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The Daily Tar Heel

HB2 affects more than just bathrooms

The bill restricts cities and counties in the state from raising the minimum wage set forth by federal law.

Susan Romaine of the Orange County Living Wage Project, a nonprofit that certifies Orange County employers that pay their employees a living wage, said municipalities in North Carolina have not had home rule in the past.

Although Romaine said the bill will not have a huge immediate impact on legislation, she said it is becoming more important to find ways to raise the wages in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

And in the wake of negative attention surrounding the bill’s wage limitations and rollback of LGBT rights, some businesses are showing their disapproval.

North Carolina Representative Graig Meyer, D-Orange, said he has heard of local businesses refusing to allow Gov. Pat McCrory and other legislative Republicans into their businesses to show their rejection of House Bill 2.

“We’ve seen the national business backlash to this bill,” Meyer said.

“It creates a national business chill toward the state of North Carolina that will have a negative impact on local small businesses, as well.”

Meyer also said the bill will not let counties create their own economic structure, but will set forth a statewide one.

UNC senior Shannon Brien said the bill restricts the economy of individual communities.

She said cities like New York and San Francisco have already set their minimum wages at $15 per hour.

“That’s something that could’ve been conceivable in a city like Chapel Hill or Carrboro where the community is generally aware of workers rights,” Brien said.

“By taking away a town’s ability to raise the minimum wage, you’re really holding workers hostage.”

Romaine said legislation like House Bill 2 shows that residents cannot turn to state or local governments for help in providing a living wage for workers.

She said organizations like the Orange County Living Wage will have to step in.

“We really do need more and more of these voluntary certification programs to recognize those businesses that are doing it themselves,” Romaine said.

Romaine said the rent in Chapel Hill and Carrboro is high, and without living wages many people in the community will have to move away from the area.

“We have got to do something about paying these workers a living wage,” she said.


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