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Joint | May 11, 2016 | Press Room | Sgro Press Conference

Full MP3 Audio File


[BLANK_AUDIO] Anybody else need time to set up or you all are good? [SOUND] Okay good morning and thank you for being here. I am Chris Scroll and I represent Greensboro in the North Carolina state house. Yesterday along with Representatives Alexander, Fischer and Harrison I introduced the equality for all act, this legislation is the most comprehensive Set of non-discrimination protections ever introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly, and would extend common sense rights in the areas of housing, employment, education and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status and familial status. North Carolina is a welcome and inclusive State and our laws should reaffirm that. Most of you know that I'm a gay North Carolinian. And while the vast majority of car dealers would never discriminate against me based on my sexual orientation, and in fact believe that these protections already exist. It remains true that discrimination finds it's way into all walks of life. You can still be fired for who you are or who you love in North Carolina, you can still be denied housing if you're a transgender man or woman in many parts of our state, and a restaurant can still refuse to serve you, because of your veterans status or if they perceive you to be gay or lesbian. These protections against discrimination are important updates for many North Carolinian's and the vast majority of Americans support. Our bill mirrors protections already enacted state wide and 19 other US states. They're best practice for equality fairness and business. It's past time that North Carolina includes these protected classes in our state laws. Our vibrant and innovative state should truly reflect our values of inclusion, and let us call out the elephant in the room, house bill 2 has exposed like never before the need fro North Carolina to be an open and inclusive state. Representatives Jackson, Meyer, Martin and Hamilton have a repeal though on the house and there is companion Bill in the senate which would strike down house bill 2 , the worst ant LGBT anti worker, anti education bill our state has ever seen. That bill must pass, we must repeal house bill two. It is the next crucial step to protect North Carolina. But the debate is also exposed that just going back to business as usual is not enough, we must also pass the equality for all act and ensure a truce state of non discrimination. It is a civil rights issue. Everyone should have basic access to education, housing, employment and other areas. No one should be turned away from Main street business or public facility because of who they were born to be. But it is also a business issue. The passage of house bill two has greatly damaged the reputation of our state and our crown jewel university system. If we really want to be that state that keeps the NBA All Star game in Charlotte, wins back MCAA tournaments at my home Greensboro Colosseum. Attracts the next PayPal expansion or keeps winning the business opposed to our world class mountains and coasts. We must pass this common sense protection against discrimination. Not only are this anti discrimination measures, the best practiced in other states, they are as in fortune 500s and main street businesses across our state. The damage done to our state by this body is raised to pass house bill 2 has been terrible to watch,and only this body and Governor Mccory can fix that at this point. We can fix it right now by repealing house bill two with the passage of Darren Jackson's bill and by passing this legislation the equality for all act and we can make our state a place where people live, work and play in a true place of equality. We can once again make North Carolina where the weak grow strong and the weak grow great. Next we will hear from other primary sponsors, the mother of a transgender child and members of the business community. At the close of formal remarks I'll facilitate a brief Q and A and then we will be available individually for comment. Next up, Representative Susan Fisher from Buncombe County. >> Thank you Representative Spo/g good morning? My name is Susan Fisher. I'm from Asheville. I represent house district 114. House Bill 2 brought to you by the same people who railed against anti-bullying legislation is yet another example of the main spirit in this that exists in this current General Assembly. I was particularly struck by articles shortly after the bill was

passed that stated that, since the law was passed, calls had doubled at trans lifeline. A suicide hotline peeking at an unprecedented 357 calls in only one day. Suicide rates among trans people are normally 22 times the national average. With approximately 40% of trans people who have attempted suicide in the past, of those 59% had experienced being the denied the use of a restroom that conforms to their gender identity. But house bill 1078 as described by representative Scrow /g and as you'll hear from other cosponsors of this bill. Establishes are way forward for North Carolinian who find themselves being discriminated against in all the ways that are authorized by House 2. None of us should kid ourselves. We all know someone, including loved ones and family members who will be, and are being harmed by house bill too. When have you ever heard someone leaving a handicapped person by the side of the road, a toy truck firm, leaving a handicapped person by the side of the road, because they did not like their bumper stickers. One of many examples of discrimination that is allowed in North Carolina today. It is my hope that before more harm is done, that those who supported House Bill 2 will swallow their fear and their pride and look for a way out of the mire of the state sanctioned discriminatory bill. House Bill 1078 provide the way. I've listened several times to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch's press conference where she announced that the justice department would bring charges against North Carolina. The state of my birth, a state that until now had been a beacon of inclusivity and diversity. I was particularly struck by her words and I quote, and what we must not do, what we must never do is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans for something they cannot control and deny what makes them human. I call upon my colleagues in the House to support House Bill's 1078 as a way to move North Carolina away from the hate and discrimination and towards compassion. I appreciate your interest in this proposed legislation. And I will next call on my fellow co-sponsor, Representative Kelly Alexander. >> Thank you and good morning. I'm not quite as modern as some folk, you know my notes. >> [LAUGH] Somebody asked me why now and why would I get involved? Well, I am involved because that's my entire life fighting against discrimination, in all of its forms. Whether we are talking about discrimination against folks based on ethnicity, whether it's based upon religion, whether it's based upon sex, sexual orientation, whether it's based upon the fact that you get one blue eye and one green eye. If you are a citizen, you should be treated equally. That is my rock bottom belief. There was a saying that somebody told me that you could find near one of the borders it says welcome to North Carolina. Now turn your clock back a hundred years. And that's exactly Exactly what seems to have been going on. House Bill 2, was the worst piece of discriminatory legislation that has come out of the General Assembly in my lifetime and that's the answer . The worst piece It's stripped out the ability of a folk to go on a state court and complain. It opened up the doors to all kinds of craziness. Representative Fisher just gave you one example of that. We are better than that. We should be better than that. And we can quickly settle the issue that we have with federal government by repealing house bill 2 by enacting 1078.

That settles it. That creates a even playing field for everybody. It puts a sign out to say North Carolina is open for business in a way that is equitable. It will instantly I believe deal with the threats to things like our NBA franchise, all this craziness. I tell folks. I'm up here in the general assembly trying to serve my constituents. I come from kind of a city constituency down in a little town called [UNKNOWN] about seven miles north of Rock Hill. [LAUGH] And we try down there to treat everybody as friendly as possible. and I would up the folk up here who run this state. I don't have to tell you, you know it. This state is run by 170 folks that pretty much occupy this building. They can do pretty much anything they want to. And because they can, because we can. It is time for us open up our eyes stop this political posturing and other kinds of. You know I can't say those kinds of words in front of reporters, no I can't. We got stop [UNKNOWN], discrimination. And that is exactly what's going on. Now look. It's a terrible thing this time of the morning to put a politician in front of a microphone, because we have a tendency to run on far too long. all and say far too much. So I'm gonna call on Pricey H who was never one of our co sponsors to say a few words about 1078 and thank you for coming out this morning. >> Thanks Kelly. I'll reverse the turn. I'm all about brevity. It's really hard to add anything to the remarks by Rep Grier and Fischer and Alexander but I did wanna emphasize that house bill two does not reflect North Carolina values. This bill reflects North Carolina values as we're a state that's about tolerance and inclusivity and we are not a state about state sponsored, state sanctioned discrimination. So what this legislation should be doing as has been stated is pass the repeal bill, repeal house bill two has tarnished our state and done untold economic damage. We ought to pass this bill that rights discrimination protection into our state statute which is the trend that we should be following. And we ought to stop wasting taxpayer money defending the indefensible. So I will turn it over to Travis Smith. >> Representative General Alexander i'v got the same level of tech. >> [LAUGH] >> [SOUND] My name is Travis Smith. I am the marketing coordinator at Flyleaf books on Trample Hill. We are one over thirty independent book stores that in April signed an open letter urging the appeal of HB2 As a bookstore our mission is to be a place where the values of dignity and inclusion and respect and equality can thrive and to provide a forum for ideas. And as a small business we need people coming through the door. And the fear is that this legalized discrimination will interfere with that and we are afraid of the impact that could have. And we've been vocal in our opposition to house bill to. But as one of the policy in the state it's gonna hamper our mission and it's gonna hurt business. So that's why we are very proud to support the equality for all act. As representative Chris said it's the most comprehensive anti discrimination legislation ever introduced in the state. And it provide exactly the kind of protections that not only as a book store but as a small business in orange county and as a small business in North Carolina. But we want to see this kinda help North Carolina move forward. So thank you so much. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Next up we have Sam Radoff. My name is [COUGH] Excuse me. My name is Sam Radoff I am the owner and founder of [INAUDIBLE]

chocolate factory in downtown here in North Carolina. As a business owner and a member of a diverse and thriving community, we have seen the negative impact of HB2. Convention center has lost meeting groups, businesses have cancelled plans to move their headquarters here. This needs to stop. HB2 need to pealed immediately and completely. Chris is bringing in the equality for all acts forward. Let's promote equality and diversity. We are not this. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Thank you. And lastly before Q and A we'll have Hope Tyler. >> Good morning. My name is Hope Tyler. I just wanted to say that, in the short time, the [UNKNOWN] decided to pass HB2. It's painfully obvious that he did not think about he did not think about how this would affect our transgender children. [INAUDIBLE] have doubled since his suicide hotlines from the trans community. This fact was presented to Governor McCrory in a letter signed by more than 200 mental healthcare workers From here in North Carolina alone to the transgender children all over the United States, you need to know that you are loved, and that change is coming. I know your pain because my son is transgender. 15 years ago I gave birth to a beautiful blue-eyed blonde-haired little girl who never liked dolls or girls clothes. By age she was the only girl on her flag football team and she was awesome. Age 9, 10 and 12 were filled with years of anxiety attacks only Remedied by trips to the ER. Therapist after therapist couldn't figure out my daughter's issue until age 12 on the day puberty hit. My daughter collapsed in the closet, and could not feel her legs. She was diagnosed with conversion disorder. That is when you are emotionally traumatized that your body loses all filling in the arms and legs. My daughter said she felt trapped in her body and after four months of therapy confirmed that my daughter was transgender. That day my daughter became my transgender beautiful son. After a year of living as a boy and seeing a gender therapist he began testosterone and had a double mastectomy. He was very happy a straight A student supported and loved by his teachers and principles during PE. Physical education was always last period. So there was no showering at school. Being a teenager is hard enough being trans on top if that is extremely overwhelming because your body isn't marching out with your anatomy. And what's going on mentally, my son had comfortably began to settle in until discussions of of HP2 came along. Suddenly everyone on the trans-community had a huge spotlight on them when there was never an issue before. Everyone was catapulted out of their comfort zones. My son was terrified and he was strong enough to ask his dad to take him to [INAUDIBLE] are [INAUDIBLE] psychiatric hospital. He's doing better now but this is just my son story. Kids in the trans-community are having an extreme hard time due to ministers proclaiming their lifestyle is easy. Preaching hate to our children children is wrong and scars this children especially the transgender African American children. And transkids who haven't fully transitioned. It is easy for a transboy to transition because they look like little girls and boys cloths or tomboys. The little transgirls look like boys in dresses these are the children who cannot afford estrogen and testosterone. This bill is emotionally killing our children and must be appealed. I'd like to thank Doctor [UNKNOWN] Doctor Dana [UNKNOWN] Doctor [UNKNOWN] and at Duke hospital. Doctor Mcfee/g I'd especially like to thank Pamela. She's the transgender woman who I asked why she would ce summed it up so eloquently when she said, it isn't a choice. God simply It accidentally gave me the wrong anatomy and I decided to fix it. That conversation would alter my life forever.

To the transgender community, you're not alone. We're gonna repel this bill. And I just wanna thank everyone here for letting me stay. Thank you so much and Please pray for our kids especially the African-American trans community, thank you. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> You can hear the deep impact from Hope's story and others that discrimination has and that's where the rubber meets the road and that's why not only do we need to You need to re-appeal House bill to immediately make our state a state of non-discrimination with the equality for all act. So that concludes our formal agenda. I'll take a couple of questions and direct them if I'm not the appropriate answer and then you all can chat with our speakers individually. Laura >> different leadership that they do not intend to write off house bill seven/g. What was the purpose of filing this bill if you know it's not gonna pass >> Well, two things. One, I swore to uphold liberty and justice for all when I was sworn in, and that was a privilege a couple of weeks ago. That was a privilege and an oath that Speaker Moore, Senator Berger talk as well. And that oath mandates that we have a repeal vote on house bill two. We've lost half a billion dollars in economic interests, 4.5 billion dollars on line and education funding. I believe there will be a repeal vote. >> And second of all this is a really comprehensive and necessary Of legislation, the equality for all act. I believe, again that with everything that has happened with House Bill 2, they were in a position, a unique position despite leadership to consider a bill like this. >> My question was, well have you had any conversations with Republicans regarding this piece of legislation yet and how it's going to be received. >> I previously had conversations with folks on both sides of the aisle. And I know that there is bipartisan support for non-discrimination protections. I know that there are a lot of republicans and democrats. Like I said the majority of North Carolinians and Americans who think that these kind of Non-discrimination protections are already in place and certainly when they find out that they aren't either needed. >> What are the chances that there would be a compromise between parties on from both sides, from both different bills on the HB 2 and this bill? >> Between HB 2 and this bill>> Yes, is there any room for compromise I'm not sure what that compromise would look like, what has been compromised is the state of North Carolina and our values as a state of inclusivity and our entire business community, house bill two is bad in its entirety and as its individual components. There's not a single chunk of house bill two whether it's moving state course of action around race and gender whether it's directing discrimination at the gay and transgender community for stripping our largest and smallest alike cities and towns across the state of their due authority to govern around non discrimination laws. The compromise is to repeal house bill two if we want to not lose billions of dollars in federal funding and stop hemorrhaging business. >> Sir how many support from a million democrats to our generation zone? >> I don't know the answer to that, I do know we've four primary sponsors and I think seven co-sponsors already, and those will be discussions that will be happening. I think I saw one more hand, okay great. We'll be available for individual comment if you wanna grab any of us and thank you all for coming. [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK-AUDIO] BLANK-AUDIO] [BLANK-AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO]


[BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK-AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK-AUDIO] [BLANK-AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK-AUDIO] [INAUDIBLE AUDIO] I didn't see place it down they're gonna be upset they left it. >> [LAUGH] [BLANK_AUDIO] >> That's it. That's it. >> Thank you gentlemen. Have a good a day. >> You too. [BLANK_AUDIO]