Government

Protests expected as legislative short session begins

April 25, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Sit-ins and rallies by groups both for and against House Bill 2 are expected as the N.C. General Assembly begins its short session on Monday. Chris Sgro, an openly gay Greensboro resident and executive director of gay-rights group Equality NC, was sworn in Sunday to finish out the term of Rep. Ralph Johnson, who died last month. President Obama weighed in on the controversy on Friday, calling for the law to be overturned, and an interfaith group organized by about 40 liberal clergy gathered Sunday evening in Charlotte, also calling for the law to be repealed. Gov. Pat McCrory will be more interested in promoting his budget proposal, which includes teacher raises and infrastructure improvements.

Can North Carolina reverse its declining appeal to decision-makers?

April 22, 2016

Two weeks ago, BNC wrote about how House Bill 2 would surely damage North Carolina's brand. Unfortunately, in this prediction, we got it right. With lawmakers appearing unlikely to repeal HB2, next week's General Assembly session promises to be an international spectacle.

Trump, Cruz divided on HB2 issue

April 22, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Donald Trump blasted North Carolina for getting involved in deciding which bathrooms people should use, though it wasn't clear whether his criticism was for Charlotte's city ordinance that started the controversy or for the state law overturning it. Ted Cruz fired back, saying Trump "has succumbed to the Left's agenda."

Jeter plans to keep fighting I-77 toll lanes

April 21, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

N.C. Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Huntersville) said he plans to introduce a bill next week to cancel a contract with a Spanish company that is building toll lanes on Interstate 77 north of downtown Charlotte. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger responded by saying he doesn't see the need for it. The General Assembly begins its short session on Monday.

Poll: Cooper's lead over McCrory is growing

April 20, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

State Attorney General Roy Cooper has a 48% to 42% lead over Gov. Pat McCrory in the race for governor, according to the latest Elon University Poll. The candidates had been neck-and-neck in previous surveys. Gov. McCrory's approval rating dropped to 37%, the lowest since first polled two years ago.

Hunt: Recession is over, invest more in education

April 20, 2016

(The Daily Reflector)

Former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt says a child's earliest years are "the most important years" and, speaking in Greenville on Tuesday, he reiterated the importance of early childhood education and having the best teachers. Hunt launched Smart Start in 1993 to help families with preschoolers secure resources for early childhood education programs. Hunt says now that the economy is improving, it's time to raise teacher pay. "Raise it strongly," he says.

More HB2 fallout; Pearl Jam cancels show, calls law 'despicable'

April 19, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Top administrators at Duke University, including President Richard Brodhead, and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce issued statements Monday opposing House Bill 2; Boston and Pearl Jam are the latest performers to cancel concerts in North Carolina over HB2. Pearl Jam said it plans to donate to local groups fighting the new law. The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau said event cancellations have quadrupled since HB2 was passed.

McCrory: More dialogue needed on HB2; NBA keeps All-Star game in CLT — for now

April 18, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Gov. Pat McCrory discussed House Bill 2 on Sunday's episode of NBC's Meet the Press, where he said Charlotte's ordinance to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice amounted to "government overreach." Host Chuck Todd said NBC estimates the law has already cost North Carolina between $39.7 million and $186 million. The NBA said on Friday the league has no immediate plans to move the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, though Commissioner Adam Silver called the law "problematic."

NC universities look at 100-year debt option

April 15, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. State University and UNC Chapel Hill want to borrow up to $500 million each using a century bond to pay for a backlog of repair and maintenance projects. The current debt limit is 30 years.

CLT hotel adds 'any gender' bathroom, NBA talks HB2

April 15, 2016

The Westin, downtown Charlotte's largest hotel is adding an "any gender" bathroom and on Thursday hung an "Always Welcome" banner to let patrons know it is LGBT-friendly. The NBA is expected to address the topic of HB2 at a briefing during its board of governors meeting on Friday. The league, which plans to hold its 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte, has said it is "deeply concerned" over the new law. Rockers Mumford & Sons, which played in Charlotte on Thursday, didn't boycott the state but will donate profits from their concert to a local LGBT group. And 170 North Carolina-based startups signed a petition calling for the bill's repeal. The companies say out-of-state investors are delaying and canceling investments in N.C. companies over the controversial law.