Texas advances anti-trans bathroom bill
Texas has advanced its anti-trans bathroom bill despite protests and warnings from businesses that it could prove catastrophic to the state’s economy.
Following 13 hours of public comment which was dominated by those opposed to the measure, a Sebate committee early on Wednesday morning passed the bill 7-1.
While the bill will now go to the full Senate floor for a vote, it could face opposition in the House, as House Speaker Joe Straus has all but said it will be dead on arrival.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick just won’t quit with his generally unpopular anti-LGBT bathroom bill, and has enlisted Christians and their pastors to push it through.
The proposed bill, which has been opposed by many in and outside of Texas, including businesses which say it would be catastrophic, would limit the rights of trans people to use a gender-appropriate bathroom.
But more than 400 people turned up at the Texas capitol on Tuesday to protest against the measure and to speak out against it at the public meeting.
Republican House Speaker Straus again said he opposed the measure, suggesting that it may not even see the light of day.
The lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, who announced the measure earlier this year, this week announced a “one million voices” campaign to get pastors to push their congregations to support the measure.
“North Carolina was the tip of the spear. We will be next to pass a bill that focuses on privacy, a person’s privacy, and public safety,” Patrick said.
He also claimed, as he has previously, that there would be no economic damage from passing the bill.
Last month a group of investors worth a combined $11 trillion warned Texas that it should not pass a proposed bill to limit the rights of transgender people.
Also in February, the NBA weighed in on the anti-LGBT ‘bathroom bill’, suggesting that the state could lose future All Star games if it is passed.
Earlier that month the NFL warned that Texas could potentially lose the chance to host future Super Bowls
But since the group of investors has suggested that the state could lose out on jobs and investments, should it pass discriminatory legislation.
The letter, in part, reads: “As investors in companies that employ hundreds of thousands of people across your state, we (as well as our respective beneficiaries and investors) want Texas to continue to thrive as a successful business environment and to be a financial leader in our country. However, discriminatory legislation that undermines these opportunities may hinder public and private investment, as well as the ability to raise capital, throughout your state. ”
“The undersigned investors are therefore united in our opposition to SB6 and any other forthcoming legislation that is hostile to LGBT people. Consequently, we urge you to oppose such legislation so that Texas can remain a competitive, vibrant, and innovative business and investment environment.”
The letter also specifically mentions SB6, the bathroom bill, and cites a study suggesting that Texas could lose almost a billion dollars if it passes.
Despite claims by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that “we don’t care” about the NFL threats, the NBA suggested that the bill could make Texas ineligible to host the All Star game.
The legislation is similar to HB2, introduced in North Carolina last year which has lost the state a raft of high profile and collegiate sporting events.
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Patrick earlier this year said moves to introduce such a bill as has proven catastrophic to states like North Carolina, would be a priority in the new legislative session.
Since, the Texas Association of Business (TAB) had published a study estimating roughly the state losses at between $1 and 8 billion.
Patrick has since come out swinging, saying: “I hope all the media sources who printed that bogus TAB report will at least do a story now that TAB report has been shown not to be valid.”
But the TAB stood by the study, releasing a statement saying: “We don’t need studies alone to prove the negative impact of this unnecessary legislation. The hard data exists in real time and in dramatically quantifiable ways when you look at North Carolina and Indiana today.”
Adding: “This represents the tip of the iceberg for Texas, and we must avoid this collision course by rejecting discriminatory legislation.”
Despite being called a priority by Patrick, the bill could threaten to split the Republican party, which controls the three branches of Government in Texas.