The business community in Texas is taking a stand against Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s version of North Carolina’s HB2 law in an open letter written by over 200 small businesses.
Last Thursday Lt. Governor Patrick announced his anti-LGBT “bathroom bill” would be a priority in 2017. “Transgender people have obviously been going into the ladies’ room for a long time, and there hasn’t been an issue that I know of,” Patrick said. “But, if laws are passed by cities and counties and school districts allow men to go into a bathroom because of the way they feel, we will not be able to stop sexual predators from taking advantage of that law, like sexual predators take advantage of the internet The announcement came in a speech to the Dallas Regional Chamber as he advised he is rebranding the bathroom bill with the title the “Women’s Privacy Act”
“…we oppose any Texas legislation – broad or narrow – that would legalize discrimination against any group.”
On Tuesday, over 200 small businesses in Texas responded with an open letter sponsored by Equality Texas. The group expressed its concern over the economic devastation caused by North Carolina’s HB2 Law and are looking to avoid a repeat of the same scenario in Texas. “We love Texas and we’re proud to call it home. We want to continue to provide great jobs and great experiences for our employees and our customers. That’s why we oppose any Texas legislation – broad or narrow – that would legalize discrimination against any group. That kind of legislation doesn’t just go against our values to be welcoming to everyone, it jeopardizes the businesses we’ve worked so hard to create, and it threatens the jobs and livelihoods of everyday Texans,” states the letter which also points to almost $400 million dollars lost by North Carolina due to their controversial bathroom law.
“We can’t afford the losses seen in North Carolina, Indiana, and elsewhere. We want Texas to stay open for business for everyone. In 2017, we hope our elected officials will remember the small business community when they go to work,” the group also said while urging legislators to consider their position.
“…we must have workplaces and communities that are diverse and welcoming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
Texas Competes, a group of over 1200 Texas businesses have also pledged to stand up for the LGBT community. “We believe that in order for Texas businesses to compete for top talent, we must have workplaces and communities that are diverse and welcoming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” the group says on its website. “We believe that treating all Texans and visitors fairly is essential to maintaining Texas’ strong brand as the premier home for talented workers, growing businesses, entrepreneurial innovation, and a thriving travel and tourism industry.”
It looks like the 2017 legislative session is going to be a hotly contested one.
View a report on the bill by KHOU Texas below.