CLT Sports, Business Leaders Push for HB2 Compromise

RALEIGH, NC — Wednesday is the deadline for cities bidding to host NCAA tournament games for the next six years.

The league says it will pull Charlotte and the rest of North Carolina from the review process if lawmakers don’t repeal House Bill Two by Wednesday, and that’s not happening.

“The past 12 months have not been fun for those of us engaged in the sports industry,” said Charlotte Sports Foundation Executive Director Will Webb.

Webb and Charlotte business leaders went to Raleigh Tuesday to urge lawmakers to repeal House Bill Two.

“In the last three months, we’ve seen about $140 million go outside our state,” said Webb.

Webb says he’s encouraged by House Bill 186, a bipartisan bill that could replace HB2.

It gives cities back the right to pass non-discrimination ordinances. If lawmakers challenge the ordinance, voters could decide.

“We have a problem in North Carolina, and we need a solution,” said Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan.

Morgan says the chamber is not endorsing any specific bill but says it’s time for a deal.

“For us in Mecklenburg County, from an economic development perspective, we can count 2,500 jobs that have been lost to other states as a result specifically of HB2,” said Morgan.

I contacted all 17 state lawmakers representing Mecklenburg County to see if they support HB186.

12 responded.

Here’s who said they do not support HB 186 in its present form:
(D) Rep. Kelly Alexander
(D) Rep. John Autry
(D) Rep. Chaz Beasley
(D) Rep. Mary Belk
(D) Rep. Carla Cunningham
(D) Sen. Jeff Jackson
(D) Sen. Joyce Waddell

Three said they would approve it:
(R) Rep. John Bradford, III
(R) Rep. Andy Dulin
(R) Rep. Scott Stone

Two more said maybe, they support compromise:
(D) Sen. Joel Ford
(R) Sen. Jeff Tarte

Many lawmakers say their concern is the public vote.

A concern that Charlotte’s Mayor shares. Jennifer Roberts tweeted: “…it puts civil rights up for a vote.”

The NCAA reiterated Tuesday that House Bill Two is discriminatory, too risky for the league to hold games in Charlotte.

“Over 10,000 people are employed on game day at the stadium and the local hospitality venues. Many of those are from the LGBT community,” said Webb.

House Speaker Tim Moore supports HB 186.

He has not allowed a repeal vote for HB2.

Out of the 12 lawmakers who responded to WCCB Charlotte before this publication, nine said they would vote to repeal HB2:
(D) Rep. Kelly Alexander
(D) Rep. John Autry
(D) Rep. Chaz Beasley
(D) Rep. Mary Belk
(D) Rep. Carla Cunningham
(D) Sen. Jeff Jackson
(D) Sen. Joyce Waddell
(D) Sen. Joel Ford
(R) Sen. Jeff Tarte

Two lawmakers said no to a repeal:
(R) Rep. John Bradford, III
(R) Rep. Scott Stone
(R) Rep. Andy Dulin did not have a clear answer.