Boise picks up largest-ever convention due to NC 'bathroom law'

This June, the Boise Centre will hold the largest convention in its history - a four-day event for the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

About 1,400 people are expected to attend the event.  Boise Centre Communications Manager Mary-Michael Rodgers tells BoiseDev that the facility picked up the business after the council backed out of a commitment to hold its event in North Carolina, after that state passed a controversial bill at that required people to use the bathroom that corresponded to the sex identified on their birth certificate when visiting government facilities, including schools.

Business sector reaction to the law has been widespread, including the NCAA, NBA and others reconsidering events in the state.

"CSTE historically hosts the conference in the state of its current president, however due to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 the location has been moved to Boise, Idaho," the council notes on its website.

The convention will be a big boost to the Boise Centre - and will use nearly all of its available space across its expanded facility. Rodgers says that attendees will stay at thirteen local hotels -- and nine hotels are already fully booked for the June 4-8 event - including The Grove Hotel, Hotel 43, Safari Inn, Hyatt Place, Courtyard Mariott Downtown, Red Lion Downtowner, Towne Place Suites, Holiday Inn Express ParkCenter and Springhill Suites ParkCenter.

Rodgers says the council held its event in Boise once before, when the number of attendees was lower. The Boise Centre would not have been able to accommodate this group without the Boise Centre East expansion, Rodgers noted - and said this is one of a dozen events scheduled this year that will use both buildings simultaneously.

The CSTE event will help boost the number of visitors to Boise this summer -- the Far West Regional Soccer Tournament which is often hosted at the Simplot Sports Complex and brings throngs of soccer families to the area in June will this year be hosted in Seattle.

The NC bathroom bill was repealed last week -- too late for this year's conference.