WINSTON SALEM — As Gov. Pat McCrory spoke to a group of business leaders at a WRAL-sponsored event Wednesday afternoon about promoting business and innovation, an interesting comment emerged in response to a question about House Bill 2.
When asked about the impact the bill had on businesses losing talent and investment opportunities, McCrory said the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce helped write two of the four parts of the bill.
“It’s only a five-page bill,” McCrory said. “There are four parts of it, two parts that the Chamber of Commerce helped write in North Carolina.
“One part had to do with no city or county can create their own rules regarding gender identity or gender expression, which had to do with bathrooms, restrooms and locker rooms. Another one had to do with the minimum wage.”
This runs contrary to some of the previous statements Chamber of Commerce officials have made since the bill’s passage.
“The North Carolina Chamber had no part in suggesting, drafting or reviewing House Bill 2 and anyone who suggests otherwise is misrepresenting the facts,” said Kate Payne, a spokeswoman for the Chamber. “.”
McCrory fielded several questions from the invite-only audience at Inmar, a global commerce analytics software company headquartered in Winston-Salem’s Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. HB2 proved to be a major talking point midway through the event.
Though much of the event focused on technology and entrepreneurship, McCrory echoed some of his previous HB2 comments that people are generally unaware of the provisions of the bill and the intent behind its passage.
“I think they ought to read the bill,” McCrory said. “I think if you did a survey of what HB2 is, no one knows what it is.”
McCrory explained the intent behind the bill was to prevent the city of Charlotte from forcing private businesses to adhere to a regulation he considers unnecessary.
He said his reputation has changed because of a Democratic-led “national political campaign that was extremely well coordinated.”
“It was perceived that I wrote a rule about restrooms for the private sector when I did just the opposite,” McCrory said. “I said, ‘No, I’m not going to allow a city government to write a rule for private sector entities.’” That’s a regulation I don’t believe in putting on businesses.”
As McCrory continued to respond to the question about House Bill 2, he explained he did not support all of the provisions of the bill when he signed it, particularly the clause eliminating people’s ability to sue for discrimination in state courts.