Investment groups call for full repeal of HB2

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Participants in Monday's news conference said they represent investors with more than two trillion dollars in assets

Executives of investment firms and organizations said Monday that North Carolina's controversial HB2 law is a threat to the state's fiscal health.

"Not only does this bill invalidate the human rights of individuals across the state, but it also has troubling financial implications for the investment climate in North Carolina," offered Joshua Humphreys, President of the Croatan Institute.

Participants in Monday's news conference said they represent investors with more than two trillion dollars in assets, and want to see a full repeal of HB2.

"Prominent private equity investors have begun to boycott the state. In public finance, major credit rating agencies such as Moody's and Standard & Poor have both issued guidance related to the law based on the potential negative economic impact," said Humphries.

Unlike high profile entertainers and some businesses, the investors are not calling for a boycott of North Carolina, but they say the issue of transgender rights puts the state's triple-A bond rating at risk as investors reevaluate North Carolina's potential for growth.

"Quite frankly, North Carolina appears headed for what I would call a state government-inflicted recession. Investor concerns have included investors asking for North Carolina free portfolios. Think about that," said Matthew Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management.

Responding to Monday's news conference, Governor Pat McCrory's reelection campaign labelled the investors' concerns as a partisan attack:

"This latest attack on North Carolina values is being coordinated by the same people who manage the New York City pension fund that is on the verge of an 'operational failure,' according to a recent report. For New York hedge fund billionaires to lecture North Carolina about how to conduct its affairs is the height of hypocrisy. Sadly, we are not in the least bit surprised by this attack... Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper have raised ungodly amounts of money from the very people from Goldman Sachs and Wall Street who hosed everyday working North Carolinians during the Great Recession."

HB2 was designed to block a Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance, part of which allowed transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with. The state law requires people to use the restroom according to their biological sex listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools, and universities.

Last week, hopes for a possible compromise on the HB2 issue came to a halt when Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory suggested they would consider a prompt special session to rescind HB2 if the city of Charlotte first repealed their LGBT city ordinance.

Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts quickly said the city council would not address the issue. Roberts noted that Republicans don't need Charlotte to withdraw its local protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity before repealing the state law that has cost North Carolina major sporting events.

Roberts said she applauded McCrory for recognizing the need to repeal HB2, which she said the state could do at any time without action from her city council.

State Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said Charlotte's actions called into question whether the city's leaders were sincere about trying to resolve the issue.

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