HB2: We. Are. Not. This.

First, please let me apologize for taking so long to blog about this. I’ve tried to wrap my head around this whole HB2 thing. People have been flying off the handle about this. Some with facts and some with fiction. Trying to decipher which is which has been a bitch.

There are so many thoughts running through my head. First off, if you don’t know me, I am an unaffiliated female who believes in equality for all.  So, with that being said, I am sure you know how I feel about HB2. So instead of explaining it piece by piece (my brain would explode), let’s look at the effects it has had on our state so far.

Just when things start rolling again, our legislators and governor had go and throw away not only $42,000 for an emergency session but also more job creation here in North Carolina.

As an ambassador to the City of Wilmington,  it is become very difficult to welcome visitors here when folks are asking if it’s safe to be here. Seriously, lemme quote the last conversation I got about visiting North Carolina.

KATE: In light of the recent news story about NC, my wife and I will be visiting. We’re lesbian couple, will we have an issue with discrimination? Just Wondering

ME: No! There will not be any issues. Our legislators in North Carolina do NOT reflect the citizens who live here.

KATE: Thank you! That’s what I thought, but ya know I still has to check for peace of mind.

To those of us who live here, it seems like a ridiculous question because we live here and WE KNOW how welcoming this city is, but thanks to those who “represent us” we look like a bunch of haters and backward individuals.

So how is HB2 working out for us so far?

Let’s see, PayPal, Dow Chemical, the NBA, BioGen, American Airlines, Citi, Lowe’s, Wells Fargo, Apple, the NCAA, Google (just to name a few) are VERY disappointed in our leadership’s decision.

This week, large corporations like Bank of America, Cisco, Miramax and Uber signed onto a letter protesting the new law and demanding its repeal. Small businesses are also taking HB2 to task. [SOURCE]

Just today more than 15 large companies ie Reddit, eBay, Starbucks…joined the fight against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law. [SOURCE]

HB2 is also creating uncertainty with companies as well.

Leaders from across the country have banned non-essential travel to North Carolina. San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, West Palm Beach, and New York, with more pending.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order banning all non-essential state travel to North Carolina. The order requires all New York State agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of North Carolina, and bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety. [SOURCE]

As far as film is concerned in our state, we have a little backlash, but what we don’t know is how is will affect our future.

The Hulu/Lionsgate production Crushed had one casting call the day before the emergency session took place. Rumor has it, based on a couple of crew members who were hired for the production…HB2 was the reason they packed their bags. I cannot confirm that however.

My sources in Western NC have told me that Dirty Dancing ONLY stayed because they were already too vested with locations and talent timelines and had made a commitment to film there. Otherwise they would have hit the road as well. Again, however, I cannot confirm it.

As you probably have seen Producer/Director Rob Reiner stated immediately after HB2 passed, he will never bring a production to North Carolina as long as this bill is in place. He encouraged his peers in the film industry to do the same. [SOURCE]

Meanwhile not all in the General Assembly are backing the bill. Senator Jeff Jackson has taken to social media.

And our favorite red head Rep. Susi Hamilton is just as upset about the outcome of HB2.

And this…good Lord:  “The people of North Carolina want to talk about roads and economic development and jobs and that’s where I’m going to focus my attention, not on ridiculous restroom and locker room policies that some people are trying to force onto the private sector,” McCrory said. [SOURCE]

I can’t help but think of a school yard taunt: “Quit talking about yourself!” Hate to tell you this, McCrory, but the people of North Carolina are just getting started.  The Gov’na certainly made his bed, but he doesn’t want to lie in it any longer…

And it is also apparent, McCrory has no idea what’s in the bill they passed in a 12 hour period.

NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is running against McCrory, is asking all those who are ashamed of HB2 to sign a petition on ShameonMcCrory.com

Every hour, there are more companies, cities and states standing up against HB2.

In conclusion, I cannot stress to those who don’t live here that we in North Carolina want you to know our legislators DO NOT reflect who we are as citizens of North Carolina. We are welcoming. We are warm.  We. Are. Not. This.

Thanks for giving us all the headlines leaders of North Carolina…

12,000 NC JOBS: YOUR CALL TO ACTION.

This is statewide! Go gather up all the film supporters and job advocates in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and everywhere in between.  Please SHARE this with everyone!

The Senate still has not confirmed whether or not they will be in a full session to discuss some serious matters at hand.  Have these 50 members  forgotten why they ran for the opportunity to represent us?  Meanwhile, while they continue to gavel in and gavel out with nothing on their calendar, over 25,000 people who live in North Carolina, are struggling with a decision to leave the state, layoff workers, file for unemployment, look for new ways to supplement their income or look for other employment which is already extremely difficult.  These are the folks that are affected by the film industry and others who work for companies that are depending on money that is waiting to be voted on.

The Senate MUST come together with the House and finish what they started.

Sen. Bill Rabon stood on that stage in Wilmington during the 2014 NC Film Rally and pledged his devotion and loyalty to the NC Film Industry. More than a 1,000 of us witnessed it.  We appreciate the safety net that he has given us, however, we all know it’s not a sustainable solution.  Let me remind you that I have not posted a new production that is coming to NC in quite a while. We should have had at least one but more like 3 announcements by this time.

On the outskirts of the budget that has already been signed, waiting patiently inside S763, is Ted Davis’ Amendment, a lower Tier 1, one year extension of the film incentives. We all know we cannot do business with the Grant.

Without the Senate taking session, here’s what else is on the line.

  • Two proposed manufacturing plants and their 1,400 jobs that the Commerce Department is seeking will not come.
  • The EPA will close the plant in Canton laying off 1,200 workers.
  • The elimination of a major recruitment tool, JDIG.  This will effectively take NC out of the job recruitment business for one year. If past performance is a guide, this will cost 6,000 jobs just in the recruits the Secretary is engaged with now.

8,600 jobs. Add film in the equation and you get a total of 12,000 that are at stake.

It is up to us, North Carolina, to ask our Senate leaders to go back to session and do what they promised to do when they got elected. Put People BEFORE Politics. Create and sustain jobs.

Please contact your Senators NOW!

Be nice!  Be Polite!  Do NOT give them any reason to say film supporters are crazy lunatics! And please use your own words.  Here’s the gist of it:

“Please, get your team back into session. Jobs are on the line. The job creation legislation already approved by the House and Governor McCrory. We need 763, and my job will rely on Ted Davis’ amendment to extend the film incentives.”

Wilmington Area: 

Bill Rabon is the co-chair of the finance committee. He has a seat at the big table, and he has the power to sway the Senate leadership to get back into session.

Bill Rabon.

BILL RABON
Phone: (919) 733-5963
Email: Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net

Asheville area:

Tom Apodaca. You guys have more than film on the line for you.  Including 1,200 jobs at risk in Canton, NC alone.

TOM APODACA
(919) 733-5745
Email: Tom.Apodaca@ncleg.net

 

Charlotte area: 

JOEL FORD
(919) 733-5955
Email: Joel.Ford@ncleg.net

JEFF JACKSON
(919) 715-8331
Email: Jeff.Jackson@ncleg.net

BOB RUCHO
(919) 733-5655
Email: Bob.Rucho@ncleg.net

FLETCHER HARTSELL
(919) 733-7223
Email: Fletcher.Hartsell@ncleg.net

JEFF TART
(919) 715-3050
Email: Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net

 

Raleigh area:
NEAL HUNT
(919) 733-5850
Email: Neal.Hunt@ncleg.net

JOSH STEIN
(919) 715-6400
Email: Josh.Stein@ncleg.net

DAN BLUE
(919) 733-5752
Email: Dan.Blue@ncleg.net

 

Greensboro  area: 

GLADYS ROBINSON
(919) 715-3042
Email: Gladys.Robinson@ncleg.net

 

Winston-Salem area:
JOYCE KRAWIEC
(919) 733-7850
Email: Joyce.Krawiec@ncleg.net

 

All of North Carolina: 

PHIL BERGER
(919) 733-5708
Email: Phil.Berger@ncleg.net

Remind them why they ran for the opportunity to represent us. They speak for us.

All of North Carolina:

CONTACT YOUR NORTH CAROLINA SENATOR NOW!

NC Politics 101: PART I – The General Assembly

Politics.  Government.  The most confusing conversation to have if you don’t have a Political Science degree.  And even then, I have heard from those in politics that have said in regards to this short session, “In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

When I blogged last week, I still received numerous calls and messages exclaiming, “I don’t understand.” and “I’m so confused!”  Yeah, no kidding.  So perhaps I can help with adding a little state government 101 to the blog.  Okay, here we go.  Let’s start with the basics.

We are dealing with two teams in the legislative branch:  The House and the Senate.  Now who are they, what are their differences, and what does each do?

Plain and simple, the Legislative Branch makes laws.  When you put the House and the Senate together, they are called the General Assembly.   Every two years, we vote them in and vote them out.

Although the state is already divided by counties, we are also divided by districts.  House members have theirs districts and the Senate has their own as well. Some members of the Senate, for example, represent five counties. And there are multiple House representatives in some counties as well.

The NC House has 120 folks on their team.  Right now we have 77 Republicans and 43 Democrats. They serve 2 year terms.  Each House member serves about 79,000 NC residents, folks like you and me, in their district.  They call us “constituents.” The head of the House is called The Speaker(of the House).   Right now the Speaker of the House is Thom Tillis.

The NC Senate has only 50 folks on their team.  Right now we have 31 Republicans and 19 Democrats. They serve 2 year terms.  Each Senate member serves about 190,000 constituents in their district.  The head of the Senate is called President Pro Tempore. Right now the Pres. Pro Temp is Phil Berger.

Now that being said, the Lieutenant Governor is President of the Senate and oversees the daily sessions. Currently, we have Dan Forest.  He was elected by us, not the Senate, for a four year term. He doesn’t vote in the Senate unless it is to break a tie. (Like what Bev Perdue did in 2005 to create our state lottery).

Besides that, their is not much difference between the two.  The General Assembly is “bicameral.”  That’s just a fancy way of saying it takes both the House and the Senate to agree in order for things to become law.  Of course the Governor needs to sign it into law after the General Assembly agrees (more in another blog about that).

There are two main sessions that take place with the folks that represent us.  The Long Session and the Short Session.

The Long Session happens during odd-numbered years.  It starts in January and can go all the way into the summer months.   This is where the state budget is crafted.

Right now, we are experiencing the Short Session.  Not so short, right?  A short session is always during  even-numbered years, as in now, 2014, and usually the General Assembly meets from May to July.  As you are experiencing, it can go waaayyyy longer.  The short session happens so that our legislators can make tweaks and fixes to the budget which they wrote up during the Long Session.  We will be back in the Long Session this coming January.

Members of the House and Senate will change as the general elections are on Tuesday, November 4th.  Here is a link to the board of elections with 100 counties listed.  Click on your county and visit their web site to see who is running. GO TO BOARD OF ELECTIONS NOW  (If you haven’t registered to vote yet, the deadline is around October 10th.  Get on it!)

Stay tuned for PART II: WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY SAYING?

Any questions?  Comment below!