The “bathroom” bill is the legislation that won't die.
But it should.
If passed, any of the various House and Senate versions would restrict the use of bathrooms by birth-certificate gender in certain buildings. And that could mean problems.
So why are we still talking about it?
Two words: Dan Patrick.
The lieutenant governor was up in arms about the transgender bathroom non-issue before the Fort Worth schools released equality guidelines for students last year.
He pushed it through the Senate, but House Speaker Joe Straus let it stall in the House.
Now, with Abbott’s push, the “bathroom” bill might be back on the table as one of his many special session agenda items.
On the eve of the special session, many in the business community spoke on the steps of the Capitol to remind legislators why the bill is bad for Texas.
“[Regulating bathrooms] poses an enormous long-term economic risk for the state of Texas. It literally challenges the miracle of Texas,” said Jeff Moseley, Texas Association of Business president.
“A bathroom bill [like] this goes against long-standing Texan values, where independence and grit are the meaningful measures of any person,” Phil Gilbert, IBM’s Global Head of Design, said.
Opposition isn’t just in Austin — it’s local, too.
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau adamantly oppose the bill. Arlington leaders also oppose it. (Grapevine, probably feeling the pinch from losing a conference over the new immigration law, is still quiet on the bathroom bill.)
Fort Worth prides itself on LGBT inclusion and even scored a “100” on the Human Rights Campaign Foundations 2016 Municipal Equality Index. The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce has seen the benefits and wants to keep it that way.
“Companies have cited our inclusive policies as one of the reasons they choose to invest in Fort Worth,” said Matt Geske, the Chamber’s vice president of government affairs.
Fort Worth and Arlington business leaders get it. Why can’t our lawmakers?