Microphone

{{ story.headline }}

{{ story.subheading }}

{{ story.timestamp }}

ExitEvent polled the startup community over the last week to get takes on two key policy issues in North Carolina. We'll get to education policy coverage soon, but for now, here's a compilation of respondents' anonymous comments on HB2 and the impact they expect it to have on the state and their businesses.

Read this story for an overview
 of the startup community's collective response so far, with some of the survey results.  

Beyond the issue of basic civil rights, it will make things difficult here on out (even if it were to be repealed). Selling NC to out-of-state recruits is still work and the fact that this legislation even existed will make it that much more difficult. 
~Startup founder, Chapel Hill
 
As a Charlotte Observer Op-Ed stated, we can love those in the LGBT community and still support ‪#‎HB2‬. The bill accomplished two things. It restored common sense privacy rights in bathrooms and locker rooms. And it clarified the limits of authority of cities and counties over anti-discrimination regulation, without creating an onerous hodgepodge of regulations across localities for private businesses.‬
~Other, Raleigh

Don't like the law, but think its' impact on biz is being overstated. These things happen all the time and then fade away in next news cycle. AZ immigration laws, etc. 
~Startup founder, Chapel Hill

Embarrassing. Had to fend off a lot of comments and questions from investors (and will impact future hiring for sure).
~Startup founder, Chapel Hill

Feels like a smokescreen to keep minimum wage tamped down, among other suspicious motives. 
~Startup founder, Chapel Hill

HB2 needs to be read and understood; it makes sense and has nothing to do with discrimination; there are already plenty of laws that address discrimination.
~Startup founder, Raleigh
 
HB2 has clear negative impact. As an anecdote, a friend is in the final stages of negotiating a job offer to move to NC. She's paused the process (at risk of losing the job) while the employer researches how this impacts her rights as an LGBTQ person. 
~Startup employee, Chapel Hill

HB2 is awful, but people should rally around actually doing something to fix it. Perhaps a federal law to overrule silly state and local laws?
~Startup founder, Durham

HB2 is detrimental to the currently exploding startup community in Durham, along with the growth of big businesses around the state. Until the day it is repealed it will cause considerable harm to the people who work in this state and the state's economy.
~Startup employee, Durham

HB2 is oppressive, fear-based legislation that further marginalizes an important community and paints NC as a land of bigots. And the way it was enacted makes it clear that the legislators behind it learned from Georgia and didn't want to give anyone time to speak out before it was signed into law. Our Republican lawmakers are cowards.
~Small business owner, Durham

HB2 opens up issues of privacy that need to be discussed—but we aren't talking about that. Everyone is rushing to condemn HB2 but there are legitimate privacy concerns to discuss. The removal of LGBTQ as a protected status is a disgrace and majorly damaging to our state and our economy. So some of it is perhaps ok and some of HB2 is terrible. The process to pass the bill is what I'm most ashamed of as a North Carolinian. The legislature is acting cowardly by not creating a forum for discussion of this important issue. 
~ Startup community supporter, Durham

HB2 was about much more than bathroom choice—it represents the consolidation of state power and the systematic rollback of civil liberties. I can't fathom how this race to the bottom with Mississippi is a strategy that is in the highest, best good for NC entrepreneurs and regional economies. 
~Startup founder, Durham

HB2 re-enforces the emerging idea that the state of North Carolina seems to be at war with its own cities.
~Startup employee, Durham

I am pro-transgender rights and believe this bill is a huge setback. Let us not forget that HB2 also puts a stranglehold on cities to enact their own policies (wages, etc.). Take Asheville, which is growing astronomically in cost of living but maintains a low median income. Asheville cannot set a higher minimum wage now because of the state.
~Startup community supporter, RTP

I don't think anyone will move out of NC because of it, but I believe employers and employees may think twice before moving here.
~Startup employee, Durham

I see a big push to make NC a state of the future. This law makes #NC look like a state of the past. I do not want to regret making NC my home. I do believe that this will come to a good end. There is a lot to gain by being inclusive of everyone and making everyone feel welcome. The country is going with inclusion why should NC go towards exclusion? It does not make any sense. 
~startup founder, RTP 

Seriously considering my family's long-term future here in NC.
~investor, Chapel Hill
 
I think there has been a lot of spin by both sides of the aisle on this issue. I support the ability of the state to enact laws that the citizens want and their elected officials support. As for if this would really keep a business from coming, I'm not naive enough to believe that anything but dollars and cents makes those decisions.
~Small business owner, Durham

In general I think it is crazy that we allow business to dictate laws, but if that is the reality, then we do need to consider that impact on our local economy. 
~Other, Durham

It has directly affected fundraising conversations I'm having now with out of state investors. Actual quotes..."WTF is going on there?" "Can you get the talent you need there?" "I wouldn't move talent there." At the minimum, it's a distraction. Worse, it can impact investors (see Chris Sacca's statements that he won't invest here)
~Startup founder, Raleigh

It is the fast tracking of HB2 that is most concerning. As a technology startup founder based in North Carolina, I already faced challenges with getting outside capital needed to grow. This adds significant height to this barrier and has really forced me to question whether North Carolina is the right place for us to build this business. 
~Startup founder, Cary

It was the absolute correct thing to do and the corporate bullying that's taking place is disgusting and hypocritical.
~Startup founder, Raleigh

I've had TWO signed employees rescind their offers due to HB2. It matters. This was a pure politics play and regardless of what McCrory actually thought, he should have thought about the business impact of this state. I've been in five states this week alone and have had to answer, publicly, the "what the hell is wrong with your state" question no less than 20 times. Our leadership has failed and has made a laughing stock of the state of NC. We should all be disappointed.
~Startup founder, Raleigh

Legislating discrimination is so offensive to me that it's difficult to engage productively in a discussion about it. 
~Startup founder, Durham

Rarely do the actions of state or federal government affect my personal life as a startup founder. Since the passage of HB2, I have spoken to multiple companies and investors from out of state that find NC, and my company (for being in NC), less desirable than before—regardless of company values or any reasonable merit. If I had to pick one thing that NC politicians do better than the average startup founder, it would be, "being a politician." Any reasonable politician should have anticipated the massive social and economic impact of an objectively insignificant bill (that shouldn't have been brought up in conversation, let alone stand to be voted on/passed).
~Startup founder, Raleigh

The typical media stories aside, in many ways I'm more concerned with a state legislative body narrowly reacting to a local ordinance because they disagree with it. I feel that the state is usurping a lot of local power, with the same politicians turning around and playing victim to that from the federal government. Lack of consistency is unsettling.
~Startup founder, Durham

Tough issue. I don't want a guy using the same bathroom as my 9-year-old daughter. However I do think LGBT should be a protected status. I do not think having people use the bathroom based on their actual gender is discriminatory. 
~Startup employee 

We have had numerous clients mention the bill to us. We serve the entertainment industry so we have been severely impacted by it. It portrays our state and company in a very negative light. We're ashamed to tell people we're headquartered in North Carolina because of HB2.
~Startup founder, Durham

I am embarrassed to currently call North Carolina home. If you want to foster growth, you need to create an environment of diversity and inclusion, but also acceptance and tolerance for others. If everybody thinks and feels the same, then nobody would step outside the box and be creative.
~Startup founder, Wilmington