Fact check: Tillis claims ‘80 members’ have ‘signed up’ for anti-LGBT amendment

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: August 18, 2011 in Blog

Yesterday, we published our report on a town hall forum held by North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) in his home district north of Charlotte. At the forum, an audience member asked Tillis about the proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment that could come up for consideration during the legislature’s special September session.

In answering, Tillis said, in part, “I’ve talked with Equality NC and other groups and said I’m open to data to talk about the business impacts and talk about the other things to refute that argument, but at the end of the day as the speaker, when I know that over 80 members, both Republicans and Democrats, have signed up to have this bill heard, a part of my oblgiation is to allow these bills to be heard and have both sides build the arguments.”

A reader took issue with Tillis’ claims.

“Tillis says that ‘over 80 members… have signed up to have this bill heard.’ That is a lie. House Bill 777 only has 66 co-sponsors ‘signed up’ to have the bill heard. 66 does not equal 72. 72 is the threshold for constitutional amendments in the NC House,” said commenter “Appellation.”

The reader continued, “Tillis has no obligation to have the bill heard, and he certainly shouldn’t be allowed to lie about it.”

But, is Tillis’ claim accurate? Is the reader’s?

There are two versions of the anti-LGBT constitutional amendment filed in the General Assembly. One, SB 106, is in the Senate and the other, HB 777, is in the House.

HB 777 does, indeed, have only 66 sponsors. SB 106, however, has 23 sponsors. Altogether, 89 members of the combined 170-member General Assembly are sponsors of each proposed amendment in their respective chambers.

Does Tillis’ claim stand up to scrutiny? Depends on how you’re counting, it seems.