Monday News: Counting the costs of HB2


AP ESTIMATES 3.76 BILLION IN LOST BUSINESS OVER CONTROVERSIAL LAW: Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" isn't hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis. The AP analysis — compiled through interviews and public records requests — represents the largest reckoning yet of how much the law, passed one year ago, could cost the state. The law excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections, and requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings. Still, AP's tally is likely an underestimation of the law's true costs. The count includes only data obtained from businesses and state or local officials regarding projects that canceled or relocated because of HB2. A business project was counted only if AP determined through public records or interviews that HB2 was why it pulled out. Some projects that left, such as a Lionsgate television production that backed out of plans in Charlotte, weren't included because of a lack of data on their economic impact.

EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT BACK IN PLAY AFTER NEVADA VICTORY: North Carolina supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment are trying to revive interest in it again after Nevada lawmakers ratified it last week almost 35 years past a congressional deadline. An alliance of several organizations promoting women's rights scheduled a news conference Monday at the Legislative Building to draw attention to filed ERA ratification legislation. The amendment to the U.S. Constitution is designed to make clear equal rights under the law can't be limited or denied due to gender.

TRUMP CREATES NEW BUREAUCRACY TO MANAGE OLD BUREAUCRACY: The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements. "We should have excellence in government," Kushner said Sunday in an interview in his West Wing office. "The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens."

CAMP LEJEUNE VICTIMS OF WATER CONTAMINATION TELL THEIR STORIES: Camp Lejeune's 34 years of water contamination ended in 1987, while Rummings was still serving as a medic at the sprawling Onslow County base. He did not feel the effects for years until, in 2010, he thought he had kidney stones. His doctor suspected something else was amiss when Rummings wasn't crying from pain and ordered a CT scan. Seven years later, Rummings is recovering from a bout with kidney cancer -- one of the hallmark diseases of Camp Lejeune water poisoning. Recounting the ordeal recently, Rummings sat at his dining room table, a compression sleeve on his right arm in an effort to numb the painful throbbing a nervous system condition shoots through his fingertips. "I think about cancer when I wake up, I think about cancer when I go to bed because I know what cancer does," Rummings said. His wife, Johana Rummings, helps him cope with the anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress that came along with the diagnosis.

TODAY'S WINNER FOR THE STUPIDEST ADVERTISING GIMMICK: Spicer-Greene has apologized for a billboard some found offensive, but the controversy made the rounds online nonetheless. "Sometimes it's OK to throw rocks at girls," reads a billboard visible from Patton Avenue's Jeff Bowen Bridge. Controversy over the ad resulted in massive media attention. The owners of Spicer Greene Jewelers, Eva-Michelle Spicer, 28, and her husband Elliott, 27, started running the business about four years ago when Eva-Michelle's parents started to ease themselves out to do more traveling, Eva-Michelle Spicer said. "The billboard was intended to be a nostalgic thought of a childhood teaching," Eva-Michelle Spicer said. "That it's not OK to throw rocks at girls, it's not OK to throw rocks at anyone. It saddens me that it was taken that way, because it certainly wasn't intended."