gets reimbursed for free and reduced-price meals.
“We’re a federally funded program,” said Brittanie Benge, director of operations for the Wake County school system’s child nutrition services program. “In order to receive our funds we have to adhere to regulations.”
Breakfast could rise to $1.25 in elementary schools and $1.50 in middle and high schools. Lunch could increase to $2.25 in elementary schools and $2.50 in middle and high schools.
There would be no change in the price for reduced-priced meals.
The chairman of the Human Relations Commission has been arrested and charged following an alleged domestic assault incident.
Phillip Seib, 45, of Durham, was arrested late Wednesday after an incident at his East Hammond Street home. He was taken into custody and charged with assault on a female. He was released from the Durham County jail on Thursday.
Seib is the chairman of the Human Relations Commission, which is comprised of Durham residents who are appointed by the City Council. Seib was elected by the commission to serve as its chairman.
Seib on Thursday said he did not want to comment but would be issuing a statement at a later time.