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Political notebook: Again, HB2 reigns as king of controversy

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

A lengthy web of political maneuvers over a period of months led to a decision this week that most North Carolina politicians seem to be unhappy about.

For Gov. Pat McCrory, the decision came after the “sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media” misrepresented the law.

Cooper, running against McCrory in the 2016 gubernatorial race, hasn’t publicly said anything about the law. However, a spokesperson for his campaign blames McCrory for “refusing to take any action to stop the bleeding.”

The pair of gubernatorial candidates seem to face off on House Bill 2 more than any other issue, and controversial law has consistently been at or near the forefront of North Carolina politics since it first passed the General Assembly in March.

Following the NBA’s decision this week to pull its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, the law has again rocketed to the top of N.C. political conversation.

Before we move further, a refresher: House Bill 2 was passed during a special session in reaction to a Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance. House Bill 2 repealed the ordinance and created several new laws, including a mandate that people uses bathrooms in government facilities that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate.

Other provisions include preventing local governments from passing their own nondiscrimination ordinance or raising the minimum wage. People were also unable to sue in state court for discrimination because of House Bill 2 — a provision that was dropped in a recently signed bill.

Now, North Carolina’s political class is grappling with the NBA’s decision to pull the All-Star Game. The NBA says it will consider putting the game in Charlotte in 2019. On Friday, however, McCrory called the NBA’s decision “political quid pro quo” and “total P.C. B.S.”

““I’m disappointed,” McCrory said on Charlotte NPR station WFAE. “I strongly disagree with their decision. To put it bluntly it’s total P.C. B.S. It’s an insult to our city and an insult to our state.”

He further accused the NBA of being run by the “political left” and practicing selective outrage.
Tillis sponsors marijuana research bill
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina is among the U.S. senators who hope to give researchers the ability study marijuana derivatives.
Tillis recently co-sponsored a ball called the Cannabidol Research Expansion Act. It has bipartisan support and aims to ensure research on marijuana-derived substances is based on sound science and removes barriers to research.
Tillis didn’t originally introduce the bill. He issued a news release this week, however, about his decision to cosponsor the measure.
“When it comes to our nation’s efforts to cure diseases, we shouldn’t let regulations be a roadblock to legitimate and responsible medical research,” Tillis said in the release.
“The Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act is a commonsense, bipartisan effort to remove unnecessary barriers to give researchers an improved ability to study the potential benefits and risks of cannabidiol and other components that are derived from the marijuana plant.”
The news release said cannabidol is currently classified as a schedule one drug, which subjects it to strict regulations.
Mayors endorse Clinton for president
A number of North Carolina mayors this week jumped into the fray of presidential politics by endorsing presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
 They included Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. None of the mayors were from Rowan County.
Each mayor cited a different reason for his or her endorsement. Roberts, for example, said Clinton stands for an America that is “stronger together.”
The full list of cities where mayors endorsed Clinton includes:
• Asheville
• Bethel
• Bolton
• Burlington
• Carrboro
• Chapel Hill
• Charlotte
• Creedmoor
• Durham
• Gastonia
• Green Level
• Greensboro
• Hillsborough
•Knightdale
• Roberson
• Lincolnton
• Red Springs
• Shelby
• Whiteville
• Williamston
• Winfall
• Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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