NC gov details "damage" of HB2 on NBA All-Star Weekend
Posted February 17
"This could have been a different weekend," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wrote on Medium Friday, marking the beginning of the NBA's All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.
The game and the parties that accompany it are a tourism and revenue driver, one pulled from the Tar Heel State in the wake of House Bill 2. Data provided to the Charlotte City Council in 2015 suggested that the All-Star Game would bring in approximately $100 million, including $60 million in visitor spending alone.
The NBA was making plans to celebrate the 2017 All-Star Weekend in Charlotte when the state legislature passed the so-called "bathroom bill," to head off an ordinance in that city that would have required businesses to allow transgender individuals to use the public bathroom of their choice. Discrimination law puts NC sporting landscape at risk
The state law requires people to use bathrooms in schools and government buildings that match their birth gender and lets businesses make their own rules for bathroom use. But it also created a statewide nondiscrimination policy that excludes the LGBT community from protections, prohibited cities and counties from adopting their own policies and barred cities from setting their own minimum wage.
After months of deliberation, the NBA in July moved the festivities to New Orleans, where the celebration coincides with Mardi Gras.
"We were in a good position in that we were already prepared for Mardi Gras, and already had our special event operations ongoing — to kind of plug the NBA into that," Ryan Berni, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu, said in an interview with The Associated Press.
NBA owners, officials, players and other dignitaries have been invited to parties at prime viewing areas along historic St. Charles Avenue on Friday night and will have an opportunity to experience Mardi Gras like a local, said Jay Cicero, president of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.
Earlier this week, Cooper proposed an HB2 repeal-and-replace that would increase the penalties for crimes committed in public bathrooms and locker rooms and require cities and counties seeking to create nondiscrimination ordinances to provide 30 days' notice to the legislature.