Barry Saunders

Saunders: Checking bathroom credentials will boost employment

It’s a jobs bill.

No, it’s an anti-gay bill.

It’s a jobs bill.

No, it’s an anti-gay bill.

Calm down: You’re both right. It’s two, two, two-bills-in-one.

Unlike Certs, which Madison Avenue told us is a delicious-tasting candy mint and a delicious-tasting breath mint, House Bill 2 – passed last week by the N.C. General Assembly – doesn’t come with a sparkling drop of retsin.

It does, though, come with a heaping pile of pandering, as it seeks to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, won’t exist and, if it was going to exist, would already exist. Yet, cynical legislators have determined that there are just enough voters out there who can be convinced that some heterosexual pervert skulking around in a dress is going to be trying to sneak-a-peek at Lizzie Jane and Cassie Belle when they take the covered wagon into Raleigh for the state fair to make passage politically palatable.

With an alacrity they usually reserve for getting onto I-40 on Friday afternoons to get out of Raleigh for the weekend, legislators met for a costly special session last week and passed a bill that overrides the Charlotte City Council’s bill that, however briefly, allowed transgender citizens to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

As if many don’t already do that. Tee hee.

Gov. McCrory signed it into law and is presumably preparing to change the state’s motto to Come to NC, where you need an I.D. to Pee.

The LGBT-restrictive bill also puts the kibosh on other municipalities’ right to pass anti-discrimination bills and their attempts to raise the minimum wage, just so legislators can let you know that their minds aren’t solely in the toilet.

Aren’t we lucky so many of these solons campaigned on and believe in “small government”? Ain’t no telling what they’d do if they thought government should bogart local municipalities and dictate what they can and cannot do.

Deep-pocketed corporate citizens such as Dow Chemical, PayPal, Apple, Google and the NBA have spoken out against the bigoted bathroom legislation – which nationally has been called “heinous” and “grotesque” – and could conceivably pull hundreds of millions of dollars in business from the state.

Take yo’ ol’ Yankee money, right, fellas?

Slow down there, hoss. Sure, on the surface, it appears we’re being run into the ground by small-minded martinets masquerading as high-minded lawmakers, but before y’all do anything rash – like relocate – dig this: What y’all fail to comprehend is that the legislators are merely fulfilling a campaign pledge to stimulate the state’s economy.

I confess to being oblivious to the true aim of the GOP-led legislators until a reader, Dyer McCoy, of Raleigh, ran it down for me. After I wrote a column earlier this month about how I didn’t want transgender people – or anyone else – in the bathroom with me, McCoy enlightened me to the Republicans’ true motive behind House Bill 2.

He wrote: “I was initially upset that the legislature might try to overrule the local folks in Charlotte on this issue, and even spend tax $$ by calling a special session. Then I realized it is really a jobs bill. Yessir, NC will create jobs all over the state, covering every public restroom. The position will be known as “equipment checker.” No one will be allowed to use a public restroom without 1st exposing their equipment to an inspector trained to know the difference between male and female equipment. The law, called “Check Your Equipment”, will create many job opportunities around NC, and will help keep our little girls safe (once they’ve exposed their equipment, too, as we can’t be too careful.)

Over time, we can offer Photo Equipment ID cards that can be used to save time. Extra revenue will be raised from the sale of these cards, which will have to be renewed, oh, say, annually.

So, I am now cool with this possibility, and look forward to leaving retirement to get my “equipment checker” credentials. I will need to sharpen up my photography skills, but hey! I’m teachable!!”

McCoy may be right, and to the forward-thinking legislators who rammed this bill through in unprecedented fashion, LGBT actually stands for Let’s Get Back To Work.

They just forgot to add the “Work.”

Once all of that sweet equipment-checking money starts rolling into state coffers, we’ll be able to tell Google, Apple and Dow to stuff it.

You know that $42,000 it spent on the special session – enough to pay the annual salary of a public school teacher and give her a Christmas bonus? If House Bill 2 creates as many jobs as the legislature hopes, that won’t have been a loss, after all.

Otherwise, what a waste.

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