The drive-bys cannot cannot cannot stop talking about the potty. The N&O’s website was overrun with copy about the passage of HB2 and all of the Hollywood actors and Broadway producers upset about it. (One article had some Broadway type comparing our state to apartheid-era South Africa.) The Charlotte Observer hit us with a ridiculous headline : “Abracadabra! Protections disappear” and even more ludicrous copy:
Magicians, brain scientists and N.C. legislators understand a fundamental truth about humans: We can only focus on one thing at a time. We may think we’re paying attention, but really we’re easily distracted.
It’s how a magician makes a coin reappear out of your ear. And it’s how N.C. legislators, nearly unnoticed, made workplace discrimination protections that had stood for 31 years vanish.[…]
Seriously? HERE is what the bill actually says:
Whereas, the North Carolina Constitution directs the General Assembly to provide for 6 the organization and government of all cities and counties and to give cities and counties such powers and duties as the General Assembly deems advisable in Section 1 of Article VII of the North Carolina Constitution;
and Whereas, the North Carolina Constitution reflects the importance of statewide laws related to commerce by prohibiting the General Assembly from enacting local acts regulating labor, trade, mining, or manufacturing in Section of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution; and Whereas, the General Assembly finds that laws and obligations consistent statewide for all businesses, organizations, and employers doing business in the State will improve intrastate commerce;
and Whereas, the General Assembly finds that laws and obligations consistent statewide for all businesses, organizations, and employers doing business in the State benefit the businesses, organizations, and employers seeking to do business in the State and attracts new businesses, organizations, and employers to the State;
Okay. Summing all that up: The bill ensures that everybody from Murphy to Manteo plays by the same rules and that the General Statutes supercede any potential silliness dreamed up by various and sundry city council goofballs. Incredibly freakin’ reasonable.
Here’s another important piece of the legislation:
(b) The public policy of this State is declared as follows: The wage levels of employees, hours of labor, payment of earned wages, and the well-being of minors are subjects of concern requiring legislation to promote the general welfare of the people of the State without jeopardizing the competitive position of North Carolina business and industry.
The General Assembly declares that the general welfare of the State requires the enactment of this law under the police power of the State. (c) The provisions of this Article supersede and preempt any ordinance, regulation, resolution, or policy adopted or imposed by a unit of local government or other political subdivision of the State that regulates or imposes any requirement upon an employer pertaining to compensation of employees, such as the wage levels of employees, hours of labor, payment of earned wages, benefits, leave, or well-being of minors in the workforce. This subsection shall not apply to any of the following: (1) A local government regulating, compensating, or controlling its own employees. (2) Economic development incentives awarded under Chapter 143B of the General Statutes. (3) Economic development incentives awarded under Article 1 of Chapter 158 of the General Statutes. (4) A requirement of federal community development block grants. (5) Programs established under G.S. 153A-376 or G.S. 160A-456.”
Again, we have a call for ONE STANDARD FOR ALL. City councils going rogue and doing their own thing because they don’t like who is in charge in Raleigh is not acceptable. The way our constitution is set up leaves state government and the general statutes as the last word on what government at all levels does. Don’t like what government is doing? Get your folks elected to the General Assembly and lawfully make changes to the General Statutes and The Constitution.
The Observer goes nuts over some alleged trickery by legislators, who craftily inserted other stuff that nothing to do with potties. First, the media and the talking heads that feed the media put all the focus on bathrooms. The bill has been on the General Assembly website since the day of the debate. Anyone could go look at it. It’s pretty short and surprisingly — given the fact lawyers wrote it — easy to understand.
The state constitution has not changed. The General Statutes have not changed. The bill lays out procedures for taking discrimination issues for mediation before the Human Relations Commission. This ought to be some relief to our crowded court system. But the ambulance-chasing crowd will not be enjoying this new reality.
Here’s some of that language on the books that HB2 says is still the controlling authority in North Carolina:
Interference with Civil Rights.
(a) It is a violation of this Chapter if:
(1) Two or more persons, motivated by race, religion, ethnicity, or gender, but whether or not acting under color of law, conspire to interfere with the exercise or enjoyment by any other person or persons of a right secured by the Constitutions of the United States or North Carolina, or of a right secured by a law of the United States or North Carolina that enforces, interprets, or impacts on a constitutional right; and
(2) One or more persons engaged in such a conspiracy use force, repeated harassment, violence, physical harm to persons or property, or direct or indirect threats of physical harm to persons or property to commit an act in furtherance of the object of the conspiracy; and
(3) The commission of an act described in subdivision (2) interferes, or is an attempt to interfere, with the exercise or enjoyment of a right, described in subdivision (1), of another person.
(b) Any person whose exercise or enjoyment of a right described in subdivision (a)(1) has been interfered with, or against whom an attempt has been made to interfere with the exercise or enjoyment of such a right, by a violation of this Chapter may bring a civil action. The court may restrain and enjoin such future acts, and may award compensatory and punitive damages to the plaintiff. The court may award court costs and attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party. However, a prevailing defendant may be awarded reasonable attorneys’ fees only upon a showing that the case is frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation.
(b1) The North Carolina Human Relations Commission may bring a civil action on behalf, and with the consent, of any person subjected to a violation of this Chapter. In any such action, the court may restrain and enjoin such future acts, and may award compensatory damages and punitive damages to the person on whose behalf the action was brought. Court costs may be awarded to the Commission or the defendant, whichever prevails. Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 114-2, the Commission shall be represented by the Commission’s staff attorney.
(c) No civil action may be brought or maintained, and no liability may be imposed, under this Chapter against a governmental unit, a government official with respect to actions taken within the scope of his official governmental duties, or an employer or his agent with respect to actions taken concerning his employees within the scope of the employment relationship. (1987, c. 718; 1991, c. 433, ss. 1, 2.)
Not exactly Hitlerian Germany or Jim Crow Mississippi, huh?
According to The New York Times, in the 2010 census, 89,667 Americans had changed their names and 21,833 had also changed their sex. Sixteen million people believe Elvis is still alive. Pizza delivery guy Sean Haugh got over 109,000 votes for US Senate in 2014.
Roughly 20,000 adults in the United States confess to a fetish for wearing diapers and behaving like an infant. Do we allow 40 year olds in diapers on those changing tables in public restrooms? Do we drop age restrictions on nursery school and day care? What if these folks want to get in on the whole public breastfeeding thing? They THINK they are babies. Where does this stop? Where does the line get drawn?