Federal funding at risk thanks to HB2

The consequences of institutional bigotry are piling up:

The ongoing reviews at the Education, Transportation, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services departments are not yet complete, and it is unclear how much federal money might be involved. But the Obama administration’s decision to scrutinize what White House press secretary Josh Earnest described as “both policy and legal questions that are raised by the passage of this law” suggests that the measure signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last month could have major implications for his state.

The Transportation Department sends roughly $1 billion to North Carolina a year, while the Education Department provides more than four times that amount.

McCrory and GOP leaders in the General Assembly have nobody to blame but themselves, for these and other economic losses associated with this horrible new law. But instead of taking both responsibility and steps to ameliorate the situation, their obstinance and political posturing will only make it worse:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Where Hulu treads, Netflix is sure to follow:

Cue the right-wingers to make some derogatory comment about the quality of streaming television vs old broadcast networks. And here's another biggie:

Tuesday News: Delaying the inevitable edition

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EMBATTLED NCGOP CHAIRMAN WANTS TO POSTPONE MEETING WHERE HE MIGHT BE OUSTED (Raleigh News & Observer) -- NC Republican Party Chairman Hasan Harnett said Monday that he doesn’t want the party’s leadership committee to meet this month amid efforts to remove him from his position.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article69...

Bought and paid for: Rob Bryan's support for school takeovers

When evidence doesn't sway, follow the money:

Despite Tennessee’s results, Representative Rob Bryan says he still finds the idea of an ASD appealing. He says it's a way to attract more charter schools to the state’s low-income communities.

"I would like to create an environment where they [charter management organizations] are interested in coming to North Carolina, whether it’s through an ASD or partnering," Bryan said in an interview after the meeting. "But I think if you don’t get them in here and get them started you won’t have an opportunity to see what they’re able to do."

If you peruse Rep. Bryan's 2015 4th Quarter campaign report, you'll find some very interesting things. Like a check for $7,100 from Oregon's John Bryan (part of which Rob Bryan had to refund because it was over the max), a major player in charter schools NC PolicyWatch exposed five years ago:

HB2's "Severability" clause a shield for discriminating employers

Flying under the legal radar:

Eric Doggett, a Raleigh attorney and chair of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice’s employment law section, said that he doubts that many legislators fully understood the import of the changes, and would not have included it in the law if they had. He said he hoped that the Legislature might reconsider the matter.

A coalition of civil rights organizations has already announced that it will challenge the more prominent aspects of HB2 on constitutional grounds, and Attorney General Roy Cooper has said that he will decline to defend the law in court. The changes to the EEPA are not part of that lawsuit, however, and lawmakers specified in the law that those changes will remain law even if other parts of the law are struck down. Some attorneys expressed concern that the law’s ostensible core might prove short-lived while the employment law provisions survive.

Bolding mine. Many Legislators may not have been aware of the ramifications of HB2, but it's a good bet the ones who crafted the bill were aware. Which is why they included the severability clause. And while I've seen a few GOP apologists say it can be fixed by changing the wording a little bit, I'll believe it when I see it actually happening. But instead of waiting for that unlikely event, *somebody* needs to file a lawsuit specifically targeting that aspect of HB2. If it was an "unintended" consequence of poor bill-drafting (which I seriously doubt), the NCGA will be motivated to fix it to get out from under said lawsuit. But if they did intend to make it much harder for victims of workplace discrimination to get civil justice, they need to be forced to explain that to a judge and jury.

Displacing the poor: Durham's market-driven revitalization

Gentrification, by any other name:

Kielhurn says these stories of dilapidated, unsafe, unsanitary rentals are fairly common. And the poor condition of some of the housing stock in poorer neighborhoods is what allows her, and other buyers, to grab up properties for such low prices. She’s bought many of her properties for under $50,000 and spends the bulk of her funds on renovations. When she rents them out again, she charges what she feels is a fair price for all the work she’s put in, and for the fact that she’ll be more attentive than previous landlords. So prices escalate to $800, $900, or $1,200 a month.

For muni and metro governments, who are already struggling with budget concerns, the idea of allowing the private sector a free hand in revitalization is an alluring one. Costs to the taxpayers are minimized, and the increase in property values ensures a nice tax bonus a few years down the road. But it's also irresponsible, because it exposes a portion of the citizenry to economic hardship that can (and does) result in homelessness and despair. Creating an affordable housing program (that works) is a complicated and costly venture, but it is a critical responsibility that must be pursued:

Monday News: Take out the Trask edition

STUDENTS OCCUPY DUKE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING (Inside Higher Ed) -- Nine students on Friday occupied the portion of an administration building that houses the offices of the president and other senior administrators. The students (and supporters who have gathered outside the building) have demanded the dismissals of several Duke administrators, including Tallman Trask, Duke’s executive vice president, who a parking attendant has charged hit her with his car and used a racial slur before a 2014 football game. Trask has apologized for hitting the parking attendant, which he says was accident, but denied using a racial slur.
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2016/04/04/students-occupy-duke-administration-building

Workplace discrimination lawsuits much harder under HB2

More expensive and less likely to be resolved:

“For almost 30 years, North Carolinians who have been fired because of their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability have been able to bring claims in state courts under the common law theory of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy,” Noble said.

“By eliminating employees’ rights to pursue legitimate discrimination claims in N.C. courts, we unnecessarily force our citizens to the federal government and invite excessive federal intrusion into issues that are better handled at the state level,” Noble said.

In tort reform circles, this is a huge deal. North Carolina has joined a very exclusive club blocking discrimination from state courts, one with only Mississippi as a fellow club member. And for those seeking redress from unfair treatment, the journey just got a lot more difficult:

Sunday News: The day the musicals died

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BROADWAY COMPOSER DENIES NC COMPANIES RIGHT TO PRODUCE SHOWS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The reaction against North Carolina’s law rolling back LGBT protections continues to spread beyond the business world, where corporations have called for its repeal. Now Broadway’s musical world is flexing its muscle. This email by Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz began circulating Friday, according to the online theater publication BroadwayWorld.com:
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article69...

Saturday News: You know you're wrong when...

HATE GROUP OFFERS TO DEFEND N.C. (Southern Poverty Law Center) -- An anti-trans "bathroom bill" passed in North Carolina is churning up something of a national outcry. And now it seems the anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel, which defended Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, is ready to step into the mix and defend the state.
https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/04/01/midst-backlash-surrounding-north-carolinas-anti-lgbt-...

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