Fact Checking Dan Forest’s HB2 Claims

Fact Checking Dan Forest’s HB2 Claims

Texas will soon be debating a bill called the “Texas Privacy Act” which is very similar to North Carolina’s own HB2. To show his support for the GOP lawmakers of Texas, North Carolina’s Lt. Gov Dan Forest traveled to Texas to promote a bill that has cost North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars. But to hear Forest tell it, HB2 has been wonderful for our state, except not all of his statements in Texas were exactly true…

From The News & Observer:

Forest made a new claim about the economic impact of House Bill 2 that we fact-checked separately, ruling it True. He also repeated a number of talking points, arguments and numbers related to claims we’ve fact-checked before.

Here are a few of the most prominent claims Forest made:

“The biggest narrative and the one that seems to stick the most is the economic impact narrative – about what’s happened to North Carolina economically.”

There’s no way to tell what the “biggest narrative” is, but the economy has definitely been up there – along with debates over civil rights and privacy concerns. Boycotts by sports teams, businesses, conferences and even other state governments have led to much debate over the true impact of the law.

In North Carolina, neither side has managed to get their economic arguments totally right.

Less than two months after HB2 passed, former Democratic Rep. Chris Sgro said North Carolina’s economy had “already lost $500 million” due to the law. We ruled that False because at the time, the state’s economy likely hadn’t even lost half that much.

Sgro was prematurely anticipating several big-ticket losses. Some didn’t end up happening – but others did, and the state’s losses now probably do total around $500 million, in addition to thousands of jobs that went to other states instead of North Carolina.

That led to a Mostly False claim from former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s commerce secretary, John Skvarla, last October when he claimed that HB2 “hasn’t moved the needle one iota” on North Carolina’s economy.

“This has never been about anything but privacy and safety and security for women and children.”

That depends on who you ask. Supporters of HB2 tend to agree. Critics tend to say the privacy arguments are a veiled way of passing anti-LGBT laws.

Either way, Forest has a history of being wrong about privacy and safety claims.

In April, he said it would’ve been illegal for PayPal to have separate men’s and women’s bathrooms if it had come to Charlotte and Charlotte’s ordinance had been allowed to stand, since the city’s proposed rule would have “opened all bathrooms to all sexes at all times.”

Both parts of that claim are wrong, and we rated it False.

Last month, he said a proposal by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to repeal HB2 “will create a state-sanctioned ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ policy in our bathrooms.”

That isn’t true. When we asked Forest to explain, he cited a scenario that Cooper never actually proposed. We nevertheless looked into that, too, and found it still wouldn’t be true. We rated that claim Pants On Fire.

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Eleanore Wood

Digital Director

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