Chicago mayor says he plans to poach businesses from North Carolina

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North Carolina

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says not only will he ban the use of city funds for nonessential travel to North Carolina because of a law eliminating anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gays and bisexuals, but he will also try to poach businesses and conventions from the state.

The law, signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, was passed in reaction to a Charlotte ordinance that allowed transgender people to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity. Backers of the state law say it was needed to prevent predators from using restrooms marked for the opposite sex.

Emanuel attributed his ability recently to lure a Whole Foods warehouse and 200 jobs from Indiana to Chicago to that state's passage of a "religious freedom" bill that raised concerns about discrimination against gays and lesbians. The mayor also threw in a $7.4 million subsidy.

Emanuel said he has already been on the phone and has asked his staff to draw up a list of North Carolina companies they think "we can talk into considering a move to Chicago."

The legislation has already prompted Atlanta city leaders to ask the NBA to consider moving the 2017 All-Star Game their way from Charlotte.

Related: Atlanta moves to swipe Charlotte's NBA All-Star Game

It comes as Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts will be visiting Raleigh for the second time this week.

She and other opponents are planning to press Governor McCrory for a face-to-face meeting Thursday.

They're expected to deliver a letter signed by the CEO's of Bank of America, based in Charlotte, as well as google, IBM, Apple, and others.

Meanwhile, McCrory and a key state senator are suggesting some tweaks are possible down the road for a new state law restricting local government action on LGBT protections that's received calls for repeal from gay-rights groups and corporations nationwide.

In a video message this week defending his decision to sign the law, McCrory offered to "work on solutions that will make this bill better in the future." He didn't provide suggestions but re-affirmed the law was needed to ensure privacy for people using restrooms and locker rooms.

Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca said in an interview Wednesday some small changes were possible. For example, Apodaca says a transgender woman told him she's unable to change the gender on her out-of-state birth certificate, preventing her from using the bathroom aligned with her gender identity.

The General Assembly reconvenes April 25.

Supporters of the new law - like Keep NC Safe - plan to hold prayer vigils Thursday at 7 p.m. in Fayetteville and Raleigh.

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