The ongoing HB2 controversy in North Carolina has finally been semi-addressed and improved. A group of CEOs from some of North Carolina’s biggest companies have taken stance against the controversial legislation.
“It’s somewhat of a tradition, or heritage, in our state that business leaders engage on important matters of state,” stated CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Brad Wilson. “I think this is just another example of an opportunity for that to have happened.”
These executives were not representing anyone in particular, but felt strongly towards the adversities of the legislation.
“As one who cares deeply about North Carolina,” Wilson said, “I was glad to receive the call from Dale Jenkins, and he and I explored what could be done.”
Wilson emphasized that unity and compromise would be key to passing successful legislation to please both sides.
“I think that we could use more conversations and processes where people of goodwill can come together, and work hard and not quit until a hard issue is solved – and that’s what occurred here,” Wilson said.
Meetings with Governor Roy Cooper and Senator Phil Berger were organized to try and scrutinize what could be improved. They continued to communicate with North Carolina legislatures to tackle the ongoing issues of HB2.
“I do a lot of mediations, and I think they served more as an honest broker or neutral arbitrator,” said House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson.
Jackson’s remark resulted from the CEO’s somewhat impartial demeanor during meetings. A driving factor behind the urgency to repeal HB2 was the upcoming deadline for North Carolina to qualify for the NCAA tournament location.
A few days prior to the March 30 deadline, Republicans attempted to pass a legislative order to permit lawsuits for people who feel the effects of discrimination. Democrats adamantly refused this proposed legislation.
“The business community would not support it,” stated Representative Chuck McGrady.
Real-estate developer Ned Curran, elaborated on his deal-making tactics.
“We would push them a little bit to try a little harder,” Curran said. “We shared with them that we, if needed, would be trying to push them in some uncomfortable places…the subject matter was too important, and it’s not surprising that there would be some rough patches.”
Governor Roy Cooper declared in a press statement that the involvement of businessmen was what induced a compromise on HB2.
“The involvement of business leaders was one of many factors that led to a compromise that could get Democratic and Republican votes,” said Cooper.
However, the new repeal still received backlash from people such as Chris Sgro, a leader of an LGBTQ+ advocacy group in NC.
“I think that when you negotiate civil rights with a group of business leaders, and intentionally leave out civil rights leaders, that’s a huge red flag,” said Sgro.
Policy analyst Mitch Kokai, stated that he was a little unsure of the business leader’s interference in state politics.
“While I suspect that a large group within the General Assembly agrees that these sports organizations had no business interfering in state public policy, I also suspect that a majority of lawmakers have no strong desire to resuscitate this debate.”