© 2022 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Charlotte Area
Here are some of the other stories catching our attention.

How NC And Indiana Differed In Responses To Controversial Laws

North Carolina flag

There's a recent precedent for the fight in North Carolina over a controversial law that limits rights for the LGBT community. Last year in Indiana, Republican lawmakers passed a bill allowing businesses to use religion as a defense in refusing to serve gay and lesbian customers. But after a swift national outcry, Indiana walked back the law. In North Carolina, the outcry has been similar but the state's response is completely different.

In Indiana, expansions by Angie's List and SalesForce were put on hold and the NCAA, Apple and other big companies expressed deep disappointment when the religious freedom law passed last year.  

Days after signing it, Republican Governor Mike Pence said it was not meant to be discriminatory.  

"But I can appreciate that's become the perception, not just here in Indiana but all across this country," he said. "We need to confront that boldly in a way that respects the interests of all involved."

Contrast that with how North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory has talked about PayPal, which canceled plans to bring 400 jobs to Charlotte. On the John Boy and Billy radio show, McCrory had this to say about other places PayPal does business.

"PayPal...who do business in China: not too good. Who do business in the Sudan! They cut your head off for being a gay and lesbian and yet they can't do business in North Carolina," McCrory said.

The difference between North Carolina and Indiana has been about more than tone.

For one, there's the timing. Indiana amended its law less than a week after it passed. And before doing so, Indiana University law professor Steve Sanders says there were months of building momentum.    

"Both opponents and supporters and were certainly aware of it and mobilizing and testifying and organizing letters to the editor and so forth," Sanders says.

Two days after Governor Pence signed it, thousands rallied out front of the legislature.

Two days after North Carolina passed its controversial law, many were still sorting through what was in it. In fact, Governor McCrory felt the need to clarify North Carolina's law three weeks later.

"Based on this feedback, I am taking action to affirm the state's commitment to privacy and equality," he said as he issued an executive action.

Which gets to another difference: the laws themselves.

Indiana's was about whether businesses had to serve LGBT customers. North Carolina's excludes LGBT people from the state’s list of protected classes and requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to their birth certificate.  

For all the outcry, some North Carolina lawmakers just don't think the actual impact will be that big. Maurice Schweitzer of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania says they may have a point.

"Overall, I don't see a very dramatic impact on North Carolina economy," he says.

Schweitzer says tech companies are most sensitive because they're fairly mobile. He says car manufacturers and other industrial giants are much less likely to pick up and leave.

Also, tech companies tend to go for big cities. And rural Republicans hold more power in the North Carolina legislature than in Indiana. Michael Bitzer is a political scientist at Catawba College.

"They really don't have to be concerned about when urban areas get hit, for example Charlotte with PayPal, their rural areas are not impacted by those decisions," Bitzer says.

Another difference between the states is that in North Carolina, the federal government is suing. A powerful Republican lawmaker says, "You picked the wrong state to start this fight with."