Morning, y’all. Hope you got some sun yesterday.
1. Deadline for compliance with the Civil Rights Act passes.
You might remember that last week, the Justice Department found HB 2 to be in violation of the Civil Rights Act, and set a Monday deadline for Governor Pat McCrory to indicate that the state won’t implement HB 2.
McCrory, of course, is trying to weasel his way out of the deadline, and went on Fox News on Sunday (just how much airtime does this guy need?) to make his case, saying that “the nation has to realize this is no longer a North Carolina issue.” (Oh yeah, as much as it takes for him to get donations rolling in for his re-election campaign.)
Gov. Pat McCrory said Sunday he has asked federal officials for an extension of their Monday deadline to declare that North Carolina will not comply with its newly enacted law restricting anti-discrimination protections.
McCrory said the U.S. Department of Justice declined his request unless he was willing to admit that House Bill 2 was discriminatory.
As a result, he said, his office is still considering how to respond. But he said: “I’m not going to publicly announce that something discriminates.”
At one point McCrory says, “We can definitely define the race of people. It’s very hard to define trangender.” Yes, “trangender.”
It’s unclear what McCrory and the General Assembly will do, if anything; McCrory says he’s “looking at all options.” The deadline passes tomorrow.
In other news, the Charlotte Observer FOIA’d the emails and texts of Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts and Charlotte city staffers, and found that Roberts texted McCrory the day of the special session urging him not to sign the bill.
“Please do not sign this awful bill,” she wrote. “Ask your attorney, we could lose Title IX funding for the university system and others. I have been hearing from concerned business leaders all day about the new bill. Poorly conceived and written. There is no provision for any enforcement for race, religion, etc. It will be legal for restaurants to hang a sign saying ‘no gays allowed’ out front. Is this the N.C. we want?”
She also texted McCrory in April after PayPal’s announcement that they were pulling a planned expansion in Charlotte.
Wanted to let you know PayPal just announced they are pulling their relocation. 400 jobs. We have got to stop the losses. As Mayor to former Mayor I am asking your help. You have the power to help, I don’t.
How can someone who used to run a city have so much disdain for it?
2. A deal on HB 2? Not so fast.
The Charlotte Observer reports that Roberts has met with Phil Berger and Tim Moore have to discuss a “deal” on HB 2.
Under one proposal, the City Council would rescind its LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance as a good faith gesture. In exchange, the state would make changes to HB2.
Ultimately, they did not agree to anything except to keep talking, according to sources on both sides. And the two sides remain far apart.
Charlotte leaders have apparently floated stiffer penalties for sexual assaults that occur in bathrooms, which would be nice if HB 2 was actually bout protecting girls and women from sexual assault. As the Observer notes, “Such penalties could allow the legislature to say they are protecting all residents, even in businesses that allow people born as male to use women’s restrooms.”
Of course, HB 2 wasn’t about any of that, so that idea will likely fall on deaf ears.
3. What are you doing, Janet Cowell?
On Friday, the International Business Times’ David Sirota reported that State Treasurer Janet Cowell had taken spots on two corporate boards, even as she has over half a year left as treasurer.
Cowell’s appointments to the boards of insurance conglomerate James River Group Holdings and e-commerce firm ChannelAdvisor are no doubt a boost to the companies’ profiles. As the lone elected official in charge of the state’s massive retirement system, Cowell is often listed alongside foreign government officials as among the world’s most influential players in a global financial sector whose profits are increasingly fueled by pension investments. North Carolina’s pension fund has been one of many across the country paying ever-bigger fees to Wall Street firms — including millions to a firm that owns a piece of one of the companies Cowell will now help lead.
“If it doesn’t look good, if it requires explanation, it’s probably something that good judgment would argue against doing, and this certainly seems to require some explanation,” said Drexel University law professor Norman Stein, who specializes in pension issues. “She’s sitting on the board of a company that does financial services and has relationships with companies, and there may be future entanglements you can’t even see right now. If I were somebody who had elected her to a position of state treasurer, to be ultimately responsible for my pension, my question would be, why is she doing this?”
“Treasurer Cowell proactively and voluntarily signed documentation recusing herself from all decisions related to either company,” Cowell’s spokesperson said, “even if recusal for those matters may not be required by state law.”
Raleigh will be in the mid-80s and cloudy all week, but we’re looking at thunderstorms Wednesday through Friday. Should be beautiful on Saturday though.
That’s it. Have a good week.