On March 23, 2016, North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2), barring transgender people from using bathrooms that correspond to their identity, was signed into law.
The passing of HB2 was met with sharp criticism and ushered in new leadership, including Democrat Roy Cooper, who was elected as state governor partly because of his opposition to the law.
The most pronounced impact has been on the state’s loss of business.
Once HB2 passed, many large businesses condemned the bill and vowed to pull money from the state.
NCAA has reaffirmed its position on #HB2. If no changes, NC may not host championships or tourney games through 2022. Announcement April 18— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) March 23, 2017
The most notable participants in this boycott have been the NCAA, PayPal, Deutsche Bank, and Cirque du Soleil. The law has taken away both financial opportunities for the state as well as jobs from locals.
Just how much has HB2 cost North Carolina?
The state has lost hundreds of millions of dollars, with CNN reporting that the losses range from $450 million to $630 million.
The biggest losses are attributable to Bruce Springsteen ($100,000), Cirque du Soleil ($68,000), the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships ($72,261), and the NCAA men’s basketball ($492,124).
The loss of sporting events and conferences has directly hurt North Carolina's biggest cities: Greenville lost $14 million while Charlotte lost $83.9 million.
Do these losses mean the state is in a financial crisis?
That doesn't seem to be the case. As Politifact reports, the state’s GDP is $510 billion. If the state lost $500 million, that’s only 0.1 percent of the state’s GDP, which isn’t a huge dent.
However, this number may rise. The Williams Institute estimated last year that the total economic loss from HB2 could reach $5 billion. That’s nearly a third of North Carolina's $17 billion in tourism dollars.
HB2 continues to be a cause for concern.
In addition to the economic cost, laws like HB2 validate bigotry against LGBT persons.
HB2 has also served as a model for states like Texas, where lawmakers are seeking to pass similar anti-transgender bathroom laws.
And, as ATTN: reported earlier this year, hate crimes against transgender individuals are on the rise.
"Tonight, I call on the legislature once again to repeal House Bill 2. The law has damaged our state." - Governor Cooper #NCSOTS— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) March 13, 2017
Change may be coming in North Carolina.
Governor Cooper is against HB2 and is working on repealing it, with fellow North Carolina Democrats, like state Senator Joel Ford, trying to hold him to it.
Meanwhile, Pat McCrory, the governor who signed HB2 into law, is facing career troubles now that he's out of office. Why? People think he’s a bigot — another consequence of the law.