Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Other Parts of North Carolina's HB2 That Republicans Want to Hide

North Carolina's file HB2 has triggered a national debate on transgender rights and members of the GOP - especially the feckless Pat McCrory - are claiming that the bill is a "common sense" means of protecting women and young girls from sexual predators.  But HB2 has four more parts that do much, much more than merely targeting transgender citizens. They target minimum wage increases, child labor safety provisions, and limit civil rights protections across the board.  Other bills being pushed by Republicans across America likewise have additional agendas attached to them. HB2 is a dream that the Virginia GOP would like to foist on Virginia.  They and their GOP allies across the country who want to bring back the worst abuses of the Gilded Age need to be stopped.   A piece in Huffington Post looks at what they GOP wants the media and public to ignore.  Here are article highlights:
When non-lawyers hear Pat McCrory’s claim that North Carolina’s House Bill 2 is just common sense while at the same time they hear the Department of Justice attacking part of it as illegal, I can understand how easy it is for such non-lawyers just to take the word of the political party they prefer.
If you haven’t yet read the Bill, please click on the link and let’s take a little tour. Politicians like Pat McCrory are betting everything that you won’t.
Part I (pages 1-3): This is the so-called “Bathroom Bill” and makes up only the first Part of the five Parts of House Bill 2.
Part II (page 3): This Part and the remaining parts of the Bill have unfortunately been largely ignored by the press. Let’s try to fix that now. Part II jumps from bathrooms and straight men putting on dresses to the totally unrelated subjects of restricting minimum wage increases and child labor protections. This Part prohibits local governments from regulating or imposing “any requirement upon an employer pertaining to compensation of employees, such as the wage levels of employees, hours of labor, payment earned wages, benefits, leave, or well-being of minors in the workforce.” On its face, this quoted language not only prevents local governments from setting a minimum wage. They’re even prohibited from taking care of child labor problems they might feel are specific problems in their locality. How can this change be a good thing?
Part III (pages 3-4): Here House Bill 2 continues its attack on workers. Before the Bill, North Carolina’s public policy was: “to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all persons to seek, obtain and hold employment without discrimination or abridgement on account of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap by employers which regularly employ 15 or more employees.”
After tweaking the old public policy protection against “sex” discrimination to discrimination based on “biological sex,” Part III then effectively guts all the public policy section by providing that it “does not create . . . a statutory or common law private right of action, and no person may bring any civil action based upon the public policy expressed herein.” In other words, there is no longer any state law claim for discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex (biological or otherwise) or handicap. What does this have to do with bathrooms? Nothing of course.
Part IV (pages 4-5): This is what lawyers call a “severability clause” and it’s a very important piece of House Bill 2. This provision provides that if any part of the bill falls, the rest will stand. The gamesmanship of House Bill 2 is no more evident than here. The business interests that pushed Parts II and III under the guise of Part I no doubt knew the problematic nature of Part I and wanted to assure that the limitations of Parts II and III would not fall if Part I falls.
Part V (page 5): This part addresses the effective date of the Bill and raises interesting and troubling questions about claims existing or pending at the effective date. Those technical questions I’ll leave for others to address. I feel sorry for the injured workers who have or may have lost claims because of the language of Part V.
Conservatives [claim to] champion truth and family. There is no championing truth in supporting a bill that only pretends to solve a bathroom crisis (apart from the further issue of pretending an imminent crisis exists in the first place). Furthermore, there is no championing of family in taking away the rights of localities to protect our minors in the workplace or in limiting flexibility for better minimum wages for our families. There is no championing of family in taking away their rights to sue an employer that has treated them wrongly because of the family member’s race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, or handicap whatever a conservative might think of other categories not included in the protections we used to have. I have seen many “conservatives” thank McCrory online for House Bill 2 because they say it supports God’s will. A Bill that takes away remedies for religious discrimination is not godly. It is ungodly.

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